woodland services

Here are some of the services we offer for managing a woodland and safeguarding its wildlife. We can also give advice for new woodland owners who want to use their woods for leisure. A woodland consultation can be arranged and we will help you get the most out of your woods without disturbing the natural balance that your woodland provides for wildlife and wild flora.

Thinning 20180224_162413
Thinning out a dense, overstood or overplanted woodland to ensure good healthy standard trees. This practice provides more space and light promoting vigorous growth of the trees that remain. A coppice wood can become derelict if overstood for many years and some species like willow, sycamore and rhododendron can take over and crowd out the remaining trees so they become weak and eventually die back. Thinning of these trees with a more aggressive growth habit can help bring a woodland back into condition encouraging new growth of the remaining stock.

Coppicingtree-services_16
Cutting an area of woodland for timber with the aim of letting it regrow for future harvesting. Coppicing has been a method of woodland management for thousands of
years. It ensures healthy new multistem growth and plenty of timber for future use. A well managed coppice woodland can generate timber for hundreds of years and benefit wildlife like butterflies, bees and other insects which in turn benefits all kinds of wildlife right up to the apex predators like owls and buzzards. Not all trees are suitable for coppicing. Hazel, chestnut, ash, willow and oak are just some that were traditionally grown for coppice woodland. A tree which is not deciduous to Britain but thrives as part of a coppice woodland is sycamore, although not everyone’s cup of tea, it does produce good timber and habitat for wildlife. Traditionally used for carving Welsh love spoons! With ash sadly on the decline some are now letting their sycamores grow on as an alternative to produce firewood.

Deadwooding
Although deadwood is essential for the survival of any woodland and a habitat for much wildlife and insects, sometimes it is necessary to remove certain dead trees or limbs. A natural balance should be maintained. Dead standing trees are great for woodpeckers and bats but can sometimes be too dangerous to leave in well used areas. Often a dead tree can fall and get caught up in the crown or branch of another creating a hazard for people working in or visiting that area. Controlled felling needs to be undertaken in these situations.

Felling
When timber is needed for a particular use e.g. planks for building or flooring, a tree should be carefully chosen for this purposes from a sustainable woodland. It is better to use local sustainable timber than timber that has come from abroad in areas of mass logging like Brazil. Firstly because intensive logging is responsible for wiping out acres upon acres of rainforest everyday. And secondly beause it has travelled so far it is not an environmentally friendly process, so should be avoided. In a sustainable woodland the timber is extracted with the aim of growing more timber in its place therefore creating a sustainable cycle and ensuring the survival of the woodland.

Planting
Planting trees and replanting in non wooded areas will create more woodlands for future enjoyment and help cultivate a richer, more diverse countryside with abundant wildlife and resources. A simple way to tick all the right boxes!

Pathways and bridges20180224_162724

Constructing pathways and tracks in your woodland is essential for moving around unhindered so you can access all areas and enjoy the benefits that a woodland provides. Woodchip is a perfect material for maintaining pathways and when the weather turns bad your paths stay dry and usable. It also helps when wheelbarrow access is needed for taking in tools and other materials and bringing out logs for firewood. Other animals and birds will also benefit from these paths as they create corridors for ease of movement and flight. If you are lucky enough to have streams in your woodland or maybe ditches, creating simple bridges would be beneficial, making it easier to access other areas of your wood.

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Brash piles and dead hedges20180224_162335

The material left after harvesting or thinning out is called brash. This is usually the thin top branches of the tree. This material can help wildlife in so many ways so it shouldn’t be burnt! Good brash management helps to create much needed habitat for insects, small mammals and birds. Brash piles form an important instant habitat that your wild animals will love and before you know it you will see hedgehogs scurrying in and out, birds will use them constantly and a tight brash pile will allow them to escape from predators like sparrow hawks and gos hawks. Eventually these piles will rot down into compost after a few years so new brash piles should be made every year to accommodate the wildlife’s needs. Another good idea for brash management is to make long brash piles called dead hedges, this creates a safe corridor for animals and birds to travel out of harms way and provides shelter from the elements and when hibernating. If you are coppicing in your wood, brash piles are essential as a lot of material is being taken out initially so they provide much needed shelter until the new growth is established.

Ivy and vines

Over the years attitudes towards Ivy have changed. Many regarded Ivy as a parasite that needed to be cut from all trees for the good of the tree. Nowadays we should look at Ivy as a benefit to the wildlife and diversity of the woodland. It isn’t a parasite at all as many would have you know, it has its own root system and collects its own food and water, it has a symbiotic relationship with the tree that it clings to and is very important in creating habitat for all kinds of wildlife including owls, wood pigeons, bats, small birds and insects not to mention small mammals and reptiles. Love the Ivy in your woodland and leave it there!

Shelters and seating areas 

To thrive in your woodland and to really enjoy the beauty that it gives it’s a good idea to create areas where you can sit and relax. Our rustic hardwood benches are strong and durable enough to leave outside in your chosen area and will last for years. They blend in with the woodland much better than a bench made of square timber. Canvas shelters are perfect. They are open enough to stay in touch with the outdoors but will keep you dry when it turns wet. Even stay warm by lighting a fire underneath. Shelter, fire, food are the three stages of survival, so, get those spuds baking in the embers!

Below some birch tops and hazel have been woven into a continuous hurdle bent round to protect some Iris’s next to a bank above a water course.

Streams and pools

If you are lucky enough to have a stream running through your woods this can be a great benefit for wildlife. Making little dams and jams can create mini pools which will attract bank voles, frogs, toads, grass snakes and newts as well as a watering hole for birds and mammals. If no water courses are found then a small pond would be a good idea.

If you’re interested in any of these services or would like a woodland consultation you can contact us on info@wildwoodcraft.co.uk and we can arrange a date and time to suit you. We’ll give you advice and ideas to get you started! We always put the woods first when putting forward a plan of action.