Monday, 12 November 2012

Pollarding on the Waterproof Bank

With the wet conditions limiting our movements around the reserve we decided to get onto pollarding the willow trees that grow alongside the waterproof bank. The willows are managed on the bank for two purposes, firstly to stop them growing over the path and secondly to prevent them from becoming too large, blowing over and damaging the bank which forms part of a flood defence system.  Several years ago they were pollarded with the aid of an excavator with a mulching head, not the neatest way of working but at the time the only way available. The plan was to manage them as they re-grew by using a tractor mounted flail to cut them more like a hedge, but sadly for several reasons this never happened and the branches grew to large leaving it to either be a job for a digger again or for plenty of hard work with chainsaws. 

So today we made a start, we needed to get a plan of attack and work out the most effective method of dealing with all of the cut branches.  The narrow bank means that there is very little space to work with as it is only a few meters wide and the path at the top would also soon cut up. Our initial plan was to cut the branches, stack them and move them with the grab, but we couldn’t fit very much in. Secondly we decided to push loads away with the grab but this damaged the path, we then used small trailer loads but this cut up the path. We can’t drag it away by hand as there are many tones branches to move, and over long distances so this was also impractical. So we stopped and pondered the next plan... this is to borrow a wood chipper and also put small loads into a trailer where possible and drag where possible. It will take a lot longer, and be a lot nosier but with a spot of luck produce a really good job over the next few weeks.

 The Waterproof Bank 
Loading the Grab

Pollarding with a digger about 5 years ago.

I also started making a sign for the Lode and Longmeadow Community Wood at White Fen. Gale from our Learning team wrote the name on a big plank of oak Jamie Cakebread from Cambridge Restoration had given us a while back and I routed it in. White Fen Wood is a lot shorter than ‘Lode and Longmeadow Community Wood’  I plan to paint the letters and then set it into the ground somewhere on White Fen. The writing is a bit wobbly, but, well it kind of looks ok I recon, in a rustic wobbly wood kind of a way.

 White Fen Wood Sign

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