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Unusual or exotic trees : Mesquite.

Unusual or exotic trees : Mesquite.

by Lewis ~ 24 January, 2020 ~ comments welcome

Mesquite is the name given to a number of leguminous shrubs or trees that belong to the genus Prosopis. Many of these plants are native to southern parts of the United  States and Mexico, though one species is native to South America - Argentina. Generally, they are plants of very dry (arid or xeric) regions.  They have the capacity to form very long, deep roots that seek water deep underground.

The trees / shrubs are deciduous and their leaves are pinnate (a compound form of leaf); they are also thorny.  The trees produce flowers through Spring and Summer, and the seeds (beans) form in pods.  The trees can be used as a source of timber (for furniture, and in the past ship building). Read more...

21st March - The international day of forests

21st March – The international day of forests

by Lewis ~ 11 March, 2019 ~ comments welcome

For some years now, the United Nations has promoted an ‘international day of forests’.  Essentially, the day is a celebration of forests and woodlands; it seeks to raise awareness and importance of all types of woodland (large or small).  Woodlands and forests offer a wide range of ‘ecological services’ : Read more...

A trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

A trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

by Chris ~ 6 November, 2018 ~ comments welcome

A small contingent set off from Woodlands HQ in SE London to visit Kew Gardens.  A trip to Kew is always a pleasure but there were a number of things that had induced us to face the rigours of the South Circular - notably

  • The restoration of the temperate house
  • The exhibition of “a legacy of ancient oaks” by Mark Frith
  • A visit to the gallery of Marianne North’s paintings / work
  • It was a beautiful sunny but autumnal day 

We arrived and accessed the car park near the river via Ferry Lane (where there are a good number of disabled spaces - which is not always the case at certain public venues / attractions).  A short walk took us to the Brentford Gate and into the gardens.  For those with limited mobility (or stamina), there is a Kew Explorer stop nearby.   Here you can board the Kew Explorer Land train which runs each day between 11 am and 3 pm.  A complete tour of the Gardens takes  about 40 minutes and ticket holders can get on and off at any stop on the route, re-boarding the ‘train’ when ready. Read more...

Sawdust to go

Sawdust to go

by Dick ~ 26 January, 2017 ~ 11 comments

In these days when just about anything is available, delivered to your door with just a few taps on an app, I have introduced my own delivery service for some of our woodland owners – delivering to their woods rather than their homes.   The product or maybe that should be by-product, is sawdust, all neatly bagged up and deposited where it is most needed namely close by their composting loos. Not the sort of thing that is going to qualify me for a slot on Dragons Den, but satisfying in that (a) a “waste” product is put to good use and (b) the woodland owners are very appreciative.

How did it start?

A clever device for long-cutting - the "truncator" sawhorse

A clever device for long-cutting – the “truncator” sawhorse

by Angus ~ 21 September, 2015 ~ 2 comments

The worst thing about cutting logs with a chainsaw is all the bending down and picking up, stacking and generally time spent not actually cutting. Richard Bowness and Steve Tonkin have solved the problem - they make a sawhorse with a set of ingenious "cups" that space out branches for cutting and holding the cut logs. There is a hinge so that the cut logs can then be tipped into a wheelbarrow.

"Actually," explains Steve, "the name 'truncator' was suggested by our patent agent but it describes well what this device does - helps to cut up trunks and also truncates the task. We make the cups out of recycled plastic from old car batteries: this sort of plastic is particularly strong and doesn't splinter if it gets caught by a chainsaw." Read more...

Woodland types :  Beech Woodlands

Woodland types : Beech Woodlands

by Chris ~ 22 May, 2015 ~ 4 comments

Beech woodland is native to Southern England and Wales (roughly, south of a line drawn from The Wash to the The Severn).  However, in some parts of the country, beech has been planted systematically, for example, John Holliday of Staffordshire planted some 94000 beech in 1791.  Beech is found throughout Central and Western Europe. It is generally found on freely draining (drier) soils (chalks, limestones and light loams) such as found in the Cotswolds, Chilterns and the Downs. Read more...

How does Inheritance tax and capital gains work with woodlands?

How does Inheritance tax and capital gains work with woodlands?

by Richard and Angus ~ 13 March, 2015 ~ 2 comments

Woodlands get some protection from these "capital taxes" in order to encourage people to invest in forestry and to manage it commercially.  This blog explains in outline how these taxes affect woodlands.  Of course,  income from sale of timber is completely tax free whether the woodland is owned by individuals or held in a limited company, but relief from IHT (Inheritance Tax) and CGT (Capital Gains Tax) is not automatic.

IHT is potentially charged at 40% on the woodland of a deceased owner, though that only applies if the deceased person had assets of more than £325,000.  There is also no IHT charged where assets are transferred to a spouse.  This 40% tax is on the market value of the woodland so one can see that without various exemptions it would be hard to keep woodland in the family and hard to keep rural estates together.  Fortunately for woodland owners IHT can be legitimately avoided, reduced or deferred in three different ways.


A Wooden Summerhouse - Part 2: The Reciprocal Roof

A Wooden Summerhouse – Part 2: The Reciprocal Roof

by Anita ~ 22 September, 2014 ~ 2 comments

With the henge completed, the next stage of the summerhouse build was to construct the roof. The type of structure we have chosen is a ‘reciprocal roof’. This is a simple and elegant roof form which is entirely self-supporting. It is also very strong, making it an ideal base for carrying a green roof since these can be quite heavy.

To form a reciprocal roof, rafters are arranged in a spiral so that each rafter rests on the previous one. The last timber fits underneath the first so that the whole structure interlocks. This leaves a circular opening at the centre, which provides an opportunity for creating a skylight. Read more...

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