A year in Boughton Estates Woodlands
by Jonathan Plowe, Forestry Manager
This time last year we were just gearing up
to fell areas of diseased ash trees in Grafton
Park wood; unfortunately there is no known
cure, and they quickly become dangerous or
decay meaning that felling is the only viable
option. We left the big old oak trees where
possible, and at least one pair of red kites
took advantage to nest in them. Later in the
year, we replanted the areas with 40,000
trees, but it was the wettest winter I have
known, making it a very unpleasant job for
the contractors.

We have been encouraging wildlife groups
to come into the woods and undertake
species record ing. This has shown a big
increase in butterfl ies in Geddington Chase,
which may be due to increase in open
ground as a result of the recent felling, or
the warmer summers, we don’t really know,
but let us hope it continues. We are also
looking to convert some of the abandoned
air-raid shelters on the old airfi eld to homes
for bats. Badgers continue to increase in
the woodlands, and this time of year the
youngsters can be seen playing around
outside their dens, but you have to get up
early, or stay up late to see them! I often
come across adult badgers ‘doing the
rounds’ and I’m always surprised at how
much noise they make as they snuffl e
around for food.

The resident fallow deer have their young
bouncing around as youngsters do, although
again you will have to be up early or late to
really get a good view of them. You may
also see another species of deer, roe,
which is becoming increasingly common
on the estate. I have also had reports of
red deer being seen. As nice as it is too
see the deer, they are the reason for the
hundreds of metres of wire fencing we have
to put up around replanted sites to protect
the young trees from being eaten. It has
been a balancing act as long as we have
had woods.

One other important job over the past
year has been to restock the sheds with
fi rewood for the forthcoming season. After
customer feed-back from last year, we will
now be selling three sizes of logs to suit,
from the smaller log burner through to the
largest, and we have managed to keep the
price to the same as last year. By buying
our fi rewood you are supporting local
woodland management and getting a fully
sustainable product that is free from any
form of packaging and hasn’t been shipped
half way across Europe. Go to our website
for full details on sizes, prices and delivery


Boughton House September/October 2020