Chelfham is one of the woods we purchased from the League Against Cruel Sports, and has been the subject of lots of planning and some improvement works. The main issue at Chelfham has been to provide good access, for both future management and to enable future owners to get around and enjoy the woodland.
After a small start in the spring we were back in action again in September, the dormouse breeding season now having finished. Overall we are looking at creating or upgrading around three kilometres of track: nearly ninety acres running along the river valley takes a lot of track! Roger has come back with his 14 tonne excavator, and George, a local forestry and firewood contractor, is helping me with some of the tree felling.
We’ve nearly finished cutting the tracks (see above), and the next step is to win some stone for surfacing the main route. This will be done by excavations on site, where we need to create a timber stacking area / turning bay into the hillside. Two stream crossings required land drainage consent; the smaller one has been piped (below), but a larger one will require a full bridge. This needs to cope with large tractors and timber trailers, so that should test our building skills!
Meanwhile we also took a day out to construct a large pond for Rosanna, who is buying a section of the wood and meadows. This was completed on an area of bracken, slightly higher than some of the nice wildflower meadow. The water level is based on the natural water table, with an overspill available into the stream. Something of a muddy pool at the moment, but it should colonise quickly next spring and summer.
Rosanna has had a motion triggered camera on site, and has taken some good photos and videos of a resident badger and fox amongst other things. Rosanna has given me permission to put some of these and other photos in my next blog. Meanwhile the hard works continues on site. We expect to have more details of sale areas on the web-site for next spring – keep your eyes peeled, or contact us directly by the enquiries button if you would like more information before then.