Saturday, March 18, 2006

Woodland changes

Two summers ago, our dog walking paradise aka East Hoath Woods was radically altered in the name of coppicing.

This is a picture before the massacre. More photo's here.

Where once you strolled along sun dappled paths, virtually overnight you were exposed to the elements after the felling of many mature sweet chestnut and oak trees. It seems such a shame to come across the stumps of what were in effect, healthy and mature guardians of this tiny piece of ancient woodland. History suggests that a lot of the wood was used in the manufacture of Nelson's fleet

Even now, I find it difficult to get my bearings within the wood after great chunks were carved out of it. Some of the familiar paths have been eradicated and replaced by tracks used by the heavy machinery to extract the felled trees. Try telling the bluebells this. For years, nay centuries, the bluebells have been popping up their pretty flowers in the same old place. Some of these places are now right slap bang in the middle of popular pathways and I find myself delicately tip toeing around all the little fresh shoots straining to get out of the earth. I am mortified upon discovering I have flattened another young plant.

Coppicing, I am told, is essential for the healthy continuation of the wood. If the trees are not thinned out occasionally, the woodland can strangle itself and it is difficult for the sunlight to reach the plants striving to survive on the floor. A necessary evil, I suppose.

One good thing that has come out of it. It is easier to see Barney crashing around after squirrels now.

Latest score: Barney 0 Squirrels all the time

I shall try to get a picture of the after effects when out walking tomorrow morning.

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