Conservation & Coppicing

With autumn now well and truly upon us and the leaves just beginning to take on their seasonal colours, our conservation programme is in full swing and a great start has been made on the work we have scheduled for this season. Initially we are concentrating on clearing vegetation/regeneration along the sides of the the gravel ride that leads up to Limewood, which will take several days. Further information on the benefits of this type of conservation work can be found on our “Woodland Management” page.

A new series of dates have been added to the Events Diary and more will be added on a regular basis, so keep your eye out for them. You will also begin to see a few more event leaders this season as we attempt to spread the load more evenly – Mike, Phil, Trevor and Perry have all attended the necessary courses and have received First Aid training to enable them to lead events.

The chainsaw team will commence coppicing on 19 October at the back of Crab Tree Close (see map) and in between sorting timber that they cut we will also have a variety of other tasks. One of these is already in the Events Diary – the NPA archaeological team are conducting a survey in Pondhead shortly and have invited our volunteers to assist so if you want to find out what lies beneath the surface in Pondhead, this is your opportunity to find out.

We will also be receiving some visits from outside organisations shortly, details of which are in the Events Diary. More recently we had two work parties from the Ordnance Survey who have made a real difference at the front of Crab Tree Close by clearing an overgrown area to encourage spring flowers to return. Check it out if you walk through as it looks very different.

Since our last news blog, the charcoal retort has been wrapped up for the winter but not until after a good clean, a bit of maintenance and a new paint job. During the spring and summer it produced over 3.5 tonnes of charcoal from around 10 tonnes of timber, most of which was retrieved from around our woodland and sawn to size by our willing volunteers – well done. Before putting it to bed, an inspection revealed no major issues requiring attention and it looks like new thanks to the efforts of Paul, Mike, Mark and Gary (see pics).

As we are in our fourth conservation season since we formally incorporated as PCT, we thought it was about time that we had a promotional video. We have made a start but it will not be completed until we can film the bluebells in the spring. In the meantime, you may see a video camera popping up occasionally on events so make sure it catches your best side! Below is a taster – the initial cut of the charcoal making sequence.

How to make charcoal in three minutes!

You will shortly be able see some of the volunteer team on national TV also. Channel 5 visited us earlier in the summer to film an episode for “Britain by Bike” with Larry and George Lamb, which is currently being aired on Friday nights at 8 pm. It’s an hour long programme and the New Forest episode is scheduled for 20 October at 8 pm on Channel 5, part of which will show them making our folding hazel chair and getting some home spun wisdom and New Forest history from our own “man of the woods”, Dave Dibden.

Once again, thank you all for your continued support on events – look forward to seeing you in Pondhead soon. Please book onto events when you can as many hands make light work.

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