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Judith Davis

Help on clearing newly owned woodland

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We have just purchased a tiny cottage with 6 acres of woodland in Cornwall.  The main woodland of around 5 acres is made up of tall larch trees ... all unmaintained, most covered in creeper (clematis like vines with massive ropes hanging from them) and ivy.   It is virtually impossible to walk around the woods without being tripped by brambles and dense undergrowth.  Where should we start with clearing the undergrowth to create paths and clearings and how should we manage the trees?

 

Also nearer the cottage there is about half an acre of totally overgrown garden which has become brambles and dense undergrowth - we would like to clear this completely to make a manageable garden and vegetable area.

 

Can you advise who can help with this and how we can start our clearing programme please!

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We have just purchased a tiny cottage with 6 acres of woodland in Cornwall.  The main woodland of around 5 acres is made up of tall larch trees ... all unmaintained, most covered in creeper (clematis like vines with massive ropes hanging from them) and ivy.   It is virtually impossible to walk around the woods without being tripped by brambles and dense undergrowth.  Where should we start with clearing the undergrowth to create paths and clearings and how should we manage the trees?
 
Also nearer the cottage there is about half an acre of totally overgrown garden which has become brambles and dense undergrowth - we would like to clear this completely to make a manageable garden and vegetable area.
 
Can you advise who can help with this and how we can start our clearing programme please!
Great project for some one..good job for a Stihl shredder blade on a brush cutter maybe. Post some photos of the progress.

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Definitely shredder blade. Also called a mulcher blade. Different to the regular blades for strimmers and brushcutters, more expensive, heavier, and much better for brambles etc. You'll need a strong machine to run one as well.

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Sounds like a good project, lots to do....Before you do anything try and develop a basic woodland management plan, establish short, medium  and longer objectives for the woodland, garden etc.  If necessary get help with this before you start any tasks.  Can't beat a good plan...make a few notes...

Decide what you can tackle and what requires a contractor.  Allocate tasks and a budget for each year for first few years...

Plenty of resources out their to help, forestry commission, small woods association etc

https://smallwoods.org.uk/.

 

Become aware of any likely legal requirements such as felling licences, specific requirements for larch ,  are you in a conservation area etc..plenty of info out their to help...

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tree-felling-licence-when-you-need-to-apply

 

 

 

 

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Lots can be done with hand tools, saws, brushcutters, chainsaws etc, if budget allows contractors with flail machines can be quicker if access is possible and terrain suitable

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Observe and plan for a year or two. You might make better/different decisions with the benefit of circumspection. Thrash at some bits with hand tools to keep yourself busy and make space for a picnic in the mean time.

Make a map or something maybe.

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Just get a local 3-5 ton digger and flail operator in for a couple of days to get the ground cleared then it’ll make assessing the rest of any work you want done easier. Much cheaper to pay £300/day for a machine than £150/day man and strimmer. 

If it’s a new place you’ll have enough hands on gardening to do once the brush is cleared, you’ll be disheartened trying to get that stage with hand tools alone.

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It might pay you to cut a few racks  to ease accesses ( if its planted in a matrix ) ...say every 7 rows if its flat .

Edited by Stubby

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There is a book you may find useful - Woodlands a practical handbook, by Elizabeth Agate 

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