Den recovery work and coppice project update: 11/08

Today is the 11th of august. Went down to the den today with a friend to discover someone one or some people had gone and spent the night there and wrecked a large percentage of my progress. Large volumes of the roof battons and shingles had been burned and significant damage was done to our resource supplies including they smashed all of our bricks collected from local skips. This has been a major step back and steps will be take to rectify the losses.

The Den.

My friend and I managed to collect all the damaged sections of planks and battons and such and all the rubbish the raiders had left behind and burn it all in a rather large bonfire in the central firepit. We cleaned up and tidied the kitchen, for they had left in quite a state. Due to the fact the raiders had only smashed or burned battons and shingles that were not attached to the roof our next job of the day was to collect all the remaining battons and shingles which had been scattered around the camp and put them onto the cabin roof. We sadly lost in the ball park of 60 shingles and 10 battons.

Putting battons on the south side of the roof.

We then decided to go and check up on the coppice project I started in January to see how progress was going. I started 4 different coppice sections this year. The first was 3 old growth stools of hazel that had overgrown and needed cutting right back to get them back into rotation. This was done on the 1st of January. These plants grew very very slowly to start off in the year and I was worried that I had killed them despite having cut them when the plants were dormant. However I was happy to see today I had shoots that were a good 2ft tall or so from the stumps and up to 3 ft in some places. I cleared away the Himalayan bolsum which had sprouted around the stumps due to the increase of light and threatened to swamp the stools.

The cleared old hazel stumps before flush cutting to ground level.
The hazel rod harvest.

I also felled on old sweet chestnut tree shortly after which was one of two recovery shoots from a fallen over older tree. This has done brilliantly with most of the shoots being 3ft tall or taller and a good diameter. The success of the sweet chestnut has encouraged me to continue to do this and to bring some younger growth into my woodlands. I have marked out two more large trees to be felled this winter as to encourage more chestnut coppices in the woods. At a later date I went down the river and felled out 3 stools of willow. This was mainly done to collect firewood that would dry very quickly to be used for the cabin. I cut these down to the ground level in February and had not seen them until today. The willows had been swamped by large volumes of undergrowth along the riverside but the runners and shoots on the willow were somewhere between 5-6ft tall. These will be perfect for harvesting this winter to use for the wattle and daub sections of my cabin project. In hind sight I should have coppiced out 20+ stools of willow. Finally due to the lock down restrictions I was able to acquire some hazel saplings that would have died due to no one being around to plant them. I planted these at the very top of the woods in a patch of cleared brambles in the clearing of an ash thicket. I am hoping to start a hazel coppice here over the years to come.

The hazel stools are look very healthy.

Published by The Den Workshop

I am a 21 year old woodsman who lives in the woods in my timber framed cabin.

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