Sunshine and rain;  this has been an exceptional year for tree growth.   Some of the young oaks behind the Deersheds on the Staunton Ridgeway are more than eight feet high.   They were planted as two foot whips in December 2016, with help from all of our sixteen grandchildren.   The Dubai contingent spent Christmas with us that year, but now they are here permanently, running an hotel near Hay on Wye.

‘Etiolated,’  there’s a good word.   It refers to plants, in my case trees, which are drawn up long and spindly through being grown too close together.    It’s a condition we risk creating in some of the woods at Coleorton, planted after opencast coal mining some twenty five years ago.   To prevent it we need to fell more than half the trees, giving the remainder room to expand their crowns.    This also lets light through to the forest floor, benefiting plants and living creatures, including ourselves;   I always find myself drawn towards a dappled clearing.

Luckily there is a good use for the trees we take out as logs for open fires and wood-burning stoves.   At our sawmill we cut, dry, and deliver more logs than anyone hereabouts, and this year all our timber is coming from woods in the National Forest.

These scattered woods at Coleorton are rented out for a range of quiet occupations;  family woods, archery, even husky racing.   At present we have two small woods available to rent.   Please email me if this could be of interest.