Tuesday, 6 November 2012

halibut wood

When we were first exploring Cordwood, the site was large and amorphous in my mind. It became easiest to name the different areas so that we had a common language.

The Cedar Walk takes us around a length of the perimeter beneath giant Atlas Blue Cedars.

before .....
It also casts a serpentine arm around the commercial conifers that occupy the southern boundary of Cordwood. This woodland is not pretty. Planted after 1947 and then forgotten, the young Scots Pine, Larch and Douglas Fir trees were too close and have struggled unhealthily against each other to reach the light as they have matured. They are bare trunked with a pompom of foliage near the sky. Many drip resin in long stains like candlewax. Beneath is a dense, tangling cover of bramble that is occasionally punctured by plucky elder or rose bay willow herb.


On the edge of the conifers, close to a towering sycamore, the brambles have not ventured and the woodland floor is a dense mat of pine needles. As we were talking through ideas for development in 2011, Roger and I dismissed this area,  agreeing that the Douglas Firs especially needed removing. This suggestion was not received well by Jill who liked the unique atmosphere created. She pulled a fishy face ...... and 'Halibut Wood' was born. Conifers will now only be be thinned out and an underplanting of native birch and holly will be established.

...... after
Brackenhurst College students used Cordwood for chainsaw training last year, reemoving the most cramped or diseased pines. The deal was that they would fell some of the trees and we would then move the fallen logs and dispose of the mountains of 'brash' (branches and stems). With limited time we had not cleared many of the logs or touched the brash.... and students are due to begin with us in Halibut Wood again soon.

You can probably guess what we were doing this weekend:
chainsawing; dragging brash; moving logs; burning. There was tiredness too at the end of it, but also that exhilaration in clearing more land and taking another step towards our Cordwood vision of creating beautiful gardens.

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