Our woodland work in the Tarell Valley

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Coed Carno in the Tarell Valley, South Wales, is the largest wood we own in the UK, at 38 acres. We also manage several dingles within the valley. Our long-term aim is to improve the woodland and increase its size by planting new trees and allowing natural regeneration.

The first stages of this started under the Better Woodlands for Wales scheme, which was grant aided by the Forestry Commission for Wales.

Our work

We started removing softwood trees and thinning out some of the hardwoods in 2008. This allowed natural regeneration of native trees in the wood’s seed bank.

These woods were once heavily grazed by sheep from the surrounding farms. Under the scheme, we've repaired and erected new fencing to protect the woods from sheep eating young shoots.

What happens to the timber?

The softwoods we extracted from Carno Wood were Lawson cypress and Sitka spruce. The larger pieces or saw logs were sold to a local sawmill, which processes them for use in the building industry.

Smaller diameter timber is either quarter cut and sold as hedging stakes to farmers and contractors for the local Tir Gofal agricultural scheme, or is graded and sold on as fencing posts. A local craftsman is using some of the larger over-sized pieces of Lawson cypress, carving them into various wooden ornaments for garden centres.

The hardwood removed during thinning is split and left to season. After about nine months, it's either sold locally for firewood or used in the fire at our base camp.

The income from timber helps to cover the cost of our work, along with grant funding.

During the past five years we’ve processed more than 700 tonnes of timber, erected 6.5 miles of fencing and planted 4,500 trees - all completed by our own woodland team with the assistance of five full-time volunteers.