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woman in woodland wearing wellingtons, waterproof jacket and trousers

Making the most of yourself!

Wet woodland in January

Despite pouring rain we decided to have a walk around the wood to consider various aspects to do with future management.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit” is one of Gerald’s favourite sayings, being the outdoorsy type of person he has always been.

I, on the other hand, am a bit of a fair-weather outdoors person, but that is changing! The kit may not be my size, but it’s a bonus in wet woodland in January, keeping me warm and dry.

Although the weather didn’t seem to lend itself to walking around the wood, the opposite was the case with the rain providing many clues about prioritising future work.

Unwanted woodland visitors

The first thing we considered was the boundary hedge, or lack of it in places, which meant deer were free to enter as unwanted woodland visitors.

woodland floor, ditch and field beyond showing deer track

Path made by deer for accessing wood

Different areas were going to require a variety of solutions to keep the deer out, whether by using manufactured deer fencing or by using the existing trees and plants to lay a hedge.

broken down hedgerow by deer entering wood from field

example of simple hedge laying and the large woodlands nearby that hold many Fallow deer

Diverting water from woodland tracks

Along the main ride, where the ditches have been recently dug, it was good to see them performing the function they should, namely diverting water from woodland tracks.
muddy water flowing along recently dug ditch alongside woodland track

We’ve had a small pond dug out at the lowest point in the middle of the wood which is fed by the ditches. It was great to see it working so well on a day like today.

muddy water flowing along ditches into pond in the distance

woodland engineering

January splash of colour

Despite the rain and the mud, there were still some lovely things to see and appreciate in the wood on the 1st day of the year. The first January splash of colour I found were several examples of  bright orange fungi growing on the trunk of a tree.

orange bracket type fungus growing on tree trunk

I found something similar, on a log that had fallen or been felled, deeper in the wood. On closer examination it wasn’t the same species of fungi, but the bright orange colour made it easy to spot amongst the dead and decaying leaf litter on the woodland floor.

orange bracket fungus growing on chopped log of wood

Promise of Spring

However, my favourite find of the day was the catkins growing over the muddy track, alongside the high-tower. Little tiny promises of Spring, not too far away.

view along woodland ride showing contrast between muddy track and stone roadway

view along newly constructed woodland roadway

The coupes in the background, behind the tower, are the ones for attention in the early stages of restoring the coppicing.The canopy will be opened by felling selectively to leave about 40% of the present cover .

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