Woodland Custodianship

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slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,127
179
Devon
I did a five day course down in Somerset where I am from earlier this year and am wondering whether to lay the hedge North Somerset rather than Welsh Borders style - I suspect in days gone by that could have been a capital offence!
I have the same problem, I've done a simple Devon style course but would prefer to lay a different style that gives more than a few inches of hedge.

The young woodland I have could certainly do with the brash rotting down as the ground is still very much field soil rather than a woodland habitat in many places. I just like to wander about the woodland and large amounts of brash doesn't help. I am tempted to burn some, or rather try and make some charcoal/biochar but that would be done in a pit as a kiln would be too expensive and hard to transport. Plenty will still be left for habitat.
 

Nomad64

Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
1,073
578
UK
I have the same problem, I've done a simple Devon style course but would prefer to lay a different style that gives more than a few inches of hedge.

The young woodland I have could certainly do with the brash rotting down as the ground is still very much field soil rather than a woodland habitat in many places. I just like to wander about the woodland and large amounts of brash doesn't help. I am tempted to burn some, or rather try and make some charcoal/biochar but that would be done in a pit as a kiln would be too expensive and hard to transport. Plenty will still be left for habitat.
The main difference in the NS and WB styles is the angle of the stakes so not as significant as that with Devon style which is a lot of work unless someone has already kindly made a bank for you. The Wrington & Burrington Association run a course in Jan/Feb which is not too far from you.

My charcoal retort was just an old 200 litre drum - lots of vids on utube showing how to do it, :)
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,875
171
Knowhere
Brash I scatter it around the woodland. I also make piles in various places. There is always a lot especially as I have mainly Beech trees which drop large amounts constantly. I have also made brash hedging with limited success but its mainly to mark areas rather than keep deer out.
As the experts recommend 30% of the total amount of wood we have should be dead wood I try to keep as much lying around as possible but that is one hell of a lot of wood.
I only have a few Ash and they have dieback. The advise was not to worry as they are quite young and not dangerous
Chalkflint
Plenty of brash from the brambles I am clearing, I tend to rake it into piles ord trample it down into the boggier parts of the ground to establish a causeway of sorts so I can get down to the lower parts in all weather.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,127
179
Devon
Brambles and small twigs are not a problem, it's the stuff finger size up to log size. Material that takes a few years to brake down. An oil drum would be too small to use for charcoal as I'd have to cut up the brash, if I do that I might as well bring the logs back to burn on the stove.

Hiring a commercial chipper would be another possibility but costly.
 
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Nomad64

Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
1,073
578
UK
Brambles and small twigs are not a problem, it's the stuff finger size up to log size. Material that takes a few years to brake down. An oil drum would be too small to use for charcoal as I'd have to cut up the brash, if I do that I might as well bring the logs back to burn on the stove.

Hiring a commercial chipper would be another possibility but costly.
After I culled a load of leylandii, I hired one of these tracked Timberwolfs for a bit over £100 a day - deals with anything up to 6”. Quite heavy on the diesel though.

31A8566A-D092-4B67-9AB5-6FA90725BFFF.jpeg

I kept the bigger stuff for burning and just put the brash through it - you do end up with large piles of chippings though broadleaf chippings would probably be more useful than evergreen ones.

If I was in your situation and there was some decent hardwood firewood to be had, I’d trim off the brash and burn it and keep the firewood.

The charcoal was just a bit if fun - I had a load of 2-3” willow and a mate wanted to have a go. One batch under done, the second over - if I get round to doing another it should be spot on! ;)

070E5D6A-5A49-493C-A28F-6FA7819AEA7D.jpeg
 
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slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,127
179
Devon
After I culled a load of leylandii, I hired one of these tracked Timberwolfs for a bit over £100 a day - deals with anything up to 6”. Quite heavy on the diesel though.
That's cheap, just looking at the local places near me and the small chippers (3") are around £100 a day. I have also thought about buying something small but then there's the problem of transporting even a 50kg machine, or rather getting it in and out of a car. It's a shame as I could do with loads of chippings to compost down.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,666
2,813
Mid Wales
For the first time I have walked the entire perimeter of the wood and along the rides (well, we've only had it two and a half years!). The purpose was to mark up on a map and then list everywhere that work needed doing. There's fencing to repair (though my only boundary responsibility is now done) to stop the odd ewe still getting in. I also want to coppice the hazel around the edges and on the rides where it will create a better graduation from the fields to the woods. Also, there's thinning to do (mainly young ash - up to 15 years old and very crowded) and there are a number of fallen trees that need processing. There is plenty of fallen timber away from the edges and rides so I'm happy there's plenty of decaying material on the wood floor.

Anyway, my work list is now pretty long :) (anyone fancy some time helping coppicing and camping in the wood? :) )

The fence is pretty secure along a fair bit of the boundary. I always delight in seeing fresh evidence of the badgers moving through.

PB050033 - 2 - 2056 - 25.jpg

This is a typical area needing coppicing although some of the hazel is a lot more mature than these.

PB050034 - 2 - 2056 - 25.jpg
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,127
179
Devon
Do you have any badger latrines on your woodland Broch? That's how I tend to know if the badgers have been about.

Thinking about them, on my other bit of woodland the badger sett hasn't been active this year. Possibly moved on or possibly a victim of the cull.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,666
2,813
Mid Wales
Surprisingly few considering the other evidence that shows. I have plenty of good footage (to use an out of date term :) ) on the wildlife cameras and I always remove the hair from the fence when I see it so I know when there's new evidence. There is no cull around here but we do not have high densities of badger either. I suspect they have been quietly 'controlled' for some time in this farming community.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,127
179
Devon
How's everyone coped with the recent bout of stormy weather? 70mph winds here seemed to have snapped the top out of a large neighbouring ash tree and thrown into the tops of a few other trees leaving a bit of a mess. Still, more firewood for the pile.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,666
2,813
Mid Wales
Still to go over to the wood after the last few days of wind; I don't mind the odd wind-blown tree but I dread to see any of the older specimens come down. I'll probably make it over on Wednesday afternoon and report then :)
 

Woody girl

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 31, 2018
2,804
1,900
62
Exmoor
I've been picking up kindling for my woodpile this afternoon. Two shopping trolly loads just along the path into town. I'm keeping my ears open for the sound of chainsaws and I will be hightailing out with the trolly for some bigger stuff as soon as I hear that magic sound of the council clearing up the windblown trees! We have a couple down here. But all told not too bad thank goodness.
Snow predicted for this and next week though we might just be lucky here in the vally and get away with only a light dusting. If any at all. The top of the moor will be a different story though.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,666
2,813
Mid Wales
Last week the local council cleared about 100m of dense young ash along the road near us and just shredded/chipped it - we must be talking about hundreds of 2 to 3" ash poles over 12' long - not many years ago they would have been put to good use. Quite sad really :( - especially as one of those ash trees may have been resilient to ash dieback.
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,875
171
Knowhere
Last week the local council cleared about 100m of dense young ash along the road near us and just shredded/chipped it - we must be talking about hundreds of 2 to 3" ash poles over 12' long - not many years ago they would have been put to good use. Quite sad really :( - especially as one of those ash trees may have been resilient to ash dieback.
It seems like sheer laziness to me and false economy in the long run.
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,875
171
Knowhere
How's everyone coped with the recent bout of stormy weather? 70mph winds here seemed to have snapped the top out of a large neighbouring ash tree and thrown into the tops of a few other trees leaving a bit of a mess. Still, more firewood for the pile.
My piece of land being on a flood plain, is doing what flood plains do at the moment, it is wet.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,127
179
Devon
I think parts of mine are what's classed as rare 'wet woodland' and it's certainly a bit wetter now. Actually it had dried out more than expected during the early part of the year, still a bit boggy but drier than I'm used to.
 

Chalkflint

Tenderfoot
Mar 6, 2017
70
33
Oxford
My trees are in general standing up well to the winds. (Inland and quite sheltered)
I have recently had the top half of a large Beech fall down. I had a small clearing that I was having trouble finding until I realised the tree had filled the entire area.
Last year snow brought down top half of one Beech tree that wiped out a younger one that landed on the fence I had just repaired. It did show how careful you need to be as this large "widow maker" dropped down where you expected it to but the chain reaction would have wiped someones camp out 20-30 metres away.
I also have the opposite dilemma as I have a large tree that has a split in it from a lightening strike many years ago that is dangerous. I keep hoping the damn thing will fall down before I have to pay someone to cut it down.
I was up the woods this weekend collecting Holly for some Christmas wreaths. Its all starting to look very bare on the trees which means you can see much further across the wood. But happily an incredible amount of new fungus has appeared over this last month.
Chalkflint
 
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Trojan

Silver Trader
Mar 20, 2009
636
35
The Countryside
I have a Weeping Willow tree, so can I take cuttings and plant them in the ground or is the wrong type of Willow to do this?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,666
2,813
Mid Wales
I have a Weeping Willow tree, so can I take cuttings and plant them in the ground or is the wrong type of Willow to do this?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Yes you can; they grow easily from cut withies. In my experience, providing the ground doesn't dry out in the early years of growth, you should get a very high success rate.
 
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slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,127
179
Devon
Another storm and another large ash tree down. Looking at the root plate it was growing over the top of a seam of rock so not surprising it fell. On its way down it took out a top of another ash and sliced half of another, so plenty of tidying to be done and even more firewood for the pile.

At least the deer have got a large amount of fresh ivy leaves to munch their way through over the next few weeks.

Not ventured all around the woodland yet, a bit too wet for a full mooch.