Work over. Now for fun & games.

Whilst the last update from the woods was a bit sparse and this one a little late, the weather has given us opportunity now.  We’ve planted trees, surfaced tracks, felled trees, stood around in the sun, delivered shelter, stared at trees and will have plenty more still to do.

So, starting from the beginning of that.  We just about beat the hint of spring to get all our trees in.  A massive thanks to our volunteers and working holiday that helped us get them all in, a grand total of 4,500 trees.  Most of these have been planted at Pont-ar-Daf to replace the larch trees that were felled as part of a disease control.  The planting mix was made up of hazel, birch, oak and rowan – the mix was to have included ash, but due to ash die-back concerns these shall have to wait.

Thank-you to all the volunteers that have helped with our tree planting.

Thank-you to all the volunteers that have helped with our tree planting.

Also up in Pont-ar-Daf has been the installation of drains and surfacing of the access track into the woods.  Initially this is giving us access to manage the woodlands, but when we finally get to the other end will also provide a way onto the hill above Storey Arms.  We’ve made good progress on the clearing of trees for the next stage of the track, but the thickest block of trees is yet to come.

Not a game of hide and seek at The Kymin, but actual work.

Not a game of hide and seek at The Kymin, but actual work.

A day was spent walking around The Kymin with Gary our mapping man, marking anything that wasn’t on a map in preparation of something that we are putting together for 50 things and local schools that requires a very detailed map.  Any guesses what?  Keep an eye out for something new appearing this summer.

Also for local schools, where they can’t get to the woods, we’ve been bringing the woods to them.  Whilst to you this may look like a trailer load of our coppicing waste (which it incidentally is, from the car park at Clytha), to the pupils of Goytre Fawr School, this is a mountain of den building material for their Forest Schools area.  Hopefully we’ll be getting back some pictures of their dens, but in the meantime, feel free to post some of your own.

Trailer load of fun.

Trailer load of fun.

Recently we were down at Dyffryn Gardens, helping out on their tree surveys.  The purpose of the tree surveys is to ensure your safety through good health and care in the trees.  Unlike a lot of our work you read about here, the aim of these surveys is to keep the trees up, especially with so many champion and veteran trees.

Hope you enyoyed your Easter break, we felt like we earned ours.  Now we’re back we will be pushing on with our track through Pont-ar-Daf and extracting the timber ready for sale to become fences, garden structures and housing as well as your electricity.

Cheers for now,
The woods team.

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Wrong kind of weather?

No. 34 - track wild animals.  From 50 things to do before you're 11 3/4.

No. 34 – track wild animals. From 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4.

Snow hasn’t been stopping everything from getting out and about, complete one of our 50 things activities to track wild animals by following their prints in the snow.  We saw these tracks on a log across a river whilst we were out fencing and making our own tracks.

Building fences, making tracks.

Building fences, making tracks.

This was to be the perfect time for us to undertake our replanting of the area felled last year to control the spread of disease in larch trees.  We had planned visits from Gower volunteers and a local health group to help us.  This all unfortunately fell whilst the site was under a foot of snow.  So now we are waiting for it to clear and hopefully we’ll get them in before Spring.

We are also hoping to get on with surfacing the tracks in the woods, again, we are just waiting for the weather, this time to offer us some nice hard ground.

So with the weather holding us up, our work list is growing – all the more need for recruiting a new full time volunteer to the woods team, click here for more information.

That’s all for now,
The woods team.

It’s not a post box, it’s a boiler

After a hint of summer, that spurred on our fencing, the reality of the approaching winter is now here.

We have been squeezing in the last of the fencing for the Tarell Valley woodland project.  This will see the majority of wooded areas in the upper area of the valley protected, in good health and linked together to allow a free movement of wildlife.

The Tarell Valley

We are continuing to work with local schools, helping them in their forest schools through the provision of sites to go truly wild in or by bringing the woodland to them.   Llanfoist School are the next to receive a log circle and a bunch of den building material.  Our 50 things are going down really well with the teachers too, some are even determined to complete the tasks themselves.  To help them, we are supporting a teacher inset day, led by Forestry Commision Wales through the provision of one of our Forest Schools venues.

The wood chip boiler, not a Mk2 TARDIS.

Our full-time volunteers are about to start getting the benefits of a new wood-chip boiler that has been installed in their accommodation.  They aren’t the only ones to be feeling the benefit of wood fuel.  Suddenly a demand for firewood has kicked in and we have been busy getting orders out.  We may have to up our production, so last month the woods team went to have a look at shiny machines at the APF forestry show which also included some of these carvings in competition.

I can see a cyclist, runner and maybe a swimmer, how about you?

Finally, for the woods team, winter = felling.  This winter we are moving our focus out of the Tarell and up the road to Pont-ar-Daf.  The beginnings of access tracks are in, so work will commence shortly.  Not the infection led clear fell of last winter this time, but a considered thinning of the trees to remove the under-performing trees and make space for the remainder to develop into mature timber trees.

Of course felling, means planting.  The area that was previously larch, down by the road-side is now due for replanting.  We have over 4000 trees to plant and may well be looking for a hand…
If you’re part of a group that may be interested in lending a hand with the planting, contact our assistant woodland warden tim.bennett@nationaltrust.org.uk

 

See you out there,
The Woods Team.