Toys are us

Standish wood September 2016

There are some jobs where getting some serious pieces of kit in is the only option when you want to get the work done

An 360 excavator and dump truck working at the entrance to Robbers road Standish wood

As per my previous post, work has commenced in Standish woods to resurface some of the forestry tracks and Cotswold Way. These tracks were prone to waterlogging and would be extremely muddy in wet conditions. The aim is to provide an all weather surface that drains well even during the wetter periods of the year. Although I have received some negative comments from a couple of horse riders about the stone proving too hard for the horses hooves, generally the reception has been positive particularly from walkers who appreciate the fact that they won’t have to walk through a quagmire when it rains.


The 2nd excavator leveling out the new stone surface ready for rolling along part of the Cotswold ay in Standish Wood

The next stage of work for the contractors is to re-grade the car park at Ash Lane and the main parking area at Shortwood, where the Cotswold Way enters/exits the car park and around the interpretation panel. Again when it’s wet, the ground conditions here can be muddy and slippy as visitors make there way through the gateway onto the open grassland. A new stone surface will be laid and edged to provide all weather access into and out of the car park and hopefully you will see an improvement if you use the site.

As I’m showing a couple of photos with big machines working away, I thought I would add a couple more showing what else is going on and not just at Haresfield. My colleague Matt is currently having some felling done at Ebworth in Workmans wood. Long gone are the days of a couple of men cutting trees down with a gigantic saw, axes a couple of wedges and a prayer. Now the forestry guys employ one of these

John Deere forestry harvester felling Douglas Fir in Workmans wood

I won’t get too technical about the machine, enough to say it weighs 20 tonnes, has six wheel drive and a “floating” cab. The cutting head grabs a tree at its base, cuts through it and then a group of rollers pulls the tree through the de-limbing blades and cuts the timber to a predetermined size. The trees can measure up to 30m in height and can be cut and processed in under a minute. Try doing that by hand! Needless to say these machines are not cheap and can cost the price of a small house. They have to process alot of timber to pay for them.

Once the timber has been felled and cut to size the next machine to come in is the forwarder which is a tractor and specially designed trailer that can lift the timber off the woodland floor and deliver to what is called a timber landing ready for haulage by lorry.

Mixed Haresfield 2012 147
Tractor and forwarding trailer off loading turkey oak

As you can see in the picture above the tractor is coupled with a hydraulic boom and grab that does all the heavy lifting. The trailers are capable of carrying several tonnes of timber at a time across very uneven ground so are rugged and practical. This was a job done for many centuries by large teams of heavy horses dragging timber stems around, nowadays the only horsepower is that associated with the tractor. Probably not as romantic but the operators have to be very skilled to get in and out of the woods without creating too much damage.


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