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the village idiot

An Idiot's guide to Ancient Woodland management

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Give them a hand. Vipers bugloss and Trefoil seeds are cheap on ebay, i always throw a handful in various verges and bees love them. K

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On 29/05/2021 at 13:08, the village idiot said:

Wide Ridening XVIII:

 

While I'm at it I'm sure you're all on tenterhooks waiting to hear how the ride edges are getting on!

 

It's been a while so first a quick recap.

 

Stage one was to clear the ride edges of most of the trees:

 

1298577324_rideimage.thumb.jpg.f1d2b1f706ddc78f5f53cb3503ca11f6.jpg

 

1823602056_ride6.thumb.jpg.f58b2daf42f166941a7cf9bbfa0fcb42.jpg

 

Stage 2 was the monster mucher to take out the stumps over half the newly cleared area:

 

mulching2.thumb.jpg.5265fd689b4f6edf959b7d343f83fc0c.jpg

 

mulching3.thumb.jpg.20767ccb55d1eb3ac4bfaf61642a45ae.jpg

 

mulching5.thumb.jpg.6c3d6ac801a9059518028bc2e0edc4f2.jpg

 

Stage 3 was to selectively mow to encourage the desired three zone growth profile:

 

989232256_rideedge2020.thumb.jpg.9fc541147fcb59a137c1b1a8b4523702.jpg

 

Now that everything has started to settle down after this admittedly 'heavy handed' intervention we are starting to reap the rewards.

 

We are getting fantastic wild flower swards in the two zones closest to the centre and the third zone which wasn't mulched is developing into excellent coppice like nesting habitat.

 

1829977409_Wildflowerregen2021.thumb.JPG.555191a85915c89b12644c8dcfdebc7a.JPG

 

These ride edges were previously very floristically poor due to the decades of heavy shading.

 

For more info on exactly why this work was undertaken have a quick shufti back at page 16.

 

Your doing a brilliant job there TVI,great to see,fantastic wildlife haven👍

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24 minutes ago, daveatdave said:

would something like  a forage harvester work on them then its straight into a trailer and away 

I liked the Kidd twin chop for just this sort of work, no need to set it low. Crude but robust.

 

In this case as the rides have been mulched the drying then baling seems a better option.

 

The failing with all the conservation harvesting I have seen is they just dump the arisings.

Edited by openspaceman
wrong name
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10 hours ago, gary112 said:

Your doing a brilliant job there TVI,great to see,fantastic wildlife haven👍

Thanks Gary.

 

It's kinda my hobby as well as my job. I'm very lucky to have found myself in this position.

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Quote

As an owner of a few acres of woodland planted on an old field one thing that strikes me is how long it's taken for woodland wild flowers to move in. In over 30 years the grass is still the dominant ground cover.

 

I planted somew bluebells in a new woodland they have seeded & spread around fairly quickly. Also some wild garlic which might of being a mistake as wondering if it will out compete the bluebells/everything else eventually?

 

 

 

Planted wood anemones also but the  roots/corms  all got dug up and eaten.

 

 

Edited by Stere
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1 hour ago, Stere said:

 

I planted somew bluebells in a new woodland they have seeded & spread around fairly quickly. Also some wild garlic which might of being a mistake as wondering if it will out compete the bluebells/everything else eventually?

 

I live on the edge of a piece of woodland that I would regard as ancient, i.e. it's been woodland probably since the last ice age.

 

It is a mass of bluebells in the spring, so much so I regard them as a weed. At one end there is wild garlic that I would like to encourage but the blue bells out compete it and many other things! The bluebells even spread like a weed into the fields about the woodland.

 

With my other patch, the young woodland planted on pasture, there are old hedges and patches of scrubby woodland for plants to creep out from but things are taking time. As has been said, the ground is probably too rich for some but even the wild garlic I've introduced is taking its time to spread.

 

 

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On 25/11/2019 at 22:50, the village idiot said:

LET THERE BE LIGHT.

 

My first practical job in the Wood was to thin out the Norway Spruce and Corsican Pine from the central section of area 3 on the map below.

 

image.png.7477114e3fc0c7efb45462a82d2bde06.png

 

This block had been planted up with quite nice Oak with the conifers as a nurse crop. A nurse crop is a largely sacrificial planting put in to help draw the main crop up in its formative years in the hope that is achieves good form.

 

The Conifers were now so large that they were starting to out compete the Oaks so they needed to go. They also needed removing to provide access deeper into the Wood for a tree harvester that was coming in to clearfell one of the two remaining dense blocks of pure conifer.

 

This was a nice 'starter' for me. Conifers are relatively easy to fell, they tend to behave themselves reasonably well, and I didn't have to worry too much about where they came down which was very handy as an embarrassingly high percentage descended 180 degrees off optimum. 

 

It was during this job that I performed my first rendition of the 'two saws stuck in one tree trick'. Back cutting a sizeable spruce with a blunt silky does not come highly recommended!

 

My main issue with this first foray into the trees was that I was not accumulating stems of any great value. Most of the arisings ended up as Swedish candles which I managed to sell wholesale. My takings didn't break the bank, but it was an important first lesson in finding a market for what needs to come out, whatever it happens to be.

The alternative is cherry picking the trees that will achieve best profits at any given time, and this is not how I wished to proceed.

 

I haven't got many pictures from these first few weeks but managed to find a few.

 

Here is a couple of candles at full blast:

 

candles.thumb.jpg.55cfcb30dd42081674be14d5566eb425.jpg

 

 

A rocket propelled Kelly kettle:

 

69942287_kellykettle.thumb.jpg.b42fd3d5695d861171219a3cbc5c922f.jpg

 

 

And your's truly warming his hands in his armpits, pretending to know what he's talking about to a visit from the Small Woods Association. You can see my friend Jacob standing on one of the felled nurse conifers with the young Oaks to the sides.

 

1306608496_tomsgroup.jpg.1c4ef7767cac2517d80ed09ca40c8645.jpg

 

 

 

How are the the newly planted Oaks doing m8, any powdery mildew problems, ie stunted growth. Great thread by the way

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Thanks Paul.

 

I didn't see the Oaks in their very early stages, when I believe mildew is most problematic. I don't know if the nurse crop helped with mildew or not. Probably not.

 

They are certainly growing strongly now. We did some high pruning on them about a year ago. Surprisingly hard work from the ground as I'm sure all you tree surgeons are very well aware of!

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Hi TVI 

 

I've just spent the last few evenings reading through this whole thread page by page and it has utterly enthralled me! 

I'm in awe of what you have a achived, it's amazing. 

The way you have written it is superb. 

 

Congrats 

 

Kieran 

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