I have always really liked the jobs that mark the turning of the year. They help me keep track with the passing of the seasons, and measure time. One of my favourite of these sort of jobs is putting up the Christmas tree in Haslemere Town Centre. We donate one every year, I think it is a really nice way of placing a demonstration of our management of the woods on public display, its also a nice way of giving a little bit back to our local supporters and community.

This years one came from Valewood, less than a mile from the town centre. We use it as a method of gradually thinning our plantations of Norway Spruce. This thinning of the trees allows more light to reach the woodland floor. It encourages the remaining trees to grow to their full potential and encourages a more diverse ground flora within the wood.

Unfortunately we ran out of suitably sized trees some years ago and are now using the top half of a much larger tree. Must get around to planting some more sometime soon. I haven’t planted many non native softwoods in my time, its not normally what we do these days, I am sure we will be able to find a space for some future christmas tree’s though.

We do get some funny looks driving it down into the town. When I first started doing it years ago we used to put it up on a Sunday morning using lots of ropes (and not a little swearing), the tractor mounted crane has made life a lot easier for us though, it usually works out in the woods, but gets pressed into service in the town centre once a year.

There is a ready prepared concreted hole hidden under a manhole in the grass next to the War Memorial. Unfortunately being a person of little brain power most years I manage to forget exactly what size the hole is. Some years ago I sought to remedy this by writing down its size and putting it in the files in the office. All I need to do now is remember to take it back out of the files on the appropriate day and we will be sorted! Until then it will continue to be a case of using a chainsaw to carve the base of the tree to fit on the green in front of the town hall.

Putting up the tree in front of an audiance of passers by is always a bit high pressure, but it all went smoothly (this year anyway!) I reckon this years one looks quite pretty, especially with its covering of cones.

Happy Christmas Haslemere, hope you like your tree!

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