Fingle Woods has been alive with productive activity today. Teams of volunteers from both the Woodland Trust and the National Trust were working hard around the woods on a variety of tasks on a sunny winter morning.
Dylan and his chainsaw volunteers were cutting self-seeded conifers from a patch of woody scrubland near Mardon Down.
The forestry machines have been at work in the neighbouring plantation and their commercial scale methods would not be suitable to extract individual trees. Though (as the photo shows) they can process large volumes of timber but the potential for ground disturbance makes it an unsuitable method for single trees – which is where the volunteers have the advantage.
Around the sawmill shed on Clifford hill the rest of the volunteers were busy clearing brash from the woodland edges on either side of the gateway. Previous ground flora surveys have shown that remnants of ancient woodland plants still hang on along these edges and this intervention will give the wildflowers, ferns and shrubs a better chance of recovery.
By Clifford shed itself, a mobile sawmill has been set up to process some of the Fingle timber into usable products.
Local timber supplier, Mark Snellgrove was working his Wood Mizer band saw to mill some material for a National Trust wood store. The volunteers were helping Mark to load and unload the machine, stacking the milled timber ready for transport off site.
Words and images by Matt Parkins