Wednesday 28 October 2015

Creating wood pasture at Corehead

As winter approaches, we have started work on a very exciting project at Corehead. We are preparing for some new planting that is  quite different to the large scale woodland restoration we have done to date at Corehead. This time we are putting 50 trees on the slopes in our farmed area to create wood pasture.
Wood pasture is a habitat where trees grow and animals graze beneath. The trees are widely spaced and the grazing animals are often sheep, cows or even deer. It's an important habitat of which there is little left of in Scotland. SNH have produced an excellent booklet on wood pasture.
We decided to plant 50 trees on the slopes between the Beeftub and our largest native woodland plantation in Tweedhope. It's the ideal spot for wood pasture and will have a real visual impact when people approach Corehead or look down from the A701 from the Devils Beeftub.
The idea was to scatter the trees at random across the slopes, so armed with spades and marker posts the volunteers headed out to do the necessary preparation.

Volunteers heading up the hill

Once we decided on a site we cut out a square of turf. This will help to minimise any weed and grass competition when the trees are planted.

Volunteer Martin cutting out the turf
We then marked the site with a post and coloured tape so we could find it again.

And we're ready to go!
As the trees will be planted in areas where there are grazing animals, they will need a high level of protection. In this case we decided to build tree boxes. These are quite simple but effective and sturdy structures that will protect the tree from browsing.

This is what our tree boxes will look like when they are finished
We agreed that where possible we should use our own wood and when Treesurv were in doing the felling for our shelter project, they kindly felled a few extra for us to process into tree boxes.

Scott standing next to some of the wood we were going to process and dog Mia checking how stable they were!
We were fortunate to get help from local expert Keith Threadgall who came to Corehead for the day with his mobile sawmill.

With help from Scott, Keith was able to turn a pile of logs into nearly enough rails for all of our tree boxes!

Keith and Scott loading the timber onto the mill

Keith working the mill
Scott measuring up the freshly cut rails
The finished product!
And he even had enough time to let us have a go.

Since then we've moved all the materials onto the site and have started to build the boxes. Once these are done they will be planted with a number of different tree species including Oak and Elm. Do pop across to Corehead to see the work as it's happening. The boxes that have been built to date already give you an idea of the impact that mature trees will have on this beautiful site.
Site Officer

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