Saturday 5 December 2020

Felling Hornbeam and a Dusting of Snow

It's getting a bit colder here now, and there was actually a dusting of snow in the woods when I was there yesterday:

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Of course, this is nothing compared to what was there 10 years ago! And it's also a far cry from the jungle we faced here back in September:


The main job during November was felling this row of Hornbeam, which included multiple stems on a couple of stools - presumably a seriously overgrown hedge from many years ago. They border a garden, and we were wary that they might fall the wrong way in a storm, so we felt it was best to coppice them. Maybe we'll get a nice hedge here in future...

We used the Tirfor winch on most of them, which you can see here, attached as far up the tree as I could get it using a ladder:


Here's a view from the other end of the steel rope, courtesy of my friend Ben, who was helping that day. As you can see, we had the rope running through a pully to offset the winch a bit.


Trees like this always take up much more space on the ground than you'd think they would, but at least Hornbeam is easier to clear up than Holly!

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Over the course of a couple of days we progressed along the row, with help from Kitty and Dominic as well as Ben, until we reached the final stem. This was one of the taller ones, and also leaned in the wrong direction and over a neighbour's garage!

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So, the winch was of course used again, and this time with a pulley attached to the tree to increase the effective power of the winch:

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After a bit of work with the chainsaw and the winch it was safely down, with no damage to the fence behind it:

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Although much of the Hornbeam will be used for firewood (and it is really good firewood!), the butts of a couple of the stems have gone to Dengate's Farm Still, as David Dengate is busy turning bowls, and after some seasoning that's what these lumps will be used for. The image below shows two sections split in half to reduce cracking while they dry. It also made it possible to move them, as they were far too heavy to lift on my own in once piece!

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We still have three more big trees to come down (Holly, Sweet Chestnut and Sycamore) and some more coppice to cut, so there'll be more news to follow in due course....


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