Slightly overgrown woods

There’s a fire pit in there somewhere

We’ve been a tad busy at the Beale household recently. Mainly with the housebuild/planning permission episode (another story), deciding to buy a house instead, moving to that house (including the hilarity that ensues when moving from a smallholding with sheep, chickens and barn full of wood/tools/straw into an – admittedly relatively spacious – urban setting) and work taking every other spare moment.

I had every intention of taking August off, or certainly be away from London, but the Olympics, a week long training course there and a new complex project to kick-off removed that option too.

ANYWAY, whilst these were all good things to be happening the lack of time has meant that I’ve been unable to go to the woods since the beginning of spring and that’s really gone against the grain.

Well, I finally carved out some time this week and took a short visit with the kids. I was expecting the bracken to have taken over and it to all be a ‘bit overgrown’ but wasn’t totally prepared for the paths to me impassible and us having to beat our way in with sticks through a carpet of waist high bracken.

A happy Hazel. The chicken wire stopped the rabbits nomming it.

When we got to the middle there was good news. My first coppicing attempt where

I took out well under 1/2 acre of hazel this winter seems to have been successful. 1 stool had no new growth, but it was in a sorry state to begin with, and the rest all were loving the new light and had plenty of new growth.

The floor was covered with green though I couldn’t see much new tree growth but I could see plenty of other pioneer species such as bramble which will hopefully protect any new growth for the next few years until that can properly establish itself.

As you can see in the. first photo above, In the middle where our shelter is was very overgrown too.

With the new house, a set of tools that we bought after poring over the guides from, and our garden – our urban micro holding as we like to think of it – we’ve a lot of new projects vying for our time so whilst I do hope to try and find time to get some more coppicing done this winter the reality may be that I have to leave nature to itself this year. It certainly seems to be doing OK so far.

Finally, a quick illustration of what difference a growing season makes:

January: right after the coppicing
Early April: Bluebells
September: Loving that extra light


2 responses to “Slightly overgrown woods”

  1. Andy Hardy Avatar

    I think what’s needed is for me and Stevie to come up and drive quad-bikes over the bracken really fast, again and again. That’ll help a bit right?

    Yes: we *would* do that for you 🙂

    1. Andy you’re all heart 🙂

      Sounds like a plan, only on the paths mind you. I need to protect that delicate new growth.

      And not forgetting we now live 1 mile from a certain airfield…

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