While we were away, the cutting down of dead and overgrown wood had been nearly finished and another massive bonfire constructed. Sir John the tree feller has since cut some awkwardly placed ash branches, which would be likely to fall on the new fence before too long, and the stable remains have all been cleared away. Jonny the farmer has started putting in the new fenceposts and I expect the whole job will be done in the next week or so. It’s about a five acre field, not huge.
We had a chat with John and arranged to meet on another field down by the river – there are a lot of very overgrown willows which need cutting back. Some have already fallen, others have lost branches, they will branch out again if they’re cut. You can’t kill a willow by cutting it down and even a couple of the fallen ones have continued to put out new growth. There are also alders and various other trees – some work has been done on a regular basis but the bigger job has been too much for the friend who’s helped. I’ve got to speak to the people who own the road down to the field though – we have a right of way but it wouldn’t be fair not to tell them about it, explain what needs to be done and ask if there are any considerations we should think of.
The field used to be an orchard, but the trees all blew down in the famous ‘hurricane’ of 1987 – it was a domino effect, they fell one onto another and there was hardly a tree standing and those few were leaning over. There was nothing to do but to clear the whole orchard, though the trees round the periphery were left. There was one fine oak still standing on a small island in the middle, but it fell over in a minor gale a couple of years later. We could only think that it had been protected for all those years and the least wind buffeted it to destruction. The trunk, cut into four vertically and turned, became the legs of our oak refectory table.