Woodland Management

Thinning, extracting and aerial pictures!

Making the most of the dry weather we’ve been felling with ongoing thinning and ride widening work being completed. We’ve also put in a few new gun lines for a local shoot to make some of their shooting days a bit more challenging for the guns.

Typically as we get to the end of the cutting and just about to start extracting the heavens open once again. Trying to be as sensitive as possible we’ve delayed extracting on those sites where damage to soil structure might occur.

We recently managed to capture this image of a Scheduled Ancient Monument we’ve been working on (when time and conditions allow) which gives a good idea as to the difference as to before and after.

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The bottom right hand side is what the whole site used to look like, with mid left and top right showing most recent works and top left showing works undertaken 6 months ago.

We’re looking forwards to getting the last of the timber off and then clearing all brash from the site to return it to what it should be - and ancient village!

Quick update...

A busy few moths since our last update…. to include an updated website!

The variety included some pond work, timber extraction, scrub clearance prior to felling timber and old building demolition to allow a disused paddock to be grazed once again. The tree shear has also been busy, coppicing a hedge to make taccess onto a busy main road safer.

The harvester’s been out on some big Larch thinning. A first thinning of a young hardwood plantation has opened the wood up, expanded the rides and improved accesibility, especially in the run up to winter with the increased rainfall.

Luckily we had a bit of assistance moving the harvester - a little quicker than our normal tractor and low loader…

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Deer management is also continuing apace, now that the Doe season’s are opening we are starting to get onto herd management to allow for woodland regeneration and healthy herds.

Recent works update

The last few months have been busy!  Works sites have been particularly tricky to operate in/access due to the amout of rain we have had over the last few months. Opportunities to extract timber have taken  when site conditions allow. Despite all the rain we have continued to cut in anticipation of the ground drying out.


Ash Coppice

Recent works include cutting some overstood ash coppice which will be used in the estate biomass and the excess for firewood

Coppice plot before works

Coppice plot before works

Coppice plot after felling smaller stems to leave some standards.

Coppice plot after felling smaller stems to leave some standards.

The timber produce will be left until conditions dry out with extraction later in the spring to minimise damaging the soil structure.


Plantation thinning/respacing

A thinning operation was undertaken on a SSSI to allow more light to the forest floor. We also respaced a christmas tree plantation that had been left since it's original planting. This meant the trees were of poor quality as they had all been drawn up , the respacing should allow them to 'bulk out' to improve the potential timber yield.

Hardwood thinning

Hardwood thinning

Xmas tree re-spacing

Xmas tree re-spacing


Extraction

When ground conditions and site's have allowed we've extracted timber where we can. The majority of this has gone to the fuel the estate's own biomass boiler.

Timber extraction

Timber extraction


Tree shearing

We've had the tree shear out again. Reducing the height of some hedges and coppicing others to ground level.

Hedge before reduction

Hedge before reduction

Looking back up the hedge after reducing

Looking back up the hedge after reducing

The new equipment has dramatically changed how we work, with larger compartments and trees now being handled efficiently. We are getting more proficient with the harvester and it surprises us each time with the production and capacity provided by such a small machine! We will do a full update on the equipment in a separate post once we have used it for a bit longer, but already it has tripled the output and meant we don't have to manhandle or reduce so many big logs! always welcome.

If you have any questions about the equipment or would like to discuss how we can help in your woodlands please feel free to give us a call or send an email Contact Us

For more photo's please go to our facebook page here where you can see these and photo's of other works.

Tree shear

The last few weeks have been particularly busy, especially so the last week where we have been using a tree shear to clear scrub and open up some ponds. This is an incredibly efficient way of coppicing hedgerows that are now to thick for hedge trimmers to deal with - be warned though people are always surprised by the volume of work that can be completed in a day. It is a great way of cutting and placing smaller trees too, this minimises handling making things quicker and less tiring on the chainsaw operator too!

Pond rejuvenation

For more images of what the tree shear can do, please head across to our facebook page here to see some before and after examples of the type of work that this equipment excels at.

If you would like to discuss an area of scrub you would like cleared we have a number of options from mulchers right through to hand cutting with a chainsaw so please feel free to contact us, we are more than happy to offer advice as to the best method of achieving the desired results.

Woodland Thinning – Farm woodlands

We have been flat out recently undertaking some woodland thinning on Farm woodland scheme plantations. A busy few weeks has seen a good few acres heavily thinned which has had the following benefits:

  1. More light has been let down to the woodland floor improving biodiversity as other species can grow ( while the tree canopy is still open)
  2. Remaining trees have more space and less competition so should put on more timber (more valuable final crop)
  3. Improved access into the woodland
  4. Better access for habitat management and the management of game birds using the area
  5. A large supply of Firewood to keep houses warm this winter!

Woodland edge prior to thnning

Woodland edge prior to thinning

Woodland middle before thinning

Woodland middle before thinning

Woodland edge after thinning

Woodland edge after thinning

Woodland middle after thinning

Woodland middle after thinning

Looking down a newly created ride post thinning

Looking down a newly created ride post thinning

Low impact thinning

All of the work was undertaken with the intent of causing the minimum amount of disturbance and damage possible (excluding the removal of the trees). Felling was undertaken by hand cutters using chainsaws and all extraction was completed using our low impact tractor and trailer to keep ground damage to a minimum. One of the advantage of using hand cutters over machinery is that it allows us to tidy up the branch material “brash” to the edge of the ride to leave a clear access track if required. Machines although faster tend to leave the brash in the middle of the ride and run over it, although they can then go back later and tidy it up too.

Removing timber without leaving a mark

Removing timber without leaving a mark

The result is a woodland that has better future growth potential through more space for the remaining trees, improved habitat for wildlife and a large supply of firewood to keep the home fires burning in what we hope at least is a chilly winter this year!

For more pictures of the work and its results please visit our Facebook page.

Clean Kit… minimising pests and diseases

We’ve cleaned everthing off ready to go out again… doing our bit to keep pests and diseases out of woodlands.

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Clean kit about to go out to the woods

 

Not solely to keep everything looking nice a shiny and out OCD cleaning….

One of the key reason’s for cleaning the equipment we use in the woods is to ensure biosecurity between sites. This is to ensure that no pests or diseases (if present) are transferred from one site  to the next, thereby minimising the potential risk of transferring non native invasive species (eg. Himalayan Balsam) or diseases (Ash dieback, Chalara Fraxinea). For more info on keeping it clean please take a moment to have a look at the Forestry Commission’s information page linked here.

With the global trade in timber products we are seeing lots of timber being imported into the UK, which has not always been treated sufficiently prior to arrival to ensure that there are no living pests/diseases arriving with it. There are a number of things you can do ranging from buying locally produced firewood (rather than imported because it’s £5 cheaper) to managing neglected woodlands (Phytophthora ramorum – often affecting larch – flourishes amongst rhodedendron and dark woodlands with limited arirflow. Ideal conditions for the disease to establsih and spread from).

If you have some woodland or pests and diseases that you are concerned about or would like to bring a wood back into a managed state, get in touch via the contact us page here and we will do all we can to help.

Forest Mulching

The Bobcat Machine we have had in this week to complete the forest mulching/ride clearance has been a tracked one – Handy in some of the wetter areas that we have encountered over the last few days. The amount of work that we have done with this mulcher set up has been exceptional and we have created some cracking new habitat areas for the local wildlife to enjoy. This will create areas for wildlife to warm up in the suna nd dry off after the rains we seem to be having at the moment. The grass should now come back having been given access to light – so long as we can keep on top of blackthorn/bramble regrowth – there isnow a lot of rides to mow so looking at the grasss growth already we hope to be busy over the summer!We managed to convince a budding Spielberg to join us in the woods today and we have added a slightly better video to our Facebook and Youtube pages (click here for Facebook and YouTube) . I can assure you that our forest work is better than our camera work though!

A few new pictures to keep you interested too…..

A perfect spot for breakfast: WP_20160123_10_44_26_Pro

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After: WP_20160124_11_18_29_Pro

The last stint before completing the woodland…..IMG-20160124-WA0001

Ride clearance

We have been busy over the last few days doing some ride clearance.

This work allows some other flora and fauna a chance as opposed to everything being overtaken by brambles. The pheasants in particular are loving the work, WP_20160119_14_54_52_Pro

happily rooting around about 10m in front of the working machine. This will benefit game drives and despite what some say about disturbing the birds during the season they seem to be quite unconcerned and happy with their new space!WP_20160119_10_56_48_Pro

There are some more photo’s and a couple of short video’s on our facebook page Click Here so please feel free to have a look.

if we can assist your shoot/woodlands by creating some breathing space for trees and wildlife please drop us a line or click here Contact to be redirected to our contact us page.

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Scrub Clearance

A quick update on some recent Scrub clearance works

We’ve been doing some clearance to let some light (and water) back into a pond site. The removal of the trees has also allowed the water back into the pond and it is filling up again – quite quickly with the wet weather we’ve been experiencing recently!!

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Before

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During

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Finished works with some of the timber still to be removed.

To facilitate the scrub clearance we took our tractor mounted chipper onto site and chipped the smaller diameter timber in situ to save time and money for the landowner. The tractor and chipper all go onto the back of a flatbed trailer and can easily be moved to site and then due to the lighter footprint of the machine it is able to get into sensitive sites that may not be possible with larger or tow behind equipment.

If you have some unloved areas of your own that coud do with a tidy up, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to come and have a look and advise on potential options.