Winter conservation in the great outdoors

Woodchip Ickworth

Whilst other places may quieten down during the winter months, our Ranger team are busy maintaining the parkland and carrying out vital conservation works.

It has been a while since our last post, when we were busy getting ready for the Wood Fair (another hugely successful weekend!) Since then, our winter conservation projects have included parkland tree planting and coppicing in Dairy Wood. We have gotten well underway and we will be busy doing this until early Spring.

Coppicing the trees in Dairy Wood
Coppicing Ickworth
Coppicing the trees in Dairy Wood

Preparations are also underway for the 2018 Wood Fair, with some Oaks already having been felled ready to be milled over the coming months.  

This time of year all our usual day to day jobs also take a lot more time. We have people calling wanting their firewood delivered as the temperatures plummet, and we have to keep the heating going at both Porter’s Lodge and up at the West Wing. Porter’s Lodge has a log burner out in the ‘Wash House’ that does the heating and hot water, and this uses a variety of hardwood species (oak, ash, beech, sycamore) that comes out of our normal woodland management such as thinning, ride widening and felling any trees that pose a safety issue.

Around 2 years ago, the West Wing heating was converted from oil to run on woodchip, all sustainably harvested from softwood on the estate. This has brought areas of woodland into much needed management, and encourages a more diverse range of native species to flourish on the woodland floor. This time of year, we deliver around 2 trailer loads per week, which does all the hot water for the café and keeps the conservation heating on in the house.

The woodchip comes from non native conifers
Wood pile and loader at Ickworth
The woodchip comes from non native conifers
 

With Christmas just gone, the team were busy putting up various Christmas trees across the property, as well as helping out within the Horringer community. We helped move and decorate the tree on the green and we fell and deliver a tree for Ickworth Park Primary School.

Loading the christmas trees to kick start the festive period
Loading the trees Ickworth
Loading the christmas trees to kick start the festive period