Some more work in the woods

April meant more tidying up of the woodland and the rides, dealing with some fallen trees and starting to demarcate the rides and paths and accesses!

   

                                 

Also we have not killed off the hedge by laying!!!!!!! Hurrah!!!! And we have some more wood for the wood piles!!!

Starting work in the woods

James and I finished off the hedge laying and started a woodland entrance…. 

We seem to start work and more bits appear!!!!

We have a downed ash to chop up and some blackthorns to chop up to make steps…. Oh and reams more of the damn black plastic and more tyres!!!! Oh and it looks like big field and woodlands may have once been seep rated by a fence!!! Now just a bit of wire grown into a tree!!!

                   

Back through the woods… The woodland part three

Once we had managed to make it down to the stream we had to climb all the way back up!!! However we found that the old coppice paths still were visible through the woodland and they, other than the occasional blockage allowed for us to clamber back up somewhat more easily!!! Well definitely more easily than I had slid down the slope!! So we have discovered another to do job for our list and that is reinstate all the old coppice paths, which will mean chainsawing a few fallen trees, reinstating some areas of eroded path, by hammering in poles to hold back the earth etc!!! 

On our way back we found balls of moss hanging in the trees…..



Some interesting lichens…



Bog plants towards the base of the slopes….



A lot of fallen branches, moss and some bluebell shots, which is good as the sheep in the big field have now moved out for a while so they won’t be munching away at them!!! Like last year!!



Some strange hairy mosses….

And areas where the dead could come out and allow for some natural regeneration!







Then we discovered the scarlet elf cups!!!! I have never seen these before and had only been introduced to them a week previous when a friend of mine had photographed them and put them on twitter!! But yes here they are in the flesh!!



Then we discovered or rediscovered the badger sett, which looks like it’s got residents in comparison to the last time!! Plus we have some scrape marks in the field!!



More elf cups and some general stills of the woodland ….







Ooo looks a fire pit on the other side of the river bank!!!! Slightly jealous feeling now!!! We have to get the paths to  the stream reinstated!!!



Then we found a bottle and bucket dump!!!! Lots of old bottles to be cleared up!!  This adds to the old cooker and some old metal work we found the first time we walked  through the woods last year!! 





So….. LOTS  of woodland work to be done!!!

But we should see some good results…. Reinstating the old paths, restarting the old coppice cycle, adding more woodland on the steeper field slopes, creating more wildlife habitats with piles of dead wood, nesting boxes for owls, bats and other birdlife, clearing up the rubbish left a generation ago, building a forest school….. And that’s only on the woodland segment we own behind the fields, we have yet to start on the woodland behind the second rough pasture and down to the mill at the bottom of the hill!!! We have probably only covered half of our nine acres of woodland thus far!!! Though some of the other parts get a bit steep, removing wood for our burners may only happen if we learn to abseil!!! And abseil whilst holding onto whole trees!!

Down to the stream…. The woodland part two

So…. We decided to clamber (ok for me slide down on my arse) down to the stream which is our boundary with the neighbours across the valley.





Down and down we went….. Things got more mossy, damper, warmer, more ferns appeared on the ground….





Then the woodland opened up for the stream….





Our beautiful stream!!!! Clumps of snowdrops…. Pebbles and rocks…. And just beautiful, if a bit boggy round the edges!!!

The woodland part one!

James and I decided that the other weekend was a good time to start surveying the woodland.  So we togged up and off we went with paper, books and camera in hand!!! 





We went into the woodland from the furthest corner of big field….

And we worked our way down through the woodland a way noting hazel, and oak trees and an occasional ash.  We need to sort out our boundary line in the woodland as the old banked hedged section has fallen into disrepair and there is evidence that sheep have been going back and forth between us and our neighbour.  

We have some strangely knarled trees…





The second one looks like there is an old face in the nook!

And we have a lot of holes in the bank!!





Bunnies?

We have a glade area almost here which might service brilliantly as a forest school area for the the fire circle etc!!





There were some lovely fungi and some celandines and other ground flora starting to poke through too.





We mapped out this section of woodland carefully and then decided to slither and slide our way down to the stream which is our bottom boundary.

Forest school

I have been really lucky recently and have been allowed to attend a forest schools leader training course!!! So much fun and it’s going to be amazing for my class to access and beyond in school!!! I am going to set up a forest schools area on the farm, as we have an established area at school, so my establishment module with its management plans etc is mainly going to be set at the farm!! But anyway the course…..

We had theory…..

We had games…..

But then we had lit fires…..



Lit Kelly kettles….



Shelter tarps rigged into shelters which withstood the wind and the rain and the hail!!!



We learnt knot tying… Square lashing, frapping, clove hitches, two round turns and half hitches etc…..



We made pictures about the structure of the woodland…..



And started to name and label bits of trees and woodland flora we found!!!!



As I said so much fun… But it’s going to be a LOT of work over the next few months….. But I am still REALLY excited and can’t wait to start using our school forest schools area and also weirdly excited to be looking at my own woodland and developing management plans and the site!!!! Even though it seems to mean mapping the whole nine acres!!!! I may be in the woods a while for that one!! I hope the ordinance survey shows up how steep some of it is in large enough forms too…. Abseiling forest school anyone?!?  

Starting to look like we are winning

Over the weekend we were back at the farm and I went hell for leather with the hedge cutters (although I am paying for it now with a poorly bad hand and wrist) The orchard field is basically now cleared other than some brambles which Mum is coming to help pick clean next weekend!! I shall probably follow her with the hedge cutters to complete the hack down once all the juicy goodness is bagged and tagged!!!

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We are starting to get some tantalising peeks into this section of woodland which we have not seen yet and we have found fencing!!! Yes fencing along the edge of the woods before they expanded over the fence!! James spent most of the weekend taking down the shambolic fencing at the top by the slurry pit bank and we have now cleared the back of the bank which means of course we have found more dumped metal work in the form of a gate and something else!! We shall see what that is when we pull it out!!

Our lovely farmer who rents our fields popped by to give us some advice on the slurry pit mess and see if he could help!! We now definitely need a digger to come to the farm to dig a channel through the bank to allow the pit to drain…. Spreading the muck on the fields is not advisable due to the amount of seeds and what not contained within!! So draining and spraying and digging out the weeds is going to be the name of the game!! But we have plenty of work for a digger to do with levelling the rest of the pit and excavating the rocks (basically lobbing them over the wall of the pit to create a complete bank all the way around!) muck heaps to be moved and everything!!