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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...

Beavers - reducing pollution?

Beavers – reducing pollution?

by Chris ~ 10 August, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Once upon a time, beavers (Castor fiber) were widespread in the U.K, however, there are few records after the 11th century and by the sixteenth century they were extinct .     They are still to be found in Europe; several thousand live on or near the Elbe and the Rhône, and in parts of Scandinavia.

They were hunted to extinction as the animal provided meat, fur and ‘medicine’.  The yellow secretion of their anal glands (castoreum) was used, at one time, as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic.   The Romans thought that the fumes from burning castoreum could induce an abortion.  Medical uses are no longer ‘in vogue’ but castoreum is used in the making of certain perfumes. Read more...

Woodland types : Birch woodlands

Woodland types : Birch woodlands

by Chris ~ 10 June, 2015 ~ 3 comments

Birch is a pioneer species, that is often replaced by oak, beech or other species.   After the last Ice Age, birch moved in quickly as the glaciers receded.   Even now, after clearfell in almost any part of the country,  birch is usually the first to appear by natural regeneration (and can act as a nurse for planted oak etc.); some refer to it as the 'forester's weed'.    Birch woodland is generally “open” and the trees are often of a similar age and size. Birch regeneration is often respaced (thinned) with a clearing saw  (the resulting thinnings may be used for horse jumps - like the Grand National).

However, birch woodland has mainly persisted (in the U.K.) where conditions are harsh and limit the growth of other species. Read more...

Woodland types : Wet woodlands

Woodland types : Wet woodlands

by Chris ~ 29 May, 2015 ~ 3 comments

After the last ice age, the melt water from glaciers and ice sheets created areas of open and wet habitat. It was a ‘fertile time’ for pioneer species such as willow, birch and alder. Nowadays, wet woodland is scattered throughout the U.K. and Ireland, though western areas with greater rainfall are more likely locations.   Such woodland is associated with poorly drained or seasonally flooded areas, for example, the flood plains of rivers, or the edges of lakes, bogs and fens. Estimates of the area covered by wet woodland vary – but the Forestry Commission gives a conservative figure of 25 to 35,000 hectares. Much of it is relatively inaccessible and of little economic value. In consequence, it is often subject to drainage and/or clearance. Read more...

Caledonian forests .....

Caledonian forests …..

by Chris ~ 9 August, 2013 ~ 3 comments

At the end of the last Ice Age, the recolonisation of the British Isles began.  Plant and animal species moved across the 'land bridge' that connected us with continental Europe.   Trees and other plants began to colonise and forest formed in many places.  As it took some time for the climate to warm, the first forests were probably coniferous – resembling the Caledonian Forests that can still be seen in Scotland today.   These early forests and woods would be characterised by pine, birch, aspen, rowan, juniper and perhaps oak.   At one stage, it is thought that such forest / woodlands covered some 15,000 km2 – a vast area.   Now, only a few remnants of this once enormous ecosystem survive in Scotland.

The Caledonian forest / woodlands represent a unique ecosystem in the British Isles – they are remnants of the vast wilderness that once existed here; and across on the Continent – as  boreal coniferous forest. These forests and woodlands are populated particularly by the Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris).  One of the larger tracts of this native pine forest is Read more...

Greenridge - my wood.

Greenridge – my wood.

by Graham H ~ 17 May, 2012 ~ 6 comments

Having been born and brought up in rural Devon and then subsequently spending a career of 50 years at sea, the prospect of retirement with all its encumbrance of zimmer frames and wheel chairs was not sitting too comfortably on my shoulders. A year into this experience, at about the time the wife stopped talking to me, and with the feeling of guilt experienced every morning of really not doing very much constructive with my life, except walk the two Springers the obligatory six miles a day along the coast outside my home - it really felt as if the rot was well and truly starting to set in. That is until one day, whilst exploring a quiet part of Northumberland,  I espied a Woodlands.co.uk for sale sign. Read more...

National Tree Week 2011 - 26th November to 4th December

National Tree Week 2011 – 26th November to 4th December

by Richard ~ 27 November, 2011 ~ Comments Off on National Tree Week 2011 – 26th November to 4th December

The Tree Council’s annual tree weeks have been an undoubted success, emanating from the 1973  “Plant a tree in ’73” campaign (some rather cynical individuals chanted “cut it down in ’74”) and must have resulted in not only in promoting the whole idea of trees but in planting many thousands across the country in parks, gardens, roadsides, corners of farmland and development sites to name but a few.  The Tree Coucil ( http://www.treecouncil.org.uk) is our foremost campaigner and umbrella body for UK organisations involved in tree planting, care and conservation.

Forestry and woodlands are a long-term business but those of us planting in ’73 can see the fruits of our labours: we stand back and look up at the hornbeam, hazel, hawthorn and fieldmaple spreading wide and high;  the oak, ash, beech and birch are trees, a miraculous metamorphosis from those tiny whips planted during the cold winter months – it seems like yesterday.  We plant for the next generation but once established trees grow quickly so we can all enjoy watching them develop. Read more...

The national vegetation classification

The national vegetation classification

by Lewis ~ 21 July, 2011 ~ 4 comments

The Nature Conservancy Council commissioned the National Vegetation Classification in 1975.  Its aim was to provide a clear and systematic catalogue / description of the many plant communities of the United Kingdom.  After many years of work, a five volume account of the Classification of the National Vegetation was produced by Cambridge University Press.

  • Woodlands and scrub
  • Mires and heaths
  • Grassland and montane vegetation
  • Aquatic swamps and tall herb fens
  • Maritime communities and vegetation of open habitats.

Details of the methodology and sampling techniques can be found here Read more...

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