In 2013 we planted around 10,000 hardwood trees over 12 hectares creating 'Haytongate Wood'. The land had previously been rough, badly drained grazing with mature trees around the margins. The Forestry Commission allowed us to choose a name for this new wood. With hindsight I think we were a bit unimaginative!
The initial plan was to roughly mirror the mix of species found in the surrounding area plus to include a few extra species for added interest. However, a few months before planting ash dieback hit so we had to remove ash (which were going to be about 40% of the total) from the equation. The final list was - Alder, Aspen, Birch, Crab Apple, Blackthorn, Gean, Hazel, Holly, Lime, Maple, Oak, Rowan, Spindle, Sycamore, Walnut and Willow .
They are doing very well except for a few of the fast growing Alder and Birch that have been been blow over by the huge gales we have encountered and the walnut trees that have twice been severely damaged by frost. The walnuts have happily survived (see photo above) but we will likely end up with walnut bushes rather than trees!
Creating a new wood and seeing the trees battling the elements, surviving, thriving and slowly but surely expanding has been very rewarding. It's unlikely we will use wood from the new planting in the near future for Hardwood Gifts, however it seems right to be creating new wood that more than replaces the wood that we are using.
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