Spent the day with a couple of Forestry Commission representatives examining some suspect larch trees – identified via an aerial survey. Now we just have to wait for the results from the analysis of the samples they took away with them. The only bright spot is that this is a fantastic location for tree growth and a previously clear-felled area has regenerated very quickly, mainly with sweet chestnut and birch.
Treefest at Westonbirt
Despite the somewhat mixed weather, numbers were good, especially on the Sunday and Monday. Saw many old friends among the exhibitors and had the chance to catch up with some of our woodland owners who visited our stand. The changes to the layout of the event seemed to work well, although changes to the content were less universally welcomed; many missed the chainsaw carving and subsequent auction, whilst the “food hall” was a major disappointment.
It’s been a while since I have had to extract a vehicle from one of the woods. Previous towing triumphs have included a 13.5 tonne lorry complete with fully laden builder’s skip and a long-wheelbase motor-caravan which had “bottomed-out” on a deeply rutted track. Then last week, a desperate call from a woodland owner. The dry spring had encouraged him to take his touring caravan further into his woodland than he had previously attempted. On the day before a planned week’s touring he went to get the caravan, but failed. So, a very apologetic phone call to me (it was Sunday lunchtime). He said I was his last hope of avoiding some serious domestic strife. Soon had him out and about and I returned home within an hour and a half, a bottle of wine to the good. All part of the service!
A recent article on the woodlands blog really struck a chord. The writer was enthusing about his recently acquired woodland and how he discovers new things with each visit. This is certainly true with me when working in the woodlands and readying them for sale; the more time you spend the more you discover and realise what special places they all are, each in its own ways. I always encourage potential buyers to spend as long as they can at the woods when viewing, to try to get the feeling of the place. Some follow my advice with enthusiasm, bringing along a picnic or viewing early and returning at dusk to experience the different sights and sounds. Redstone Wood is a great example of this. At first glance it may look like a pretty ordinary conifer plantation, but spend time quietly exploring the rides, tracks and boundary hedgebanks and you will discover so much more.
One of the great joys of working outdoors most days of the week is that you get to appreciate the gradual changing of the seasons. The change from summer into early autumn has to be my favourite, with the shortening days, cooler early mornings and that special, indefinable smell of autumn in the air.