Weather by Jonathan Plowe, Forestry Manager

Although, on the one hand, it would be nice to have warm weather all year round we wouldn’t have the wonderful countryside we do have without the changes in the weather. Wild animals, trees and insects all rely of the annual changes in day length and weather to perform their part of a functioning ecology. Although the temperature is falling it’s still mild, but the dry spell has defi nitely broken with brooks with rivers fi lled to bursting and no sign of it settling down. Thankfully we fi nished all our timber harvesting a few weeks ago as heavy machinery on wet soils can cause lasting damage to woodland soils. The soil and what it contains (especially fungi) is as important, if not more so, than trees that grow on it.

We are now preparing the harvested sites for replanting by clearing drains, fi xing roads and laying out fences. We try to keep the impact to the woodland as low as possible, but the advent of Ash Die Back means that we have had to act on a larger scale than we normally would. However, the recovery can be surprisingly quick. The areas we replanted four years ago are now fi lled with trees up the 3m high, and soon we will be planning the removal the fences when the majority of the trees are out of the reach of hungry deer.

One unexpected bonus of the more open aspect of the woodland has been presence of Nightjars, a very uncommon bird. If you don’t know what they sound like look it up, it’s a very strange noise to hear at dusk in a wood.

I’m already planning next years timber harvest. This entails looking at which areas of the woodland need thinning, what measures we need to take to protect the wildlife (badger setts, etc.), where we will stack the timber and how to get large lorries into the wood to load the timber. All the while trying to balance the demands of the fi rewood and wood chip businesses with the sustainable management. As a general rule, we thin an area of woodland once every 10-15 years; this is often the reason why people are surprised when an area that they have known as unchanging (although I appreciate change from year to year) for several years is suddenly a hive of activity with big machines and trees crashing down. The key here is the time and spacial scale we look at things as foresters. We are doing this every year, but as much as possible for ecological reasons, we keep each years work as separated as we can and so you may think nothing is going on, but we are literally still beavering away!

We still have plenty of fi rewood in stock and delivery times have eased a bit, although the largest size of logs has nearly sold out. Please go to our website to order and thank you for your continued custom. 

Boughton Estates Woodlands January 2023