The past few days have seen all hands to the pump tidying up windblown trees and clearing them out of the way before replanting this spring. To be perfectly honest, I did have a hand in seeing that some of these trees fell when the storms came, and I have learnt how to clip around the fringes of a wood to maximise windthrow in the event of a gale.
Ultimately, I’d like this whole strip to lie flat and be replanted with birch and willow, and I’ve been working in that direction for the past six years. There is little commercial value in the tiny wood, and the logistics of trying to harvest the timber industrially over this soaking ground are a nightmare. As it is, I fell bits and pieces when I can, salvage some for firewood and leave the rest of it to lie where it has fallen. It was hugely exciting to find a brood of young black grouse mucking around amongst the fallen logs in 2014, and the woodcock have made merry in the resurging spruce regeneration which is now almost waist high in some areas. I’ve also written before about the amazing long-eared owls which now nest in the wood after the work I put in to open up the canopy, and I’m hopeful that they might return in 2016.
I have already planted some rowans and aspens in this area, but I have ordered a few hundred birch and alder trees to come in the next few weeks, and it will be interesting to see whether these will draw in more black grouse in due course.