Happy New Year – but the same old battle continues

It seems blog entries are like London buses – none for ages and then two come along at the same time.

Just before many of us finally go back to work we had a chance to obtain some beanpoles and pea sticks – all while clearing some birch of course.

And just for once – I remembered to take that before shot:


And two hours later:


Amazing what just a handful of helpers can achieve, there is also a huge pile of cut birch that will be turned into bean poles, pea sticks, besoms and even coasters by Mark Allery our woodsman. So nothing goes to waste even if it all looks rather radical.



Winter felling

Winter is the main season for our felling team to carry out the necessary tree clearance work. The Commons are managed primarily as a lowland heath habitat – that means we are obliged to keep the trees under control.

Given half a chance – or just a few years of neglect – most of our british landscapes will first revert to scrub and then to woodland. Post WWII aerial photographs of Lynchmere Common show an almost totally treeless heath – and look at it now! Birch is a relatively short lived pioneer species that readily regrows even if cut down. Just have a look at some of the areas we clear this winter in a few months time.

Felling trees opens up areas were we also try to control bracken, it lets more sunlight in and this will hopefully help heather re-establishment.

The felled trees are de-branched and the resulting small branches and twigs – the brash – is burnt on site while the rest is cut up for firewood.

As per usual I forgot to take a ‘before picture so it looked something like this:



And 40 felled trees  – and a few lovely toasted cheese and onion sandwiches – later it looks like that:



There is still more felling to be done in this area on Little Lynchmere but it certainly gave us a chance to enjoy some of the nice weather over the Christmas break.