Autumn in Boughton Estates
by Jonathan Plowe, Forestry Manager

After the summer lull in activities, the woodland
peace has been broken by timber harvesting.
We have a short period of time after the bird
nesting, deer breeding, plant fl owering, etc.
to harvest our timber before the ground gets
too wet to work. Not damaging the ground
structure is as important as looking after the
ecology above ground, as that’s where most
life draws its resources from.

Removal of Ash trees continues to be a major
priority for us, as their rate of decline due to
Chalara, or Ash Die Back, is increasing at a
rate. In a few years’ time they will be too rotten
to sell or dangerous to fell, and large mature
ash trees will become a rarity. However, it will
mean that we will have a lot of dead wood in
the woodland, which is an important habitat for
many species. I was recently watching (at a
distance!) the comings and goings of hornets
from a nest in a hollow tree. In the height of
the summer it’s like a miniature international
airport with the constant comings and goings
on food gathering trips.

We are starting to work up plans for the
replanting of cleared areas, which will mean
somebody will have the considerable job of
planting around 40,000 trees over the winter.
The trees will all be native broadleaves as it
should be on ancient woodland sites.

The fallow deer rut is just starting and you may
hear loud unearthly grunting in the woods, or
even the clash of antlers, as the males seek to
gather up their harem for breeding. This will
carry on for most of October. You should not
approach male deer too close at this time of
year as they can lose their natural instinct to
run and get aggressive instead.

Other creatures, such as squirrels, are very
busy eating and storing as much food as they
can get for the winter and are often seen with
their faces stuffed with acorns bouncing along
the ground. Although badgers don’t store food
they still like to eat whatever they can get their
paws on and are looking very portly as this
time of year.

Thank you to our customers who have driven
up fi rewood sales by nearly 100% over this
time last year; this has caused us the odd
delivery problem and so please bear with us
while we iron out any issues. However, we did
make sure we had plenty in stock and so we
shouldn’t run out.

Boughton House November/December 2020