Clear Felling Croft Wood

For many decades the skyline at croft has been tree lined with coniferous species; much of this has been commercial forestry owned by the Forestry Commission who have a lease on about 700 acres of the Croft Estate. The current trend throughout the country is to reduce the amount of conifer and begin to return land to its former status, what we refer to as Ancient Woodland Pasture; prior to WW1 the coniferous trees on the estate at croft would have been the specimen trees, similar to those now standing tall in the Fishpool Valley. In order to achieve this reversal of woodland usage it has taken a considerable amount of negotiation and planning, with a wide range of agencies, before we were at a stage where ‘clear felling’ of the commercial plantations could begin. Croft Wood is the most recent area where this process has been undertaken and the video clip was taken towards the end of the activity; I would hasten to say that it was not the volunteers that undertook this work. However once it had been cleared it was the volunteers that planted out the mixed varieties of broad leaf saplings that we hope will become the woodland pasture of the future.

We were unable to get too close to this amazing piece of equipment that fells, strips the trunk and then cuts the tree into pre determined lengths. The logs are then collected and stacked along the side of the track. If you have been up there walking you will probably seen the piles of pine ready to be taken away. Apologies for the adverts at the end of the video clip but as a beginner at this stuff I’m not yet able to get rid of them.

The video was taken in January 2015 the Photographs show what it looked like in May the same year, pretty desolate. However by May, inside the compartments were the saplings we had planted out in late March (a bit late in the year I know.)

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John Parsons