What a gorgeous colourful Autumn we are having here in West Wales with leaves finally turning golden and falling from the trees to leave a carpet of colour for us to walk on! Our woodland is typically an ‘ancient woodland’. In the UK an ‘ancient woodland’ is a woodland that has existed since 1600 or before! Pre 1600 planting new woodlands was very uncommon and as such, the ‘ancient woodland’ is more likely to have developed in a more natural way with lots of ‘regeneration’ – mother trees throwing off seedlings, which have naturally grown into large trees – self seeding themselves as time passes by!
Our own woodland is magically diverse and supports many species of flora and fauna. We have many types of moss growing on stones and trees, we have bracken, ferns and wild flowers too. All of this, including the wildlife has its own little eco-system and we are supporting this by creating habitat piles, clearing undergrowth to support the regrowth of flowers such as bluebells and trees, whilst planting up new trees that are indigenous to our own ‘ancient woodland’.
Over the past couple of years we have planted around 250 new trees and have also started coppicing some of the Hazel that grows so abundantly in our woodland. We use the Hazel that has been coppiced for some of our smaller woodland products that we produce. We remove old Hazel stems and put them through a slow drying process (remove the moss too!) – then we process the drier wood into products for the website. By coppicing, we are supporting the re-growth of the Hazel. I will do a seperate blog completely dedicated to coppicing as it is such a large part of our work here at M H Woodland. But, to give readers an idea, coppicing is a traditional method of woodland management that allows the tree to make new growth from the stump roots. Already some of the wood we coppiced here a couple of years ago have grown 15 feet high!
I have added a collage of photos I took this month showing the new plantings from this spring, and some from last spring – you can just see the tree guards we use to protect the trees for their first few years around the base of the tree! I have also added a collage of the autumnal colours that are so evident at this time of year! The blackberries were, of course, delicious!