Harvesting at Barlavington

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…

Barlavington Estate tall and straightBarlavington Estate grown straight in deep plantationBarlavington Estate cleared vs plantationBarlavington Estate lop and top qucikly driesBarlavington Estate lop and top on the floorBarlavington Estate like rooms and awllsBarlavington Estate very british columbia-esqueBarlavington Estate2sun's going down through beechharvester working on a treeharvester cutting a treeBarlavington Estate wheelbarrowBarlavington Estate dark at teh backBarlavington Estate the thinning is making improvementBarlavington Estate conifersBarlavington Estate windblown treesBarlavington Estate conifers to be felled

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.

Barlavington Estate the break between two comparmtnes where one species is being clearedBarlavington Estate deep dark woodsBarlavington Estate like rooms and awllsBarlavington Estate these ones will be giant one day_Barlavington Estate pine conesBarlavington Estate harvesting multiple compartmentsBarlavington Estate harvesting.Barlavington Estate to be stackecBarlavington Estate the winter storms brought down treesBarlavington confiers still standingBarlavington Estate stump. indicates healthBarlavington Estate logs waiting to be forarded

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.

Barlavington Estate070814_271Barlavington Estate clearedBarlavington EstateBarlavington Estate there's not lot alive in hereBarlavington Estate fir leavesBarlavington Estate.at sunsetBarlavington Estate logs already cut, trees to be felledBarlavington Estate the valmet marked up with Yogi's logo!Barlavington Estate sleeping Valmet harvester2Barlavington Estate such a clean fellBarlavington Estate what was tree is now wood productBarlavington Estate conifer seedBarlavington Estate the stump at fellingBarlavington Estate dried branchesBarlavington Estate hand felling and cleaning up lop and topBarlavington Estate a bit of thinning and the light gets through

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!

Barlavington Estate mid fell, the ground is covered in lop and topBarlavington Estate harvesting continues as the sun goes downBarlavington Estate at sunsetBarlavington Estate Sunset through the silver birchBarlavington Estate i've got a picture of no 22 standing here somewhereBarlavington Estate oak no 21 standingBarlavington Estate oak thinningBarlavington Estate oak mid clear upBarlavington Estate just felled waiting to be cleaned up tomorrowBarlavington Estate oak lop and top awating stackingBarlavington Estate oak lop and topBarlavington Estate oak logs with sun streaming through trees behindBarlavington Estate sleeping harvesterBarlavington Estate thinngina dn clearing is underwayBarlavington Estate do not climbBarlavington Estate larger diameter log stack

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.

Barlavington Estate anther log stackBarlavington Estate conifer logs stacked to be shipped outBarlavington Estate logs stacked for lorryBarlavington Estate log detailBarlavington Estate woodBarlavington Estate logsBarlavington Estate larger diameter logsBarlavington Estate  a cord logstackforestr road improvements at barlavingtonharvester forwarder teamthe forwarder and harvester workingBarlavington Estate signage in placeBarlavington Estate so many trees so littel timeBarlavington Estate log staacks in the sunlightBarlavington Estate more logs at barlavingtonRound Timber Lorry at Barlavington

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…

Barlavington Estateanother hand fellBarlavington Estate220814_611Barlavington Estate stump left for me to play withBarlavington Estate raw woodBarlavington Estate this is what you call clean cutsBarlavington Estate very clean hand felling by dave & paulBarlavington Estate hand felling means hand cleanng lop and topBarlavington Estate stump leftBarlavington Estate cultural stump sections againBarlavington Estate bige trees need hand fellingBarlavington Estate more hand felling of large diameter treesBarlavington Estate some of the lrge trees need hand felling

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.

 

More

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

Does looking at forest operations inspire you to be a forester? Well don’t just sit there, get on a course at Sparsholt, Plumpton or Bangor !

On what we do with wood

How to distill your own perfume from wood at Instructables … careful it’s addictive 🙂

 

Posted on September 13th 2014 under Forestry, Management, Operations, Timber, Tom Compton. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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