Curtain comes down on 17/18 Season
With the buds about to burst on the trees and the clocks going forward in a couple of weeks time it marks the end of another felling season. This has been the first full season that has seen Heartwood managed completely from within the membership. The support of B2G has continued to be vital in making this happen and our special thanks have to go to Ben Devine and Bethan Scragg for providing financial as well as moral support.
Our thanks overall must go to everyone within the group for supporting the sessions and other events held during the year. The committee have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure we have been able to set and maintain the standard we all now expect - thank you to them all for making the transition to self-supporting happen.
Thanks largely to Graham Bowers for pulling together the strategy in Willesley Wood we successfully completed the NFC grant work consisting of ride edge thinning, extraction & nest and bat box provision. This means the funding we had planned to receive has arrived in our account. Another thank you to everyone for working so hard in Willesley, sometimes under testing conditions both weather and extraction distance. We move into the next year financially sound and able to meet our insurance, tool and ongoing running costs.
2018/19 Strategy & Work
Over recent weeks we have been looking at how we meet the needs of the group both in timber and income. I'm pleased to say that we have made some very exciting progress on both counts.
Our legal structure has been a concern for a number of the committee for a while. A constituted group has certain legal and liability vulnerabilities, especially for those of us on the committee making decisions. Using some of the consultancy time we have been given with the "Plunket Foundation" as part of Making Local Woodlands Work, we have taken advice and now plan to become a "Community Interest Company". This will ensure we are able to enter into contractual agreements with landowners and the liability on individuals is removed. We hope to make this happen in the next few months.
The area of real excitement is the agreement we are finalising with the Woodland Trust. The work in the compartments at Willesley is virtually complete, so we met with Chris Williams (Woodland Trust Ranger) to discuss other woods we may be able to work in. Chris provided a whole list of woods, some of higher priority to him than others. We are now looking to create a 5 year plan so both Heartwood and the Woodland Trust know where we will be working and which woods will be managed and thinned. Woodcote near to Smisby is the first priority and looks like a great wood to work in. Other woods we are considering are Nether Hall Wood, Foxley Wood, Coton Wood, Top Wood and Georgina's Wood. Once we have an agreement and a plan we will share the details.
Next Box Repairs
The damaged nest boxes in Willesley wood have been repaired with metal plates added to protect the hole from enlargement from squirrels or woodpeckers.
Both Blue Tits and Great Tits have already been seen using the nest boxes, so we hope for a good uptake and successful breeding.
Our biosecurity policy has been defined and agreed with both the Woodland Trust and LCC. It falls in line with national guidance from the Forestry Commission and also means we have a biosecurity "kit" which can be used if any pathogens are found during our time in the woods. The document is here on the web site, so please take a few minutes to read and understand how we work.
Also worth taking a look at the advice video on the Forestry Commissions site here.
End of Season Event
We are planning to hold an end of season thank you BBQ to get the whole group together to celebrate the successful season. The weather is still a little unreliable, so once the clocks have changed and we stand a better chance of getting reasonable weather we will put the date and venue out to everyone.
Group development and growth
Over the spring and summer we will be working on developing the group, sharing our aspirations and those of the National Forest to increase the volunteer impact on woodlands being brought into management.
There is lots to do to enable this, one area we have struggled a little with this season is session leadership. As the sessions have taken place we have used the learning to create defined roles to run the sessions and the management of the group. If you are interested in taking a wider role within the group we hope to run short informal sessions to explain in more detail and to develop group leaders to give us more options as we grow. Please use the Newsletter feedback button to register your interest or come along to one of the committee meetings which take place on the second Monday of every month.
We all jokingly comment on the amount of wood we pack into our poor vehicles and make passing comments such as "you never have too much wood". How about converting that to Latin and putting it under the group Logo - Non enim te nimis lignum sounds quite impressive don't you think?
Interesting Sites you may want to take a look at
woodlandantics.wordpress.com - A great source of information for Greenwood and Woodland Crafts
livingwoodsmagazine.co.uk - Free magazine packed with useful information and articles