Woodland Blog

Which way woodland management?

Last month saw the sad closure of the Silvanus Trust, a charity based in the south west and dedicated to conserving woodlands and bringing small woods back into active management. Silvanus was established in 1986, growing from a three year pilot called the East Cornwall Small Woodland Project.  The projects only member of staff was

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The Man who made things out of trees

Rob Penn is back with a new book about all the things you can make with ash timber. You may remember Rob as the presenter of Tales from the Wild Wood which was on BBC4 in 2014.  In a series of programmes Rob takes on the management of a neglected wood near his home in

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Does Anyone Want to Share a Wood?

While most purchasers of small amenity woodlands do so for the pleasure of ownership it is nevertheless a big financial outlay.  Protecting the value of the investment is therefore important, and ideally it will rise in value as well.  The woodland market has been strongly influenced by the rise in the number of small woodland

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Hakeford Woods Forest School

Hakeford Woods Forest School has recently opened on some land we recently sold to Stuart near Chelfham.  He has given up a teaching job in order to develop the forest school, which is being run as a community interest company.  If you haven’t come across forest schools before they aim to build the connections of

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Restoring a wildflower meadow

It’s not all woodlands here; for the last month I have been popping up to Chelfham to work on a new fence, so that we can reintroduce grazing to some old meadows.  Species rich wildflower meadows have declined steeply since the Second World War, as intensive farming, with short term leys, fertilisers and herbicides have

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Civil engineering at Chelfham!

We have been back at work in Chelfham Woods in the last month, fitting in track work between the hibernation and breeding seasons for dormice.  Last autumn we constructed a series of tracks, and stoned them from a quarry on site.  This spring our main focus has been to build a bridge across the river

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How big does a woodland need to be?

  The simple answer is as big as possible!  This gives economies of scale for foresters and woodland managers, but is also good for wildlife.  But then the accountant or bank manager gets involved, and it becomes a question of what can you afford? From a wildlife point of view, the technical phrase is island

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Ancient Trees

Most ancient trees are defined as those believed to be over 400 years old, although it can be less, for species with a shorter life span.  400 years is also used to define ancient woodlands, a timescale initially defined by how far back our map records tend to go. Oliver Rackham wrote: ‘Ten thousand oaks

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Pine Martens: a new woodland management tool?

Nature far from what it once was in this country, with the influence of man present throughout.  As well as woodland clearance for agriculture, sheep grazing the uplands are responsible for some of our most iconic landscapes, and many heather moors are the result of management for grouse hunting.  What are we as conservationists trying

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Treragin Wood: review of the year

I’ve been doing relatively little for the last two months, having gone down with a bout of sciatica.  Too much activity at Chelfham, particularly with a chain-saw, where I have been trying to pretend that I am twenty years younger than I really am! However, I have been mowing the brambles in the last couple

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