Food in the Wood Day

Come and join us on Saturday 3rd May 2014 for our wild food day, from 10.00 – 14.00.

After a walk through the woods at the Trelissick estate, foraging for seasonal wild plants, we’ll cook over an open fire and eat a delicious wild food lunch.

£10 per person – all ages welcome

Booking essential as numbers are restricted – tel: 01872 861030

 

Posted in Events, Trelissick

Using the wood from the fallen trees

Like many parts of the South West the Trelissick estate sustained considerable damage during the stormy weather over the winter. Heavy rain and flooding caused problems but the greatest damage was brought about by the strong, gusting winds.

in front of houseWe lost many trees around the estate including several veteran trees in the park and woodland. One of these was a very important lime tree in front of Trelissick house which was planted in the late eighteenth century and two large Scots pines from around the woodland walk and the banks of the river Fal. Scots pines appear to have been particularly vulnerable, especially after the ground became very saturated and whole root plates were lifted.

 We’ve always used wood and timber from the estate and wind-blown trees of certain species can be utilised but there are a lot of considerations such as timber quality, accessibility and conservation value. We lost a number of oak trees but the species is important in usability. Turkey and Holm oak are large impressive trees but the timber quality is very poor and we tend to leave them within the woodlands where the greatest benefit can be gained by allowing them to rot and provide wildlife habitat for many species. Sessile oak, which predominates in the woodland at Trelissick, on the other hand, can produce fantastic timber for use in the boat building yards around the Fal. The natural grown bends are used for frames, stems and deck timbers, whilst the branch unions are used for breast hooks and knees. These timbers are ideal for restoration projects and invaluable for the upkeep of traditional boats and the estate has close links with the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth.

A large Scots pine, planted in 1840, was uprooted and fell over the path,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA it obviously had to be cleared, but it also gave us the opportunity to extract two high quality lengths of timber. The quality is determined by the soundness of the timber, large diameter and close growth rings. Its final use hasn’t been identified yet but there has been some interest from a local boat builder, alternatively it may be put to good use in a National Trust project. Our green woodworker, Dave Hart, already uses timber from the estate to build traditional skin-on-frame boats and following his Getting Outdoors and Closer to Nature bursary trip to Finnmark studying traditional boat building of the sea Sami people of northern Norway, he has his eye on the pine for planking for a new project.

 Lime wood is a fabulous timber for carving – it is extremely light but takes a lot of carving detail. It was the main timber in ecclesiastical use for rood screens as seen in many medieval churches. We try to retain as much wood from parkland trees as possible on site as the conservation value is our top priority, but we are able to take out useable portions of the lime which is sold to local wood turners and carvers. They regularly offer demonstrations on the property which advertises the diversity of British timber and allows these majestic old trees to continue in some form for many years to come.

 We use heavy horses on the Trelissick estate to extract much of our timber, as this is often the most efficient way to extract wood from the more inaccessible locations around the estate. This helps with supplying the twenty seven National Trust holiday cottages around Cornwall with high quality firewood and charcoal and finances a six-month woods person’s contract.

Posted in Trelissick

Scots Pine on the South Woodland Walk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe exceptional storms and rain over recent months have taken their toll on the trees at Trelissick. The sodden ground has loosened its grip on the root structures of our trees, particularly in the case of the shallow roots of conifers.

Consequently, National Trust staff and volunteer crews have been frequently called to clear fallen or unsafe trees around the footpaths. In the case of this Scots Pine, it was in prime condition, but could not endure the wind forces of a 70 mph gale that whistled up the Fal estuary on a south westerly track. The roots just pulled out of the sodden earth and she crashed over the South Woodland Walk footpath.

 Steve Pearce, Volunteer

Posted in Fal River, Flora, Trelissick

Storm Damage at Trelissick

Since Christmas, like the rest of the south west, we have been in front of housesuffering from the storms – we’re used to one or two a year, but it’s now becoming a bit tedious. Unfortunately we have lost several very important and ancient trees including one of the three avenue limes in front of Trelissick house which we think were planted in the late eighteenth century; several large old parkland oak trees at Pill farm and around the woodland walks; and two very large and impressive Scots pines on the south woodland walk, one of which blocked the path for a week.

The bottom of the park along the beach did not get through unscathed either. A combination of stormy weather and very highsea wall tides caused two sections of the sea wall to be destroyed and large amounts of seaweed were deposited at the bottom of the park. These are natural processes, but it is always unfortunate to see the huge amount of sea-borne litter which comes up and gets blown around the park. The outflow pipes onto the beach regularly get blocked, but the stormy weather combined with a huge amount of water that drains down through the park left a large Lake behind beachwinter lake and some very muddy paths.

 The offshore storms have brought many over-wintering sea birds into the estuary including divers and grebes. curlewssheep in parklandLarge flocks of curlew and oyster catcher have been searching for insects in the grassland in the private side of the park. They are sharing the park with our flock of sheep which suddenly decided this year to start bark-stripping many of our young lime trees. This can be a very serious problem, potentially killing twenty year old, established trees. We have wrapped the stems of all the limes with mesh, which has stopped the problem.damage to young limes

On a cheerier note the first signs of spring are emerging with snowdrops and the first few daffodils. It has been a very short felling season in the woodlands with primroses and bluebells rapidly emerging and song birds getting ready for the breeding season meaning that we will have to stop coppicing fairly soon.

daffodil

Posted in Trelissick

Winter

Apologies for the lack of blog material, the wet weather has made me reluctant to take my camera out and this blog has fallen by the wayside for a while.

The wet and mild weather has been causing us a few problems with washed out paths and flooded fields, but our most significant loss happened during the storms just before Christmas with several large trees being blown down around the Trelissick estate, most noticeably one of the three avenue limes in front of Trelissick mansion. These were very early plantings in the park, possibly as early as the late eighteenth century, and it is always sad to lose such majestic veterans. Lime wood is particularly good for carving and we hope to utilise as much timber as possible, and what we don’t use will be left in situ to rot down in the park providing excellent habitat for many deadwood invertebrates.

We have started thinning and coppicing in the woodlands and are currently working in the valley below Namphillows. It is incredibly wet and very slippy, but we need to get on as the very mild weather means that we have a very short felling season this year and don’t have much time to get the work done to provide firewood and charcoal for next year. Much of the timber we are taking down is very badly squirrel damaged and we may need to do some control over the estate.

Some encouraging news from the Government with a potential turnaware feb 13Special Protection Area (SPA) designation for the Falmouth and St Austell bay area for overwintering sea birds including Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Diver and Black Throated Diver. I only mention this as I happen to be out on the Carrick Roads in a gig on Sunday morning and for the first time in ages it was glassy calm meaning that you could see several rafts of grebes and a pair of divers, or loons as I prefer to call them.

Spring is just round the corner with snowdrops in flower and lots of bulbs starting to come through and primroses not in flower yet but with lots of lush new leaves.

Neil, Head Ranger

Posted in Birds, Fal River | Tagged ,

Autumn at Trelissick Park

park in sunshine Nov 13The recent spell of settled autumn weather has really brought out the colours of the trees in the parkland at Trelissick.  Even after the wild, wet and blustery weather some of the leaves are still on, especially the oak trees.

There are still a few apples on the trees in the old orchard at Pill, but the pigs, sheep and pheasants have seen an end to most of the windfalls. Most of the fungi and mushrooms have now finished fruiting. Tawny owls have been very vocal at night and a beautiful female sparrowhawk has been seen regularly in the lane hunting pigeons and small birds.

 

house in parkland Nov 13Feock sunshine Nov 13

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Burning Man

This gallery contains 4 photos.

The Ranger team at Trelissick celebrated the turning of the year at the Autumn Equinox by creating a 25 foot wicker and bamboo sculpture. The wicker man was set out in the River Fal at low tide then left to … Continue reading

Gallery