Yogi & Bruce have been working with the harvester & forwarder at Barlavington for the last could of months, interspersed with visits from Dave & Paul for spraying & hand felling work.
There has been a substantial volume of logs extracted which means a lot of round timber lorry traffic. The roads have stood up pretty well, with some improvement taking place as a matter of course.
I’ve been tracking activity in the evenings throughout this beautiful summer we’ve had, which has been an absolute pleasure. Now autumn is here and the work is nearly done.
Here is the start of the picture gallery, I’ll add more over the coming weeks…
These woods were so dark when I first visited.
Inside the 60ft wall of green was a dark, still space with no signs of life. Slowly the harvester made it’s way down avenues between compartments widening them until the woodland-scape really started to change. The few signs of life were mosses and ferns that had grown up in little spots of sunlight where windlblown trees had created breaks in the canopy.
Amidst the harvesting and felling operations is quite a mine of wood material for a wood geek like me. If only I’d bee able to fit logs and lumps of wood in my pockets!
Instead the lop and top gets left on the ground where, I notice, it quickly starts to dry and crumble back into the soil. Freshly cut it sits in puffed up piles and then only a week later it’s deflated and flattened to the ground. A bit of stomping around from a few foresters (and some local deer) and soon we won’t notice it’s even there.
We’ll wait to see if the stumps will be ground and mulched or not. I suppose it will depend on the management plan and what’s next for these compartments that have been so long in plantation growing.
Something that’s really hard to miss, even driving past, is the scent the air when harvesting in progress.
The burnt caramel smell of Pine woods in the heat of summer has always been on of my favourite smells but this amazingly perfumed air is completely new to me, not withstanding the infrequent trimming of a neighbours leylandii every couple of years!
Having been along in the early evenings when Bruce & Yogi & Dave & Paul have departed for their suppers I have been hit with the most incredible air full of fresh tree perfumes.It’s so varied, each tree species having it’s own distinctive scent so you know, even if there are no standing trees or logs left on the floor, what has been felled that day or few days. It’s quite addictive!
I have a sort of craving for it now, so on a sunny evening I find myself heading toward Barlavington just to breathe in the last of the perfumes from the drying lop and top as it lays in the evening sun.
You have to give it a try, it’ll clear the sinuses if nothing else!
There’s something very pleasing about logs stacks. They’re become quite an interior feature if design journals are anything to go by.
Ours may be a little less glamorous but they’re definitely the real deal. This is serious stuff. These stacks are created depending on spec of the logs felled, customer requirements, volumes that can be loaded on to now lorry etc. It’s not just piled up willy nilly!
It’s Bruce’s job, with the forwarder, to stack depending on spec and between him & Yogi they’re getting the stacks ready for incoming lorries to collect. Bruce is also around ig the lorry has no grab, to load up and get the driver on their way.
It’s still amazing to me that these lumbering 45 tonne lorries can make their way through these forests roads, turn around, load and go in less than an hour sometimes! Yet another skill that could well be taken for granted. Thank goodness there seems to be enough work to keep these crucial vehicle operators going at the moment.
I met one them late on evening as he had just arrived to park up for the night. A lovely man that was getting ready to cook his camp supper and then spend the evening in the woods with the owls. He told me how much he enjoyed that part of his work (not so much the 3 hours stop at the side of the road to fix a puncture earlier!) visiting forests all over the UK and sleeping out with nature. I have to admit I was a little jealous. Although not so much when he explained he’d be off at 5 or so in the morning after Bruce had arrived to load him up. These guys get up at dawn! That’s a little beyond me right now not matter how attractive it sounds…
The larger diameter conifers were cut by Dave and Paul, chainsaws in hand. You cane see the very tidy base cuts shaping up before felling, and then all the branches being trimmed away to leave a clean straight log at which point the guys will decide what lengths to cut depending on what the timber can be used for.
By the look of their work I think they really enjoy this job, and when you look at what they’ve done it must be very satisfying. Possibly preferable to being inside a spray suit on an 80 degree summers day? I think I might have hit on something there…
So there we are, beautiful trees, now beautiful logs, soon beautiful wood? I wish, but I don’t suppose I’ll ever know.
Would you like advice on your woodland? Ask Tom or Andy for a consultation
Watch this short film on the Good Woods project funded by B&Q, set up to help woodland owners thinking about managing their woodland
And here’s another film about Grown in Britain that explains why woodlands are so important to us all