This gallery contains 5 photos.
The ranger team with the help of Keith, Chloe and Jimbo the heavy horse carried out woodland management work on the Scheduled Ancient Monument at Roundwood. Jimbo was pulling out the last of the silver fir which was felled over the winter. This was planted in the early sixties, growing through an area of sessile oak which fringes Lamouth Creek on the side of the fort. The fir has been removed gradually over the last three years to help avoid shocking the old oak trees due to the changes in light and humidity levels.
Jimbo is used to extract the timber to avoid damage to the monument – he has very large feet but they travel lightly and don’t cut up the ground like tractor tyres. He is also very nimble allowing him to pull timber out on narrow twisting paths.
We also took the opportunity to roll the bracken on the fort using a bracken roller. Bracken rhizomes are very destructive to the archaeology and we roll it annually to retard its growth.
The first swallow of Spring arrived at Pill Farm on 5th April, that’s ten days earlier than the first one seen last year.
While out early on Monday morning, looking over the coppiced wood a Nanphillows, I was lucky enough to hear a cuckoo, possibly over at Tregew, where there are lots of songbirds. That’s the first one I’ve heard on the estate for 3 years.
Also at Tregew I saw a wheatear on the stubble fields. This is a striking little bird with very distinctive white rump feathers giving it the local Cornish name of Wittol meaning white tail.
I heard a skylark singing for all its worth at Tregew, one of my favourite song birds with a truly stunning voice, Cornish name Melhuez.
The Spring flowers are coming out in the woods- celandine, primrose, bluebell and wood anemone all bring colour back to the estate.
Herons are starting to nest on the riverside trees. They are very early nesters, but particularly prone to disturbance and choose the quietest areas of the estate, preferring to return to the same nest sites each year.
Look out for evidence of badgers along the driveway in the park where they turn the grass over looking for worms.
A Roe deer was spotted at Pill Farm – they are only just moving onto the estate in the last few years as they spread across the county and are fairly regularly seen swimming the river, they like the quite farmland at Pill.
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
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.
We 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, 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.
The 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
Since Christmas, like the rest of the south west, we have been suffering 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 high 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 winter lake and some very muddy paths.
The offshore storms have brought many over-wintering sea birds into the estuary including divers and grebes. Large 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.
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.