Could you…

We work in the woods.  Some of these woods have a lot of conifers.

So inevitably, around this time of year, talk moves to Christmas trees.  This year we have cut trees for Dyffryn Gardens to display in the house and to go on our stand at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.  Dyffryn started with an order for quite a large tree, but once in the hall, despite looking very impressive, it wasn’t possible to get it to stand on its own.  So we trimmed it down to a mere 12 foot.

before after

On our track works, we have finally made it to the top of Pont-ar-Daf, there is a glimmer of light and we can hear you all chatting as you walk the Storey Arms path on the hill.  For now we just have the trees down and hope to get moving with the digger in the new year.  A quick borrow of a digger from the buildings team has also allowed us to clear some of the drainage on the Skirrid which should make a walk around the wood a bit more pleasant.

A couple of years ago we did some tree surgery works on one of the ash trees by Pont-ar-Daf car park.  This was to remove some of its canopy to reduce the chances of it being blown over after removing all the larch that had been sheltering it.  We have now done the same for the other tree with help from Jon at Usk Valley Training.  This tree was a little more delicate as it already had some tears and rot, but hopefully this will give the tree a few more years and save it from tearing itself apart in the wind.

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Finally, we hand you over to Kate to introduce herself and share some of what she has been up to since she started volunteering with us in September.

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I joined the woods team at the beginning of September as part of an apprenticeship scheme with Herefordshire and Ludlow College. The course allows me to gain experience in the field as well as studying at college once a week and gain certificates in particular tasks such as basic chainsaw use, working near power lines and machine use. A little background info, I actually studied at university to become a potter, which I did, running my own business for about 5 years but due to economic downturn I found myself climbing the ladder in retail. After realising it wasn’t for me I decided to change direction and follow my desire to work outdoors helping the environment and so here I am, starting without any prior knowledge but learning every day with some very patient teachers! Within the 3 months I’ve converted timber, processed firewood, built fences and planted trees with plenty more tasks lined up, or so I’ve been told. I’ve actually got my felling course next week which will allow me to start knocking over some trees and get really stuck in. I’m enjoying it immensely and the experience and knowledge I’m gaining is truly valuable for my future within this field.

So that’s it from the woods team,
Enjoy your Christmas.

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