Fortunately the recent cold has been of little hinderance to us here at Petts Wood; the only exception to this being slightly depleted volunteer numbers due to transport issues. A notable message from a Sunday volunteer consisted of ‘I’m in bed, it’s warm, I’m staying here’!
The major task we’re currently on is thinning oak just South of the Willet Memorial. This is a continuation of the same work from last year. This involves removing the weaker oak specimens which allows the remaining oak to flourish as well as letting more light through to the woodland floor, encouraging wildflowers. Dryer paths around the compartment should result from this work, though if this summer is anything like last year this can’t be guaranteed.
We remove suitable timber to be processed for firewood which we sell to residents in the surrounding area, providing a valuable source of income. The wood unsuitable for removal is burned on site which also helps to keep us warm during the cold snap. A thermos full of tea helps too.
This is also the time of year when tree inspections are carried out. By the end of the week all paths through the estate as well as the roadside will have been surveyed to ensure they’re not a safety risk. Work which we cannot carry out ourselves, such as climbing and dead wooding trees is carried out by tree surgeons who should be appearing on site in the next few weeks.
Other that that we have a contractor hedgelaying over at Wrotham Water, another site which as look after, the inevitable litter picking (a lovely job for a Monday morning) as well as a few odd jobs on the go such as knocking back the bracken invading the heather plots and cutting overhanging branches on the bridleways.