Sunday, 16 November 2008

A walk around a different wood

This afternoon we went to visit our friends Rod and Heather in their wood, about 10 miles from us. We went on the electric bikes, being cheaper than going by car and also enjoyable, riding through the countryside.

It's always interesting visiting other woods, as you often get ideas and learn about things you never see in your own wood. Every wood is different, in terms of fauna & flora, geography, hydrography, history and especially what the owner plans to do with it. There are many ways to manage a wood. Some people focus on producing timber, some on firewood and logs, some on biodiversity and others on keeping game. All are valid, and not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Rod and Heather's wood looks somewhat like ours at certain points:
But at other points they are completely different!
The pond in the picture above is actually formed by a pit left by ancient mining operations, according to the archaeologist they've had to visit them.

I was particularly interested to see what had happened to some piles of logs that had been left there for years:
The piles looked like they should have been collected, being stacked at ride-side, but had been forgotten and now have become wildlife sanctuaries. We've left some similar piles in our own wood, some deliberately, and some because we never got round to using them, and probably won't, so it was nice to see how they might look in years to come.

We also saw why squirrel control can be a good thing. Rod and Heather have been plagued by squirrels, with the result that the few dozen young oak trees they had are now severely damaged:
Some of the oaks that have been attacked will survive in a stunted form, others won't make it. The squirrels had attacked many other trees too, going back several years by the look of it.

Some of them had become good dead wood habitats, with a range of fungi growing on them:
However, I'm not sure if this makes up for the fact that a whole generation of oaks across several acres have been damaged...

We saw an interesting feature in one dead tree though - holes made by a woodpecker:
To finish, here's a great little stove that Rod had made:
The base is a cylinder liner from a ferry engine, the top used to have a damper valve in it, and various bits have been welded on to make a chimney.
You fuel it through the top and then put the hot plate on.
Air comes in at the bottom, made possible by resting the stove on a few small stones. That's all for this weekend. I'm really looking forward to Friday - a chance to get back into our own wood and make some serious progress widening the rides to make the wildlife corridors.


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