Outdoors and indoors, a divided team.

May has been quite a varied month with one half of the woods team office-bound, we’ve not quite been running at full pace, but have ticked off a few of those office jobs that have been put off in favour of getting outdoors.

So, out in the woods Stuart has been dragging in and stacking the timber covered in our previous blogs.  Soft woods from Pont-ar-Daf as part of our woodland plan is making its way into sawmills and hardwood thinnings from the river that are destined to become firewood.  All this helps fund our conservation work in the woodlands.  Removing trees to create space and light, allowing space for new trees and lower flora levels to come through, creating a mixed age structure and levels in the woodlands that benefit a wider range of wildlife and at the same time, not wasting the products of the woodland.  Hopefully this goes some way to a sustainable circle.

Pont-ar-Daf, pick-up sticks

Great big mess of sticks waiting to be pulled in, stacked and sold before we can re-plant.

Not allowed out, Tim has been bashing away at the computer, fixing bits, and out meeting schools and suppliers.  Not the usual things we write about here, but the bits that keep us moving.  Hopefully you will be starting to see a wave of updates and new sections to our websites, social media and notice boards. Planning towards the Welsh 50 things campaign and Hay Festival.
Working with members of the local Forest Education Initiative, we will be helping to provide log circles for forest school sessions in their grounds and have welcomed students from Coleg Powys to help us renovate our volunteer accommodation with the replacement of the decking.
Some of the equipment essential to our every day work has finally had some down time too for essential repairs and spares have been gathered up to keep us going through the summer.

Dan-y-Gyrn deck by Coleg Powys

Getting the new decking structure in with Coleg Powys.

June should see Tim declared fit again and allowed out the office, not soon enough for the woods team, all this good weather they’ve missed out on, best get busy, there’s felling fencing and firewood to be completed.

Glad to be in the woods,
The woods team.

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Anything and everything

We’ve had a very variable time in weather and work schedule. We’ve been cutting trees down and sticking them back up again, seen many more loads of logs taken away from site, found time to deliver a special load of logs and even been above the tree line in a helicopter. Next month isn’t looking any quieter either.

First off though, we’ve had a little maintenance work to carry out in our yard, John from Usk Valley Training joined us for a day to help tame an oak tree in the middle of our car park. A little attention from time to time will allow us to keep this tree for a long time without it causing issues.

A small trim back to stop it out growing its boots.

I would also like to say a big thank-you to 5th Penllergaer Scouts. They joined us on a lovely day to help with the ongoing care of one of our new woodland plantings. They helped us remove over 2000 tree guards that saplings have now grown out of. The saplings are now 5 years old and no longer need the guards protection, in some cases, the guards were even restricting the trees growth. With the guards collected in, we’ll be able to re-use them again too.

It was all hands to the hill on the 11th May as the access team had their annual air-lift to get all their materials up the hill for this years planned footpath repairs.

Just the last few bags waiting to make their way to Pen-y-Fan.

In Pont-ar-Daf, with all the phytopthora control work out the way, we have started to fell a line to make way for a new access track around the woods. All the wood we fell here is cut to length for specific buyers who have been in collecting loads through the month. Timber from site is making its way to becoming gates and powering the power station at Port Talbot for you cup of tea.

Looking back at where we have come from.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time in Hay-on-Wye this month too. Firstly helping provide the raw materials – some big logs, for a log circle in the school grounds. This means that the infants will now be able to enjoy forest schools too.
The culmination of prepping over the last few months came together as we built the National Trust stand at Hay Festival. The main feature of the stand is a leafless tree. Throughout the festival we have been asking for peoples most memorable outdoor experiences on luggage tags and hanging them on the tree, bringing it back into leaf with colour. As well as providing a selection of logs for seating, we have also built a camp fire on the stand for people to share stories around. Thanks to our volunteers Richard and Philppa there are also some very rustic memory sticks.

That just about sums up May, June holds more rain, some outdoors inspiration, something special on the Gower and hopefully, a holiday.

The woodland team.