Although February has only just begun as I write this the weather is a balmy 12 degrees, such a difference from a few weeks ago. The change in temperature and lengthening days have persuaded some birds that it’s time to start singing again. Although so joyful for us to hear, it’s a deadly serious business for the birds, as its part of the hard work of securing territory and a mate. If the weather stays kind, then all their work will be rewarded with best pickings of newly emerged insects to feed their young, but it’s a big risk, as if the weather turns there will not be enough food and the young might not survive.

The estate can appreciate the challenges nature can have and so where we can, through our woodland management, the forestry team mitigates against such risks 16 to the ecology by carefully planned woodland management. We try to provide as much habitat diversity and quantity as we can, while still keeping the woodland fi nancially viable. This includes, extra ponds being dug, grass rides being left unmown to create habitat and food for the winter, leaving standing and fallen dead trees, planting area of non-commercial native tree species, avoiding timber harvesting operations during the breeding season, etc. This sort of work is very rewarding, as nature will usually grab any opportunity you give it and pay you back many times over with beautiful spaces.

My planning for next years fi rewood sales is also spurred on by the weather changes, and areas of woodland have already identifi ed to be thinned out later in the year to provide timber for fi rewood. I have also had to rethink the storage arrangements for our various sizes of logs. You may have noticed that we have already sold out of the largest and smallest sizes of log, their popularity unexpectedly increasing this year, as a result I am investing in greater storage capacity for these sizes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean we will have a greater volume of fi rewood to sell (we can only sell what we can sustainably harvest from our woodland) but, more customers should be able to get their fi rst choice of log size next year. Please go to our website for further information on Boughton Estates woodland and to order firewood.

Sustainable Woodland Management