Coppicing work March 2014

A burst of activity after this winter’s hard  rain (going to fall!) Even our barrow in the woods filled up.

Wet Barrow March 2014

A rogue flock of sheep had come into the district having escaped from some poorly fenced land two miles away. On numerous visits onto Panteg land they  trampled the Hugel mound, nibbled some trees and generally made a nuisance of themselves. I tried chasing them off but led by a wily old one they evaded me. I managed to get in touch with the farmer responsible and after a month plus of freedom they were rounded up and carted off. Phew!

Rogue sheep

Rogue sheep

Good news from The Rural Development Plan for Wales: Zero Carbon Future Project. We have been awarded £1750 to put on a charcoal making course and purchase a small charcoal making kiln. The course will take place in May and will be led by Martin. All of which means we have to stack wood ready cut to size and get it under cover . The kiln is 6′ in diameter and should yield about 150kg of charcoal and will need loading with about 3 cubic metres of cut wood. The wood needs to be dry with less than 20% moisture content. We will be lucky to get our wood this dry , the yield will be about 15% of wood to charcoal. [2.5 cubic metres of dry wood weighs about one tonne.]

6' Woodsmith Kiln

6′ Woodsmith Kiln

We hope to run at least two courses with about 10 people per course using a mixture of oil drum and kiln firing. Menter Cwm Gwendraeth will help us produce bi lingual adverts and we already have people signing up.

Coppicing work has been on going with one week- end devoted to it. We caught sight of Ben on the Saturday and  also Mary and Alex as  well. It would be so good if everyone lived close by so the woods could really thrive. Much more to do over the coming months to section the wood and tidy up the woodland floor so that it can prosper.

All felling must be complete by the end of March or sooner, allowing birds and insects to thrive free of the threat of having their habitat cut down. The section we have worked on has a mixture of ash, willow and a few oak. We seem to have created mountains of brash and a reasonable amount of wood. Some of the bigger ash trees have challenged my chain saw skills- ah well another learning opportunity.

Coppice work

Coppice work

Stacked Ash on coppice

Stacked Ash on coppice

Last bit of news – We have agreed to give a talk  in April to the Ferryside Gardening Club about Coed Panteg. A good chance to tell the local community about all the interesting things happening on the hill and who knows creating an appetite for some locally produced charcoal. Tony will be moving his animals on to the grass land once the fencing is complete- Can’t wait to see how they get on.

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