Although a woodland can be a quiet and relaxing place for contemplation and give the impression of "time standing still", once again our plantations have given us periods of frenetic activity, along with the other farming work that has gone on throughout the past 12 months.
As you can see from the photographs (below) which Peter Goodwin took on his visit in September, the trees are growing apace. So much so, that in September we started to thin, by coppicing some of the dominant Red Alder which were starting to seriously overshadow their neighbouring trees - mainly the oak and ash.
The alder have however served their purpose and obviously worked well as nursemaids by drawing the oaks up nicely. Most of the alder has been chipped but there are some poles – probably for firewood. We have been doing some more of the on-going pruning, as and when time allows. The brush from this work and the alder thinnings are put through our Chipper (a fresh acquisition purchased second hand in the spring which runs on the back of one of our tractors). We have quite a mound of wood chips - any suggestions for an economic outlet?
Some of the nut Hazel is now ready for its first coppice and will be used, I hope, by one of our local thatchers.
A particular highlight of the year was our visit to David Duxbury - a fellow WH member - whose Leicestershire woodland is very similar to ours (reported in Journal No. 6). The exchange of information has been mutually rewarding and we have invited David down here this year.
A bare field in 1994 - now a vibrant woodland!