Through storms and spring
Discover the work of the outdoors teams at Ickworth through storm damage and preparations for spring
For much of January and February the Ranger team have been focusing on coppicing in Lownde Wood. All the Hazel was cut down to stimp where it will re-shoot in spring, medium sized Ash, Sycamore and Silver Birch have also been removed and will be used for firewood, and 8 of the Oaks, known as ‘standards’ which were essentially planted as a crop have been felled to be milled for the Wood Fair. It is vital to remove these larger Oaks, to allow enough light in for the Hazel and ground flora to flourish, and the Oaks that remain will then have more space to grow.
Over January and February, we replaced trees in existing guards across the estate, including a couple of commemorative Oaks. We also had a few larger trees in our nursery, which were due to go out before they got any bigger, so we looked on the planting plan and found locations for these. Two Beech went in on Mansion Meadow and some Field Maples were planted in Kings Meadow. Last year’s saplings which had been growing in pots, were also moved over to the nursery to grow on for a year or two.
The Rangers met with National Trust and Norfolk River Trust wildlife advisors to walk along the River Linnet to assess opportunities for enhancing wildlife value. Generally, it was felt the River was looking in good condition, with more of the ‘natural areas’ providing the best habitat. This is where the river meanders between the Fairy Lake and Canal, and near to the White House. Hawthorne, Willow and other trees provide dappled shade, with deadwood falling into the river creating blockages and changing the flow and creating more natural meanders and riffles and pools. Some areas, for instance through Saxham End, have very little shade and are pretty much dead straight. Along this section, we have been undertaking some recommended work of planting some Hawthorne and Willow, which when growing will provide shade.
Storm Ciara and Dennis
Over two successive weekends in February, we were hit with Storm Ciara and Dennis. The park was shut, and after each we conducted a post storm survey of all the main visitor routes and areas as well as all the properties on the estate which takes the best part of a day. Nothing significant came down apart from a couple of parkland trees; a Scots Pine in Saxham End, some softwoods in Horsepool Wood, and a dead Oak near the Dairy Farm buildings which destroyed a new tree guard in the process. These were all swiftly cleared by the team
What are we doing next?
Over Spring we will aim to cut most of our firewood for sale in the winter of 2020/21, with all our 2019/20 supply now delivered. Gates and fences will be repaired on the South Park and other gates will be adjusted around the estate. Ground conditions are very wet, which will hamper extraction of timber. Timber that can be collected without causing too much damage will be.