As a result of our conservation work, in particular the oak thinning and sycamore clearance we have a lot of timber at our disposal. Much of this is seasoned and sold locally as firewood.
Recently we acquired an ‘Alaskan Saw Mill’, which is a chainsaw attachment which with a ripping chain allows us to cut in straight lines directly down the grain. This means we can now create our own posts and planks straight out of our own oak timber. Hardwood gateposts (usually around 7″ by 7″) can be very expensive, so though it takes some time to produce these items it saves the estate money and increases our self sufficiency.
As mentioned previously in this blog we look after some outlying properties alongside the Petts Wood and Hawkwood Estate. Namely these are Wrotham Water Farm and Coldrum Longbarrow (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coldrum-long-barrow/). Wrotham Water Farm has very limited public access, however the Coldrum stones are about forty minutes drive away and well worth a visit.
Wrotham Water Farm includes approximately 80 acres of chalk grassland on the North Downs, containing rich flora including rare orchid species. We are soon beginning a ten year grant funded project to remove scrub from the fields and manage the grassland through grazing.
We plan to replace the delapidated gate posts at the site entrance to allow for easier access. This week we selected some straight lengths of timber stacked up in the oak thinnings here at Petts Wood we made both the 7″ square hanging post and a 6″ slamming post. As you can see from the photos these posts have come out very well and should last for years to come. One of our regular volunteers intends to place a small time capsule when we dig in the post, which you never know could be discovered by future generations.