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Newcomers from West Wales

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Newcomers from West Wales

Postby Andy & Heather » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:01 pm

We recently purchased a small ‘woodland’ near Lampeter. Maybe a better description would be, ‘6 acres of tree-stumps and furrows left behind after the conifer crop was harvested about 10 years ago’! The only trees really left standing after the harvesting operation were in an overgrown hedge along one boundary, a few solitary spindly birch, a handful of misshapen conifers and some alder and willow coppice down by the river. Thanks to the hedge, natural regeneration has been good and there are now a few acres of well established birch along with the occasional rowan, oak, ash, willow, hazel and holly.

It is not what we set out to buy 5 years ago, but we love it: especially the bit down by the river. Back then I was dreaming of a woodland like the one in my childhood: wonderful mature climbing trees, huge veteran pollards that were large enough for me to hide in the centre, and of course the self-seeded plum and apple trees. My husband meanwhile was looking for good timber for furniture making. It didn’t take us too long to realise that that sort of wood is unlikely to exist in hilly West Wales – and if it did – it would be out of our price range. Most of the woods in our area are conifer plantations on steep valley sides. So we continued to search, but the time was not wasted. The more woods we looked at, the more we realised what was important to us and what we could do without.

In the end, access became the main consideration. We had seen too many woods that would require us having to buy a 4x4, so adding to the cost and also limiting our ability to share it with friends. It also became apparent that most woodlands are inaccessible/or unsafe to 2 of our children, because of their disabilities. And so was born a new dream – to create a woodland that was accessible to blind people and those with limited mobility, which we could share with other families (or schools) with disabled children/adults. We know that we want to keep it a private woodland and it may be that the public liability situation will restrict it to just a few families/schools we know rather than anything more organised.

And so the adventure begins ... It seems most of the information out there deals with managing neglected woodland or conifer plantations – not managing a clear felled site with natural regeneration – so if anyone knows where we can find some more information it would be really helpful. Do you just wait for all the tree stumps to rot in situ? What about the furrows? Also, if anyone has any experience about making woodlands more accessible to those with sight loss or limited mobility, then we would love to hear from you.

Looking forward to learning from the experience of those who have gone before. So far we have enjoyed picnics/fires, seen owls and a kingfisher, felled a few overgrown willow coppice stools (after my husband attended a 5 day chainsaw course) and built a bridge. Now we are considering the best layout for tracks and doing a small area of planting by the river to try and slow down bank erosion. Andy & Heather
Andy & Heather
 
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:59 am

Re: Newcomers from West Wales

Postby Rich » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:57 pm

Hello Andy and Heather,
Welcome to the forum, and good luck with the regeneration. I think you'll find it easiest to let nature take it's course with the stumps! There was some discussion on here recently about removing them cleaning them up for selling, but it sounds like your's are conifer which will rot away much quicker.
My sister works with deaf and blind people, I will see if she has any suggestions.
Have fun!
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Rich
 
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