Back at Ridden corner again today, we have shifted most of the easy to get at wood, so it is time to bring some of our machinery to bear.
To save having to move the wood by hand to the track we use our tractors with a winch and a timber crane mounted on them. First of all a bundle of the coppiced stems are selected and have chains attached to them.
The hooks on the winch cable are then attached to the chains and the winch pulls the stems out of the wood. Taking the tractors throught the middle of the wood would damage the ground flora and the stumps so we need another way to get the wood out. We don’t want to damage the stumps as later in the spring they will be sending up the new shoots which will regrow and replenish the woodland.
You can see that the winch has pulled five stems out to the edge of the wood, this saves us a lot of back breaking carrying. Next the timber crane takes over. This helps us keep manual handling to a minimum, hopefully meaning I will be seeing a bit less of my chiropractor than I have been doing the last couple of weeks!
The crane picks up the stems and places them alongside the track that runs around the coppice. The stems are pretty long, it takes a while to learn how to manouver them to the right place. Its a nice challenge though, and as the wood is coming out you can start to think about what each section might be used for.
When we have a big stack of these poles alongside the track we go back to measuring and cross cutting.
Once all the stems have been cross cut the material is put on the stacks alongside the track, the crane comes in useful again here for the bigger sections. We had a good day today, and fetched out quite a lot of wood, still a long way to go, but today it fealt like we were making good progress.