After the snow fall at the end of November 2021 I walked around the National Trust’s Dunham Massey estate in Cheshire, mostly in the oak woodland of the deer park. I made this video using a new iPhone Pro 13. We see fallen and decaying trees, fallow deer, the old brick slaughterhouse tower, ducks in the moat in front of the House.
The release of Denis Villeneuve’s wonderful film of the first half of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” has coincided with the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, but few reviewers have made the connection because the book’s ecological themes are largely absent from the screen version.Continue reading “Forests of Dune”
Last month I had a problem with the tractor not starting and I ended up replacing the carburettor and the fuel lines. I also improved the ground clearance with a “pulley cut”, and this post also shows some modifications I made to the car trailer I use to bring firewood home from Century Wood.Continue reading “Wood Tractor 3: new carburettor”
The toilet shed was the first building I put up at the wood, way back in 2009. This post talks through the original design with photos I took at the time. All before it was ever used in case you’re worried 🙂 In short, it’s an off grid composting toilet set up with separate chambers and seats for liquids vs solids+liquids.
I based the building on a shed kit from Tiger Sheds. It’s an 8ft by 6ft apex shed which cost £248 in 2009. Since 2009 the average price rise across the economy has only been about 30%, but timber has sky rocketed. The equivalent shed now costs over £700!Continue reading “Off Grid Toilet at Century Wood”
This week Century Wood received Grown in Britain certification. This allows us to display the red, blue and green logo here on the website and in association with firewood if I start selling it in the future.Continue reading “Grown in Britain certification for Century Wood”
The Drying Barn at Century Wood has made a big difference since I put it up in 2018. This post shows how the barn was built and then some pictures from September after another good tidy up of the stuff it “accumulates” – like garden sheds do, almost by themselves.
These two pictures show the Barn as it is now and one of the sketches I drew in January 2018 before I started. It’s next to the Log Cabin in the Glade at the centre of the wood.Continue reading “The Drying Barn”
A few years ago I wrote a post about visiting the National Trust’s Allan Bank in the Lake District and photographing its red squirrels. In August I went back and made a video showing more of the squirrels and the interior of the house. Making this video gave me a chance to try out my new iSteady Mobile+ gimbal in a demanding location with a lot of rough ground and steps, and I intend to use it for more videos at Century Wood itself.
One of the attractive features of coppice selection is that you can do it at any time of the year. It’s even less seasonal than traditional “simple coppicing” where you fell a whole coup at a time, since you’re leaving the smaller stems, and their leaves, in place to thicken up in future years. In either case, checking for birds nests in spring and summer is a lot more reliable with these smaller trees than when felling big mature standards.
This photo shows some logs from a small elm that I’m about to cart off to the Barn for splitting and stacking. In the background, on the left is the base of a hazel that I’d harvested already. On the right you can see a rotten, shaded out plantation poplar that I took down for safety as it was right on the edge of the ride, but I left the trunk on the ground as deadwood.
Last month I attended the RFS “intermediate level silviculture” one day course run by Julian Evans at his wood, Northdown Plantation, near Overton in Hampshire. I read his book “A wood of our own” in October 2007 before I bought Century Wood, and it was part of my decision to buy a wood. I’ve said before that it’s “the book I compare other woodland owners’ books against”. So it was very special to finally visit the wood itself.
There were two dozen of us there on the day: a mixture of small woodland owners like me; staff of wildlife trusts, the National Trust, and Windsor Great Park; and independent forestry consultants. The RFS helpfully provide Continuing Professional Development certificates for courses like this to people who need them.Continue reading “Visiting Northdown Plantation”
Century Wood is called Century Wood because it was first planted up as woodland by the Duke of Sutherland around 1900. The Leveson-Gower family gradually accumulated land in Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire over several centuries. Their stewardship ultimately affected the pattern of land ownership today and even what the land looks like.
There were a lot of Leveson-Gowers, but I’m only going to pick out three that made the most difference to how Century Wood looks today.Continue reading “The Duke’s woodland”