Thank you for the feedback from the initial issue of the newsletter. I have aimed to incorporate your points to make the content more readable and more informative. Please continue to provide feedback on any aspect of this newsletter and feel free to send me any article, links or stories you would like to be included.

Kevin Banton

TIMBER Festival

It’s been a while since I provided an update to everyone on what’s going on within the Heartwood Community Woodfuel Group, aside from the woodfuel sessions we have been running this season which you all know about.

A number of important areas are being progressed within the committee which were not clear or confirmed, but now they have progressed further it’s a good time to share these with you and get your views.

Heartwood’s training schedule is rapidly becoming as full as its felling season. The latest event, part of a summer season of courses designed to broaden the group’s expertise and skills base, was a day-long course with Dr. Charles Lane, Consultant Plant Pathologist with FERA and lead organiser in the EU Life-Funded citizen science project ObservaTree.

The tree health course began at the YHA in Moira where attendees were introduced to the basics of tree health and its impacts upon woodland environments. The group were taught how to recognise the signs and symptoms of trees under stress and to evaluate trees in context to determine whether disease was likely to be present or whether other stresses such as compaction, spray drift or mechanical damage were the cause of ill health.

On the 13th July members of Heartwood and volunteers from the Donisthorpe Woodland Park team constructed the nest boxes and bat boxes forming part of the grant submissions for the coming season. Heartwood has 20 nest boxes and 15 Bat boxes to position in Willesley wood, it is planned that as many members as possible meet up on the 26th August at 09:00 to put the boxes up on site.

A Woodland Management Course organised by Heartwood over two consecutive Wednesdays in June was well attended by members. The course, led by Jim Waterson of Harper Adams University, began with lessons on the planning and design of new woodland and took the group through to an overview of silvicultural systems.

Fifteen Heartwood members attended the course which was a mix of classroom based learning combined with time in the woods discussing real-life management options. Themes included the identification and management of principal vertebrate pests, an introduction to coppice, high forest and wood pasture management and an introduction to management tools such as MyForest.