The great outdoors through all weathers

A tractor hauling logs in frosty woods at Ickworth Suffolk

While many may not venture out in the colder weather of the winter months, our outdoor teams still have vital conservation and maintenance work to do across the parkland.

Coppicing

A key winter job for the Ranger team is coppicing areas of woodland. Through Lownde Wood larger trees including Ash, Alder, and some small groups of Scots Pine have been removed; ensuring plenty of light reaches the woodland floor. Some larger oak trees are also felled, with one eye on good timber to mill into planks, but also considering good trees to leave to grow on and also trees which have large crowns and so the impact this has on the light reaching the ground for regeneration. All the larger timber is used, whether for milling, firewood or biomass, with the brash either burnt or left in habitat piles. 

Rangers burning brash while coppicing in the woods
Coppicing in the woods at Ickworth, suffolk
Rangers burning brash while coppicing in the woods

Tree Planting

During the very hot summer months, some of the trees we had planted out over last winter had died despite our best efforts at watering them. We grow on plenty of saplings from acorns collected here so we are beginning to replant these. We will also be planting new trees in some areas of the park. These will need to be guarded for several years to protect them from sheep and deer.

Ranger volunteers with newly planted trees
Volunteers at Ickworth, Suffolk with new planted trees guarded by fencing
Ranger volunteers with newly planted trees

Christmas

The winter months see the Rangers and Garden teams busy leading workshops and walks as well as the day-to-day jobs! This year this included winter planting, Wreaths and Hazel Christmas trees as well as Greenery Gathering Walks. The teams also put up trees for the Village, Ickworth Park Primary and around the House and West Wing.

Final touches at our Hazel Tree workshops
Visitor bending close and finishing off their hazel christmas tree in a workshop at Ickworth Suffolk
Final touches at our Hazel Tree workshops

Main Season Preparations

The Garden team use the winter months to prepare for the coming spring and summer months. More bulbs are being planted in the North Border to give more seasonal interest and the meadow at the Walled Garden has been sprayed ready for the meadow to be seeded. Also down at the Walled Garden, more areas have gone to grass as easier areas to manage. The Stumpery continues to be refreshed and is well worth a look to see the new beds that have been created. 

Whats happening next?

The Ranger team will continue with core conservation work through until March, with new trees being planted as well. The Gardeners will continue preparations for the main season, and general maintenance on the Italianate garden.