The summer came and went, and unable to drive for 3-4 weeks and with my daughter working away for weeks at a time, I barely got to the wood. But we did have some time in the Forest of Dean, which we hadn’t been to since the children were young. It was lovely, but I have to say that we looked at it with new, and maybe slightly more knowledgeable, eyes this time.
More recently I have been getting to the wood more often, detouring there on the way home from work, visiting at weekends and generally enjoying the unseasonal good weather. In fact several people asked me if the wood was looking beautifully autumnal, and it really wasn’t, there were still butterflies flitting about! Like the comma above. Apart from the sickly chestnuts in a nearby plot , everything else was pretty slow to colour up this year. We also seemed to have very few fungi until last week, when suddenly they were all over the place.
We’ve survived the extreme winds pretty well. The oak crown which was hanging upside down, which I described here , finally came down. A medium sized ash came down, and a large one came down across the boundary of our plot and our neighbour John’s. Whilst taking a closer look at it I discovered this nest, barely a metre off the ground.
Our contact at Natural England has been drawing up new management plans for the wood because it is SSSI protected, I think everybody was working (or not) to out of date plans. We received the first draft of the management plan for our plot at the beginning of October. We made comments, corrected a few things and sent it back, now we are looking forward to getting the finished version to sign. It is so nice to have it confirmed that everything we’ve been doing is right. We were really just muddling through a few years ago. Now we look at the work we did then very critically.
I have been going to the wood and bringing home sacks of logs for the stoves over the last month. The log-store is now full again. It was all wood we had cut and stacked on the first plot we coppiced. There is something very satisfying about this, knowing that in 9 years time we shall be able to repeat the whole process, hopefully both benefitting the woodland environment and providing logs for the log-store again.
Last weekend my daughter and I went to the wood on another warm, sunny day, and we marked up the plot which we will be coppicing this winter. This will be plot No. 4 of 12. Now we just have to wait for the leaves to fall from the hazel and coppicing will be able to commence.
I’m not very good at just waiting.