Tuesday, 19 July 2011

reclaiming more woodland

Here we see more progress in the north western corner of the site we call our native woodland.
The understorey was choked by bramble and nettles but a sharp scythe and rakes have opened the site spectacularly.
I have begun the diversification of the flora by sowing foxglove seed - and patches of red and white campion seeds will be added shortly.

But longer term, we will need to give thought to managing this area so that it does not revert to its former state.

Although foliage has been removed, a tangle of roots remains beneath the soil waiting to push out new swamping growth.

Woodland needs management and we want to stay true to our sustainable and organic ethos. So, a lesson may be learned from woodlanders of the past by using pigs to clear the ground (panage). Pigs act like super rotavators, seeking out underground tubers and roots with strong, sensitive snouts and turning over the soil leaving it 'clean' ...... and fertilised!!
The ground can then be raked over if necessary and the grass allowed to regenerate naturally. This grass will need management too and although my scythe is an effective tool for managing grass, it still requires me to use it. Another option is to utilise creatures like  New Forest ponies to graze the fresh green vegetation that springs up in the cool dappled shade. These ponies are specially adapted to living in these conditions. If they are not over stocked, their hooves do not cut up the ground excessively and they are effective and skilled browsers of woodland vegetation. We'll see.

Here are two foresters in action. We hope to welcome friends onto site this Saturday afternoon if you want to catch up with progress. Let me know.

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