Tree felling in 2019

At the beginning of the year, major tree felling work took place in Fineshade Wood, particularly the areas close to Top Lodge. This was some of the most significant felling carried out in recent years and included removing all the mature pine trees from around the main car park.

On this page we reported on the progress of the work, the areas of the wood that were closed for safety reasons and included some before-and-after pictures. 

The new-look carpark with imported stone

Top Lodge carpark - dramatic changes

 

Many visitors were unprepared for what they saw when they arrived at Top Lodge despite FC's attempts to inform them of what was happening in advance. It certainly was quite a shock.

 

All the Corsican Pines around the main carpark were clear-felled. The logs were removed and the branches mulched. Fencing was erected and work carried out to renew the hard-surfaced areas.

 

Behind a fence to the southeast of the parking areas, the Forestry Commission planted small trees. They intend to sow grass seed 

between the parking bays and next winter larger trees will also be planted there.

So the re-styled carpark will gradually become greener but for now it is very stark with new fence posts, gravel and huge blocks of grey rock which must have been brought from some quarry a very long way away. They certainly do not look like the gentle orange-coloured local stone that could have been sourced from nearby quarries. 

Large area of rest the wood were also thinned by heavy felling and harvesting machines. Logs were piled in stacks and subsequently taken away by timber lorries.

Replanting 

Hearing that the Forestry Commission intended to replant the area around the carpark, several Friends of Fineshade with forestry and conservation expertise came up with a plan to plant as many different species of native trees as possible - creating a sort of arboretum to showcase the range of British tree species. We argued that planting ONLY native species would provide maximum biodiversity gain.

Unfortunately we were told that the FC Central Area Office at Sherwood had decided instead that there will be NO native species. They published the following, explaining that decision.  

"The replanting will see a careful selection of new crop introduced to Fineshade Wood that will bring with it, a vibrant selection of colour and a variety of new textures.

"Some of the species include Red Oak, Holm Oak, Red Maple, Tulip Tree, Ginkgo Biloba and Serbian Spruce. Our foresters have decided on and selected tree species for their autumnal colour, ability to deal with predicted climate change and with these species, there is currently no known disease."


And what about biodiversity? Will these tree species host as many insects, fungi, bryophytes, birds, spiders etc. as native trees? Does that matter?

Mulched area beside the car park

Approaching carpark from the wood

Thinning areas of the wood

A resident's view

A surreal moment as the last few trees were felled near the houses.

Harvester starting work in the car park

The view from the houses around Fineshade village green suddenly changed for ever, and residents had to get used to looking out on a carpark rather than a bank of trees. We certainly looked forward to spring when the emerging leaves on the remaining hedge line provided some screening

It took just 3 days to fell all the trees around the carpark (see picture left). The felling was carried out by a machine called a harvester. We timed how long it takes to fell a tree, remove all the side branches and cut the trunk into pre-determined length. It can do the whole process in just 8 seconds!

A much slower job was then carried out by a 'forwarder'. This picked up the felled logs and transported them to log-piles where they are stored while awaiting sale. All the logs from the carpark were carried about 500m through a conifer plantation to be stored for a while alongside Justice Riding - the long straight roadway that runs through the centre of the wood. From there they are taken away to the sawmill on huge timber lorries.

The following week there was further landscape changes for residents as more trees were clear-felled close to the houses and, for some, mains electricity was temporally be replaced by a generator supply.

Forwarder picking up logs...

... and stacking them 500m away.

Before and after

Before and after: the beginning of  trails at the east end of the carpark

Before and after: the entrance to the carpark

Before and after: the view from near Top Lodge

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