When first planted on the sloping field, these larch trees were placed in rows. It made it easier to put them in and will make it easier to harvest them. For they are a crop. The forest is a working forest, trees grown for timber. But, because it is also a nationally owned enterprise, Forestry England do what they can to encourage wildlife and to make the place accessible to the public.
It’s a real asset, right on our doorstep. We walk up to 50 different routes from our front door, covering distances between 2 and 5 miles without ever needing to resort to the car. That won’t be the case forever. In fact, along several of our favourite walks trees have been marked for felling. Some because they are old and may soon fall (indeed, a good number fell in the recent storms), some because new power lines are due to be driven through the forest, and most to be harvested for timber.
We’ll have to walk a little further afield once this work begins, explore our area more widely, which will mean using the car to reach some places. We’ve mixed feeling about that. As environmentalists, we prefer not to drive if we don’t have to. But the distances will be too far for walks from the door which will eventually involve longish distances along the roads whilst the work goes on.
On the plus side, the forest recovers remarkably quickly from such cropping. And the new plantings will be mixed hardwood and evergreens, as the managers have realised monoculture encourages the spread of natural disease. A recent example of that resulted in hundreds of native ash trees being felled, especially along the forest roads. It was an essential removal, as the trees suffering from ash die-back were a danger to passing traffic and a source of infection for other trees.
It will be a time of change, but one we’ll embrace and make the most of.
A few of my pictures appear in the Gallery.
But you can search over 2000 here for use in book covers, calendars, greetings cards, jigsaws, advertising, or anything else you fancy in print or online, or as art quality prints to decorate your home or office.