At least once each year I inspect the road frontages at all our locations in West Devon and Cornwall, primarily to ensure that there are no branches overhanging the carriageway or obstructing visibility, but also to check for trees which may be in danger of ‘going over’ in the direction of the road. While I’m there I also make sure that any structures are sound, gateposts are not wobbly etc. I also give the padlocks on the gates a good squirt of WD40.
My least favourite part of this task is picking up all the litter which accumulates in and around the gateways. I seem to fill more bin liners each year. Apart from this, it’s a very enjoyable couple of days driving around the region and reacquainting myself with woodlands which I don’t get to visit very often.
Together with my colleagues Stuart and Dan, we enjoyed a very pleasant few hours at the biennial show which is now staged at Longleat. We did a slow circuit of all the trade stands, watched demonstrations of some pretty massive forestry equipment and listened to a presentation about Phytophthora ramorum in the Forestry Commission marquee. We also managed to squeeze in a picnic lunch, coffees and ice-cream! Being more of a trade show than something which is aimed at the general public, it was hardly surprising to see so many familiar faces there. The dominant theme (and many of the exhibitors) seemed to be wood for fuel, but – regrettably – much of the talk was about Phytophthora.
Last cut of the season?
I have been taking advantage of this wonderful spell of dry, hot weather to give all the tracks and rides in the woodlands I take care of what will hopefully be their last cut of the year. In some places the grass was rather longer than I’d have liked – it was previously too wet to get it cut – but at least everywhere is looking tidy for now and anyone going to view the woodlands will be able to get around without having to wade through knee-high wet grass, nettles etc.