November 3rd was the designated afternoon for a gathering of members of the Small Woods Association who were interested to see what we were up to in the woods, in terms of woodland management!
The previous owner, James Pease, delivered a brief history – no mean feat as the wood has history going back to the 13oo’s. The wood was originally established as a Ladies Deer Park; theme parks seem to have been around for a while.
Before the group crossed the fields to the wood Phil Tidey, from the Small Woods Association, sprayed the under-soles of everyones footwear. The reasons for this is to stop possible cross-contamination either trodden into or out of the wood.
Woodland management plan
Gerald Collini, woodland owner, talked the group through the various stages that will take place in the next 4 years, as set out in the woodland management plan agreed with the Forestry Commission.
In addition to felling of trees, to let in more light and encourage bird nesting, there is considerable work ahead. Keeping the deer from damaging new trees that have been and will be planted, is going to be an ongoing task requiring a variety of measure. The height of tree planting tubes will be increased from 1.2 to 1.5 metres to better protect the young trees from the attentions of Fallow deer which pass through on their way to larger woods on the western side.
The age of trees in the wood is generally about 70 years, most of the wood having been felled around the time of the second world war. There are a few ancient Oaks, but the majority of the trees are Ash and Hazel that shows evidence of having been coppiced. There are even a few ancient coppice stools to be seen. There was quite a bit of discussion about the best heigh to coppice these older trees. It was felt that if they were cut back too hard they would have difficulty regenerating. We’ll have to experiment.