A mobile sawmill has been set up at Fingle Woods to demonstrate how local logs can be processed into accurately sawn timber sections. In days gone by there was a sawmill operating at Clifford Shed and this new development has shown the potential for how local businesses could again source timber, cut to their specifications, straight from the woodland gate. The light weight mobile sawmill has been cutting a range of hardwoods from oak to sweet chestnut and softwoods including spruce, douglas fir and the fragrant western red cedar. With a 20” circular blade the Peterson WPF has the capacity to cut up to 8” wide boards with one pass then doubling that to 16” widths on the return pass. This size range is suitable for many structural timbers and large fencing jobs down to the smaller panels for nest boxes which will all be useful for the Woodland Trust and National Trust in their restoration work at Fingle.
With the help of National Trust volunteers Rob and Chris, Jim White of White Wood Management has been running this demonstration to show how straightforward it is to produce good quality timber as a by-product of the conservation management of Fingle Woods. He said “It’s a positive solution for all concerned as it provides local businesses with the timber produce they need while keeping transport costs to a minimum and reducing overall carbon emissions”. All the offcuts from the process can also be used as firewood logs and biomass fuel so there won’t be any waste. “It’s also been a great training opportunity for Jack, my apprentice” Jim added. The gradual removal of timber from Fingle Woods as part of the ancient woodland restoration should provide many years of supply.
If you are interested in local softwood and hardwood timber from Fingle Woods contact Dave Rickwood of the Woodland Trust on DavidRickwood@woodlandtrust.org.uk
Words and images by Matt Parkins