Once upon a time

…there was a dark, dense wood. Ok, so it’s not quite dark. But it will be dense and best of all, it has been planted.

About ten months ago I decided that a small woodland was exactly what our farm needed. Also, I had a serious case of woodland envy. Every time I strolled through my brother in law’s side of the farm I coveted the mature oaks, enormous beeches, elegant birches.

At around the same time I became a member of the Woodland Trust and while leafing (!) through their magazine, I noticed that they offered help with tree planting. So I applied. The site I managed to plead from my dear M is just under 1 hectare and slopes so badly, that over the years many a tractor ended up on its side. So it wasn’t too hard to state my case.

A very helpful woodsman came to assess the site and made a few suggestions for my management plan. The wheels were set in motion. In December my trees arrived. Oak, silver birch, beech, hazel, wild cherry, crabapple, walnut, rowan and many others. All 1450 of them for a fraction of prize thanks to the Woodland Trust grant. Everything worked out, except for the fact that due to the ‘small size of the field’ we couldn’t ask the WT for contractors to help with planting. In December. Bare root trees (or rather twigs). With rain coming down every day during one of the wettest winters on record.

Dear Reader, kindly picture a small group of people (ranging from three to seven on different days): trudging through the never ending rain and mud; up and down the slippery field; carrying twigs, stakes, spades, mallets and tree guards; measuring the gaps between the trees with their heavily muddied boots; spacing trees where they will go; turning around and not finding the carefully prepared trees because the dogs helpfully moved them elsewhere; rescuing trees from dogs; making a slit in the sodden ground; inserting the bare root wisp of a tree; banging in the stake; attaching the tree guard. 1450 times.

128DDC1E-CFE0-4063-B0C2-94439D8DED0BBut on the third day there was light – our baby woodland was planted and the sun came out for a second so that I could take a photo.

D8DAAA54-0DC2-4DDB-96F9-FA168DA426F9Here it is. One of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever done on the farm.



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