The area of North Wales in which I grew up no doubt contributed to my interest in the natural environment. Early memories of the raw natural beauty that surrounded me helped confirm the fact that I wanted to pursue a career aimed at conserving and protecting the incredibly diverse landscape that we are so lucky to have here in the U.K.
After spending some time working at a local tree nursery, I decided that I wanted to work with trees and woodland and so I applied to study Forest Management at the National School of Forestry. I have currently just finished my first semester and it has been one of the most interesting and exciting few months of my life. I underestimated the breadth of forestry as a subject. My eyes have really been opened to the importance of maintaining and creating sustainable woodland environments for both environmental and economical gains. The National School of Forestry has recently moved campus to Ambleside in the South Lakes. This move has brought the school into a setting that is truly inspirational for any forester.
One of the assessments set in the first semester was to conduct a report on a woodland. As a newcomer to the area, I contacted David Alty, the woodlands.co.uk area manager for Cumbria. Upon enquiry about a suitable woodland on which to base my report, David was extremely helpful and gave me permission to survey High Birkhow, a woodland on the southern banks of Wastwater in the Wasdale Valley. When surveying the woodland, I noted the tree and ground flora species present, their age and distribution and also did a brief analysis of the variety of soils present. Using the data gathered and information on High Birkhow’s history provided by David, I was then able to create a suitable future management strategy.
I was impressed at the work carried out by woodlands.co.uk at High Birhow. The recently graded tracks, new signs, gates and ridestops are very professional and the woodland is now far more accessible. Dividing up larger areas of woodland is what makes woodlands.co.uk such an important organisation. The creation of more affordable and manageable amenity plots makes woodland ownership a reality for a higher proportion of the population. I hope that the work carried out by woodlands.co.uk continues well into the future so that our country's woodlands can be kept in safe hands and cherished for generations to come.