Oak Thinning Complete

While the main thrust of our work this winter has been the clearance project at Wrotham we have been working through January to complete the oak thinning which forms part of a five year Woodland Grants Scheme.

Oak Thinnings

The last morning of our oak thinning work

We have written a few posts on this project, so at the risk of repeating myself I’ll explain that the work aims to accelerate the development of a mature oak canopy in an area made up largely of oak regen from the ’87 hurricane with a thick holly understory which also includes some yew and rowan. The method used was to clear much of the holly to allow access then to fell around 50% of the oaks, reducing crowding, which in turn should allow more light to the field and ground layers whilst giving the best oak specimens an opportunity to thrive in the coming years. All work was completed in-house with the help of our volunteer teams.

I feel the work has improved that area of woodland aesthetically, allowing a sense of space in a previously dense area. The only disappointment has been the lack of ground flora being encouraged by the light; especially compared to the carpets of bluebells and anenomies that came up in Pond Wood after our clearance of sycamore there.

The resulting timber from this project has also allowed us to sell seasoned logs to customers in the local area. This side project continues to thrive and creates a valuable additional income stream which we divert towards conservation work in the woods.

We will await dryer weather to extract the timber from the last compartment of oak, but other than that the project is complete. I hope you enjoy walking South of the Willett glade through the area and seeing how the area has changed (a waterproof jacket and wellies are recommended given the ongoing weather), if you have any questions please feel free to contact us through the comments section or direct to pettswood@nationaltrust.org.uk

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About Richard

Ranger Petts Wood & Hawkswood Estate
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