Friday, 21 November 2008

Back to the coppicing...

My busy period at work has drawn to a close for now, so we were up at the wood today. Also, I'm only working two days a week for the next four weeks, so we'll have lots more opportunities to get up there.

We got straight back into coppicing along the footpath, and with the clearing of small stuff completed a few weeks ago we made good progress. Here's a before and after shot of the area I was working:
and here's Tracy's area:
I realise those photos don't really do it justice, so here's some from the stile and the furthest point we've cut to on that stretch:
As you can see, there's quite a corridor building up now. I can't wait to see how it will look next summer when everything starts growing. I have visions of it being filled with birds and butterflies, but we'll wait and see if the sunlight entices them in...

One important point to mention is dormice. After a visit from a local dormouse officer (yes, they really exist - these creatures are protected by law!), we've taken their advice and left "pinch points" across the path, where trees touch over the top of it. You can see two of them in the above pictures, one is the holly tree, the other is the oak that's been struck by lightning. If these points aren't left, then the dormice can get stuck in one part of the wood, as they generally only travel in the trees, not along the ground. We've never actually seen a dormouse in the wood, but we've been told to assume they are there, because they probably are.

We been able to put some of what we learned on the coppice harvesting course into practice today, using our shiny new 3-tonne (overkill perhaps? Or just planning ahead...) slings to hold up benches:
although sometimes the banks of the path plus a coppice stool or log pile get the bench high enough on their own, as below, where I've just snedded a tree felled onto the bench.
The whole point of this is to keep the tree at a comfortable height for working without having to bend over, and also avoids the risk of the chainsaw touching the ground, which can blunt it pretty quickly.

Anyway, that's all for now. We're at a wedding tomorrow, so won't be up at the wood. Sunday looks like the weather may be "interesting", in which case we might go to the wood to take some pictures, but probably not to work. Monday we'll be back to coppicing again :-)


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