Now there are 3

As a quick update on some of what we had planned for June, you can view what we got up to on our trip to the beach here; http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/rhossili-and-south-gower-coast/
We hope to see some of the Gower staff again when we re-plant at Pont-ar-Daf this winter…

July has been a return to hard graft and a great introduction to our work for Peter the new woodland volunteer. Peter is staying with us whilst he builds up his woodland experience to help get a job in the sector.

With some better weather we have had time to focus on the care of the newer plantings around the Tarell Valley. A bit of extra fencing to make sure that the areas are stock proof – our young trees seem to be the favourite grazing for sheep. Next up comes the weeding, with a careful eye, we strim out all the bracken between the trees. The trouble with the bracken, is that it shades out the young, small trees in the summer and then come the autumn it collapses and squashes them. A quick spot spray will hopefully help the trees get away this summer.

Young trees after a little care and attention.

Proof of it getting nicer, we now have bees in residence at the back of our yard, hoping to make the most of the heather on the hill above us.

Busy bees

We have also managed to get Peter stuck right into some forestry work with the creation of a new track in Pont-ar-Daf.  He has been felling, winching, cross-cutting and extracting timber.  The new track will help us get around the woodland so that we can manage it.  We have also created a new loading area for the timber lorries so they no longer have to load near the busy entrance onto the hill that is the main access point to Pen-y-Fan. 

Whilst the digger was on site, we also sent it along the bottom edge of the wood.  Here it has been preparing the ground for a new permissive path between Pont-ar-Daf and Storey Arms that is off the roadside.  There is a full gallery of pictures on our facebook page.

Track building, full steam ahead.

Now we are wishing for a lovely sunny August.  Not just for your holidays, but with some good weather, we should finish or fencing plans for the TarellValley.  This has been a project of our over the last few years to exclude stock from the wooded areas to help new growth and the under storey to flourish.

And if there are a few not so pleasant days, that should be enough for us to finally fill the last of the log sheds for this winter.

 

Time to get out there,
The Woods team.

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Reaping the benefits of our surroundings

In our last update, we mentioned that we would be milling timber for the estate at the end of February. Well, dates slipped due to a run of bad weather and we finally milled in March.A bit of office maths has revealed that by using our own timber and doing the work ourselves, we will have saved 75% on material costs. The office calculator won’t go quite as far as working out our reduced product miles, or carbon saving, but we can predict that it is considerably lower than the bought in alternatives.

We have cleared a corner in our yard in preparation of new arrivals. The bottom end of the garden used to accommodate chickens and has also served us as a tree nursery. This spring though, it becomes home to several hives of bees. Our beekeeper is hopeful for a good harvest of honey. The unimproved pasture and small woodlands around us in the Tarell Valley should provide a great nectar source. Just above our base is an area of heather moor that is also rather desirable to the bees.

Clearing away the old chicken run to make space for bee hives.

The last of the larch trees have been cleared from Pont-ar-Daf as part of our Phytophthora ramorum control works. Work will continue on site as we now have the go ahead to improve access around the site.

Just had a wander through one of our Forest School sites this morning and met some newcomers.This reminds me of a report just published by the National Trust about children getting out to play in the outdoors and the rise of ‘nature defecit disorder’. The decline, benefits, barriers and the future of outdoor play are explored. The most interesting statistic for me was that three times more children are admitted to hospital for falling out of bed than for falling out of trees.
The full report is here:
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/what-we-do/news/view-page/item788564/
as are details of how you can contribute.

Time to perfect our tree climbing now,
The woods team.