Who’s the new kid on the block?

Clouds gathering

Clouds gathering

Tom's the new

Tom’s the new ranger

Passing by

Passing by

Recently Tom Swanbourne was successful in being asked to fill the new Folly Ranger post on the Wimpole Estate. His main duty will be to take  the general public on walks and explain the history of the Folly and adjacent landscape (as well as its wildlife now and then). He will also be maintaining the area directly around the Folly so that it does not scrub up. However, he will also be working with the forestry team undertaking work across the estate when required. His first day of work was more of an introduction to the estate and what lovely stormy weather we had over on Rectory Farm.

Replacing dead trees in the folly field

Replacing dead trees in Folly Field

Planting oaks at Valley farm

Planting oaks at Valley Farm

The first job for everyone else on Monday was to plant the remaining bare rooted trees. The Folly Field had a number of trees that had died and these needed to be replaced; then there was Cambridge Road Farm to do and, as Tom had finished with his introduction by the afternoon, he came and helped us to plant some trees at Valley Farm.

Tom's first proper day at work

Tom’s first proper day at work

What on earth are these two up to

What on earth are these two up to ?

Planting sticks!

Planting sticks!

With time still to spare, the team then went back to Cobbs Wood Farm to finish off  the hedge we had laid on the last hedge laying course. (Quite difficult because the remaining hedge had to be laid around a corner.) Actually there was quite a bit of work to do so the team returned the next day to finish it off- the bramble and scrub in the adjacent ditch had to be cleared away and chipped and, having taught Tom the finer points of Midland binding, we left him to it ( he did a good job actually). Another little job to do was to start to put some spare willow rods into the ground – we hope that these will start to grow and eventually produce some thick willow binders for our hedge laying. At present we buy them in from Foxcotte Fencing in Barton.

Some of our wood has been sold to a local firewood merchant

Some of our wood has been sold to a local firewood merchant

It’s now getting to be time to sell some of the timber we have felled over the last few years; with no biofuel boiler for wood chip planned for the estate in the near future we are going to have to find a reasonable market for this wood. Last year William Knight bought some wood to cut up and sell for logs but a new job made this venture nigh on impossible so he sold up. This year local firewood merchant Marcus has asked if he can buy the wood for logging and is at present loading his Bedford MJ lorry with wood to take back to his yard and convert to logs. We have plenty to sell to him 🙂

Siding the other hedge in the south avenue

Siding the other hedge in the South Avenue

Chipping the lime brash

Chipping the lime brash

With a drying wind and (sort of) blue skies we could get the tractor back onto the South Avenue to remove the brash from the hedge, side up with chainsaws (Tom’s job) and chip up. Took a whole day to go two hundred metres- hard work and, at this rate, it’ll take a week just to do one side. So much chipping to be done! By Friday lunchtime we had almost reached half way.

Broken pto shaft!

Broken PTO shaft!

Blast and damn! The PTO failed late Friday afternoon. Oh well, at least we had had a good day’s work. Time to call it a day!

The Jagdterrier puppies are growing

The Jagdterrier puppies are growing

Week four and the Jagdterrier puppies are growing; they are also getting up to quite a lot of mischief and escaping their compound- time to build it a bit higher or else they’ll be everywhere!

Wont be long now

Won’t be long now…

The scaffolding is now in the process of being taken down and it’s Tom’s job to beautify the mess!!!!!!!! With a little help from his team mates of course 🙂

About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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