Back in January I first visited the site of Kevin’s shed-to-be. One of the first stages in any project is to assess local conditions that may affect design or logistics. For example Kevin’s site was a heavy clay field (which became very boggy) with only tractor or 4×4 access. I surveyed the woodland next to the field to assess the volume of timber available, the ecological impact of felling the trees and how we would drag them out. Felling is always a delicate balancing act in a small woodland and it’s worth reading up on this or getting some advice from a pro. Kevin was lucky enough to have eight good timber oaks and we decided that only two could be felled without having an unacceptable impact on the woodland.
Having estimated the hopus foot (usable timber volume in a tree) I knew that these trees would supply about a quarter of our total timber needs. The two trees we chose to remove opened up the canopy, allowing more light to reach the woodland floor and creating space for natural regeneration. It will be interesting to see which species take the opportunity to grow here; there is an understory of hazel (that Kevin is coppicing) and also a good seed bank of ash.
Books on woodland management:The woodland way – Ben Law. Silviculture and Management of Coppice Woodlands – Ralph Harmer.