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A year in our very own woodland – by Mark Vesey 

A year in our very own woodland – by Mark Vesey 

by woodlands blogs ~ 8 November, 2017 ~ 3 comments

In autumn 2016 my wife and I visited a small wood for sale on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. We had seen a few other sites but this held more promise as it was part moorland, part regenerating ex-forestry land.  The three things that made it of particularly interest to us were that: it was only twenty minutes away from home; it had a small natural pond; and it had some open space for planting new trees.  As a green person at heart, I often pick up acorns on walks and pop them in a pot.  I was however running short of space and needed somewhere to plant them!

Dan, from Woodlands.co.uk, met us on site and explained that the management plan favoured planting oak trees so that made it ideal for us. After a few months of paperwork, we received the key to the padlock of the woodland gate just before Christmas. A nicer present could not have been had. Read more...

The 2017 Big Butterfly Count

The 2017 Big Butterfly Count

by Chris ~ 14 October, 2017 ~ comments welcome

The first six months of 2017 were noteworthy for above average temperatures. Then July and August were characterised by unsettled weather and above average rainfall - indeed, it has been one of the wettest summers for a number of years.

The effect of this weather was to reduce the number of butterflies seen during the Big Butterfly Count - which took place in late July and early August.  The ‘warmer’ early months of the year meant that the development of some butterfly species was accelerated so that their peak numbers occurred earlier than when the count took place.  Others were affected by the rather miserable ‘summer’ weather.  The count recorded the sightings of some 20 species of butterfly and moth. Read more...

Woodlands Awards 2017: a community of winners

Woodlands Awards 2017: a community of winners

by Antony Mason ~ 11 October, 2017 ~ comments welcome

I saw the list… So many prizes... A huge community.” So wrote a delighted winner of one of this year’s Woodlands Awards, after looking at the full list of winners published recently on the Woodlands.co.uk website.

This was the first year of the Woodlands.co.uk-sponsored Woodlands Awards. The awards were divided into fourteen categories, some aimed at woodland owners and enthusiasts, some at woodland professionals and enterprises. The intention was to cover as much of the full gamut of woodland activities as possible and to give recognition to all the good work that is being done – professionally or for pleasure – in the woodland sector. Read more...

rhododendron leaves

Marble run made from Rhododendron

by Angus ~ 16 September, 2017 ~ 2 comments

Most woody people hate Rhododendron in woodlands, but Chris Colvill  has found a really good use for it.  He loves marble runs so he made this very big one using wood from rhododendrons. The stems are very twisty which is exactly what you need for a marble run like this. To get the skills to construct this work of art, Chris studied furniture making for three years at Chichester college and he's now made lots of different marble runs for all sorts of locations: "I do sell them but mainly I rent them out for events” says Chris. “People seem to love them.” Read more...

Why buy a small wood?

Why buy a small wood?

by Paul Hanson ~ 23 August, 2017 ~ 5 comments

As the managing director of a professional, family owned, tree management company I took the rather self-indulgent decision to purchase a small 5 acre woodland for the business in 2016. My accountant and many others have asked why? As urban foresters, we are trained and experienced in managing trees and woodlands (less so in managing the tree owners).

The purchase of our own woodland allows us to put into place what we believe to be best practice woodland management, as we see it, without having to accommodate any third-party demands driven by a need to generate an income. Whilst not viable to operate for commercial timber production, as in investment our new woodland is perhaps better than money in the bank?


Moth trapping.

Moth trapping.

by Ben Driver ~ 14 August, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust carried out a moth trapping evening at Cotgrave Forest on 4 August 2017. The event was hosted by one of the woodland owners. Neighbouring owners were invited along and the evening was supported by two local naturalists/ ecologists, Neil Pinder and Mike Hill.

The event yielded a total of 27 species, which is good given the recent unsettled weather. Although no particular rarities arrived at our moth trap, the diversity in colouring
and patterning of the moths was outstanding. This ranged from the mainly yellow Brimstone moth to the quite large and numerous Large Yellow Underwing, both of which came to our trap early on. Read more...

Scythe training

Scythe training

by Chris Colley ~ 31 July, 2017 ~ comments welcome

A May bank holiday Saturday, West Wales, and it was drizzling. Probably like most people I had preconceptions of scything as an activity performed by farm labourers in blazing sunshine, when the hay would dry best. Not the full Poldark maybe, but something similar. Like most preconceptions, it proved to be wrong in all important respects.

I had long hankered after developing two traditional skills: dry stone walling and scything. I met my needs for dry stone walling a few years ago, courtesy of the National Trust, but this May bank holiday was my opportunity to address the other. My particular need that encouraged me to move this year was planting 1300 willow and poplar as short rotation coppice, and the need to keep the grass down during year one.

Scythe Cymru, based at the Dyfed Permaculture Trust land in Penboyr, about 16 miles north west of Carmarthen run courses in scything, and sharpening and maintaining scythes, as well as providing a sharpening service used by scythe owners across the country. Read more...

Woodland Goats 

Woodland Goats 

by Rebecca Cork ~ 24 July, 2017 ~ 2 comments

At Tortworth Arboretum we are restoring a 20-acre woodland for community use – clearing an abandoned woodland of ten years of neglect while making it accessible for people to come and learn about nature, as well as improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing. We manage the woodland mostly with hand tools and an ever-evolving team of volunteers who give their time freely to the project.   The woodland is host to hundreds of exotic trees from around the world, planted from the 1850s onwards by the local Earl, as well as some stunning veteran oaks and sweet chestnut trees.

And we have goats

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