February in the Brails, a busy time of year
Weather has been kind so far this month – not too wet, enabling access to the wetter parts of the woods to do woodland work. Spring is around the corner, the snowdrops are out and spotted woodpeckers are announcing their presence by drumming and establishing their territories.
Herons have been seen around ponds, hopefully not eating too many frogs otherwise there will be little or no frog spawn this year !.
In the woods we have been felling and clearing windblow. At the northern end of Bedwyn Brail there is an old stand of hybrid poplars which have suffered from squirrel and storm damage over the years. This area is to be replanted.
Other work includes coppicing around ponds, maintenance in the new plantations, culling of deer and squirrels, tree safety.
The maintenance in plantations includes putting back up fallen tree shelters, replacing rotten tree shelter stakes, and beating up – replacing failed whips. The undergrowth in some areas is in danger of smothering these tree shelters and excluding light to the new trees. The clearance of scrub is carried out by brush cutting.
Where ponds have become over shadowed with scrub we have coppiced around the edges to allow the light back in. The water levels are low for the time of year and they need more rain.
The Estate carries out annual checks on tree safety along roads, byways, bridleways, footpaths with particular attention being given to those trees identified in previous years for future monitoring.