Some of you may know me as I’m the Regional agent for East Anglia. I own my own wood and wanted to share with you my wood over the year. I’m often asked by owners on what commitment in terms of work a wood entails. This will depend on the woodland and your needs and aspirations. However, I thought it might be useful to give a regular update on my own woodland.
I’m blessed with the best wood in the world or that’s what I think. It’s my wood. It’s called Snipes wood after one of my old dogs and it is 150 metres from my back door and surprisingly despite spending my working life in woodland - I love every moment I spend in it yet do very little work with it. First thing every morning I walk around the wood with “Stig “the dog and love seeing the sun rise as I head back for home.
The woodland is made up of overgrown oak, ash and hornbeam coppice that was used to fire the local brick works. This was deemed to be an almost perfect mix of heat and burn rate for the kilns. The wood was expected to be coppiced but the brick works closed decades ago and the trees are now nearly fully grown.
They sway enormously in the wind with the ash trees shedding limbs at an alarming rate. Most foresters would fell the wood for timber, but I love it just the way it is. My part of the woodland is just over 8 acres and this gives me enough fire wood from dead or dying trees to run two wood burners and my mother’s open fire. I suppose this amounts to 7-10 tones of wood per year. However, this is winter work and I can now just enjoy my wood as it bursts into life with the onset of spring.
The wood has a large pond made from the excavation of clay for bricks and I’m occasionally visited by wild ducks and herons however its main use is a swimming pool for my dog. At the end of summer I pull out some of the weed and remove any fallen branches from it as the year goes on but so far it’s been maintenance free.
This time of year is just magical in my wood. The buds have just started to pop on my hazel and the bluebells now carpet the soft underbelly of the wood in green. In just over a month the woodland floor will be bright blue as they flower.
A wide electricity pylon ride splits the far end of my woodland. Last year I cleared this of the scrub and bramble and I have been rewarded by an infusion of Primroses. These flowers really are the first sign of spring and along with the daffodils on the southern bank they scream goodbye to winter. I hope to be able to increase the wild flowers here as well as the areas of wild strawberry that mark summer.
I really feel my wood is shaking off the winter and stretching its arms to waken to the sounds and sights of spring. It is impossible not to feel invigorated at this time of year even if the only thing I’ve done is walk through the wood.
Owning woodland is not an onerous task. I’m often asked by buyers how much time and effort will it take and the answer is it’s really up to you. Every wood needs some love and care but unlike gardens if you miss a month or even a year it’s not going to be tragic. The main thing is to enjoy your wood and the time you spend in it. Doing the jobs as and when they need doing.
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