Update of what is happening in Beatons Wood
I rate August as the halfway month in the Wood, as next month the leaves start to fall, then it gets progressively colder each month, until early March when we expect to see the first signs of spring. New bramble shoots that I have been removing for the last three months still keep appearing, as seen in the image, but if I am lucky some have long surface roots, which once removed ensures they won’t appear next year! Scrabbling around on my hands and knees is the only way to ensure the bramble roots are removed! Not only can I enjoy that unique peace and quiet of an ancient oak wood, but see at first hand the myriad of creepy crawlies that appear to live in the top layer of the forest floor, the larger ones I have noticed include ants, various beetles, spiders, worms, and even frogs and toads.
The hornbeam wood left in piles from the coppicing carried out last winter, had to be left in situ as the ground was so wet, but now the bluebells have finished and the ground is quite hard it can now be removed.
A contractor with his specialist equipment is making it look easy when lifting up the cut timber and we estimate he has removed 60 tons from the Wood and stacking it outside on a hard surface, where it can be cut up into logs over the winter months.
Most of the piles of toppings have been moved and put on a bonfire in field outside the Wood, as we did not want to scorch the growing trees nor kill off the bluebells and wood anemones, plus the various
creatures that have made their home in the forest floor. Some piles
are in places where it was difficult for machinery to reach, so they will be left as a haven for various birds and mammals, slowly rotting down over the next 10 years or so, whilst adding more organic matter to the forest floor.
Along the easterly edge of the Wood some years ago we fenced off a strip of land about 2 metres wide from the adjacent field, which left to nature was quickly colonized with brambles, nettles, weed grasses and bracken which has mostly been removed. The next task is to have the overhanging branches cut back to the Wood edge, but government regulations restrict any cutting of agricultural hedges until the beginning of September, so once that is done we will scarify the ground and sow low growing wild flowers which hopefully can be seen growing at next year’s Bluebell Walk.
A regular visitor and others said they were wary, as there were cows in fields over which the River and Green Walks traverse, could they not be kept out of those fields. I wrote to say that these cows belonged to my neighbour who kindly allows us to use his land for the farm walks, which adds diversity to visitors coming to visit the Bluebell Walk. He assures me they are all very docile and has no bull amongst them, but as a working farmer he has to use the fields close to his buildings, as they have to come in for milking twice a day. The difficulty in running the Bluebell Walk that is open for five weeks in early spring when the grass is rapidly growing, that the herd of cows have to be periodically moved to fresh grass, which is sometimes in fields where our visitors are following one of our designated paths. My feeling is that the cows appear to be more interested in the grass they are eating or lying down just ruminating, rather than having any interest in the many visitors they see on a daily basis!
My aim is for it to be posted on the website on Friday 30 September.
This message was added on Saturday 27th August 2016
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