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This gallery contains 4 photos.
The cold, dry weather allows perfect conditions for woodland work, as well as photography.
The Ranger Team of staff and volunteers have been carrying out thinning and clearance work on the North Woodland Walk. Much of the area which we are felling this year is important characteristic oak fringe woodland which surrounds the river banks and is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The work involves coppicing the holly understorey and removing beech seedlings to encourage oak regeneration. This also allows more light to reach the woodland floor, encouraging a proliferation of woodland wildflowers and heather and is ideal for many insect species. In turn, this provides food for many woodland bird species including tree creepers, firecrests, black caps and the rare lesser spotted woodpecker. We also have the only recorded site on the river for the very rare Barbastelle Bat which is dependent on these ancient oak woodlands.
To maintain this area in a favourable condition for the wildlife it supports it requires thinning to encourage the native sessile oak trees and coppicing of the other species. Coppicing is a very ancient form of woodland management where broad-leaved trees are cut down to their base on a rotation. The coppiced stools re-grow producing many stems and will be harvested again in 15 years’ time.
The clearance work may appear drastic to start with but we leave oak trees and some other standard trees to grow on. These standard trees will eventually form the canopy in many years to come. Unfortunately the majority of the trees are very badly squirrel damaged and the thinning work will help to protect the oak trees which are left as the squirrels tend not to like the large gaps between the trees. The timber produced will be used for logs and charcoal and the brash piles are left for the benefit of wildlife. Some of the wood will be used by Dave the Bodger for free wood working courses held in the Copse in the Parkland most Saturdays.
The staff and volunteers at Pill Farm have been hard at work this week collecting over a tonne of apples from the orchards here. There were a few sore heads by the end as trees literally rained apples when their boughs were shook. We have a variety of traditional Cornish varieties here from eaters to cookers and even some cider apples too. Some of the apples have gone across to the restaurant at Trelissick to be used by the catering team and the rest have been sold to Helford Creek for juicing and cider. The birds and sheep have had a good time making the most of the remaining windfalls.
It’s been a good year for many fruiting crops including blackberries and haws, this has provided a feast for all our birds and other wildlife giving them a much needed store of energy to see them through the winter. The sweet chestnuts also seem to be having a bumper year and there are more than you can fill your pockets with on the ground at the moment, roasting them over an open fire is the best way to enjoy them but remember to prick them first!
Traditional orchards have unfortunately become an uncommon sight in the British countryside, once the focal point of every community, they have declined by 60% since the 1950’s. Orchards are not only important historically and culturally but support a vast range of native wildlife including the rare Noble Chafer Beetle and the Orchard Tooth Fungus which rely entirely on the dead wood in orchards. This has led to them being classified as a priority habitat under the UK BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) and there have been many projects running across the country to not only restore old orchards but plant new ones too.
With that in mind, the Ranger team here at Trelissick have dedicated a 3 acre plot at Tregew to plant a new community orchard. It will consist of Kea plums along with some local Cornish apple varieties. The creekside meadows at Tregew already support a host of wildlife including barn owls, sky larks and harvest mice. Traditionally areas like this along Cowlands, Coombe and Lamouth creek would have supported Kea plum orchards where their produce was shipped up to London and elsewhere so it seems an appropriate site for our new community orchard. We have received a generous sponsorship for our first 6 trees which will be planted in the coming
months, this sponsorship covers the cost of grafting a new tree, planting, construction of a tree guard and the future maintenance of the tree. Next week we are taking some of the chestnut from Trelissick to be milled ready to construct the guards to protect the young trees from grazing animals.
This seems like an appropriate time to introduce myself, Elle Parsons, as a new member of the countryside ranger team. I have worked for the National Trust ranger team on the Lizard for the past 6 years and will now be working alongside the rangers here at Trelissick. This winter I will be focusing on Tregew community orchard and developing an area of community woodland. Please do get in touch if you would like to get involved with either of these.
More updates to follow soon,
Contact me at Pill Farm: 01872 870863
Join us in Bodgers Copse this haloween as part of the Trelissick Haunted Fun event taking place on Thurs 30 & Fri 31 October.
Make your own besom, a tradtional broom made from hemlock brush bound together onto a stout handle. Primarily made for sweeping, although it has been known for witches to fly through the night sky on them at Haloween!
We will be running workshops every hour from 11am-3pm. Please come down to the copse to book your place on the day, spaces are limited. We are charging £2.50 per besom to cover our costs.
This gallery contains 19 photos.
Over the past few weeks Dave, with the help of other staff, friends and volunteers, has been constructing this year’s Burning Man. Lime poles were cut from the north woodland to provide a light-weight, wooden frame for the colossus. He … Continue reading