Having got a track to the wood, suitable for vehicle access, the next step was to provide a processing, turning area ready for when we start the first phase of wood management specified in our Management Plan.
Previous to the arrival of the contractors, we’d cleared an area of small trees which would form the track from the wood entrance to the main ride.
The tree stumps were later removed by the digger, which aptly demonstrated the root-system size of even fairly small trees.
Once large machines start moving around a woodland the ground is soon turned from a surface of leaves to one of mud. A few passes along the planned track to the main ride and the autumn leaf-strewn ground disappeared. We were very lucky with the weather though, despite some forecasts of rain, so at least the mud wasn’t too deep.
Once the ground had been properly dug out on the link from the wood entrance to the main ride, the digger and two dumper trucks started on the ditching on both sides of the rides.
I left the men to their work and returned to base to catch up on my own tasks. The next time I returned the ditches were coming along really well, but it was a bit of a shock to see the state of the woodland ride. No pain, no gain I suppose! Oh, I’m learning a lot about the ways and workings of installing draininage.
At this point the Agent, Rob Stockley, from Lockhart-Garratt paid a visit to inspect the work in progress. Apparently he was very impressed with the high standard of the works in progress and we’ve certainly been extremely pleased with the contractors, LandTech, who have demonstrated an enlightened approach to working in a small woodland environment.
Having walked up to the mid-point in the wood, or rather slithered up to the mid-point in the wood, the full impact of the heavy machinery working on the ride could be ‘appreciated’. Actually, despite the mud it was quite a positive sight and I’m assured the churned up ground will regenerate very quickly. We might even find some new species as a result of the ground disturbances.
Back at bottom, near the wood entrance, the terram had been laid and the stone roadway was beginning to take shape leading to the bottom of the main woodland ride.
Looking back the other way, towards the wood entrance, the gateway/turning area seems to look so large. It’s difficult to remember the tangled woodland area that existed there just a few weeks ago.