So- to business and to put those skills to the test, with two jobs that required delicate management, and careful planning.
The first was a large Silver Birch, (Betula pendula) that had fallen into another tree and was threatening to fall into a road near Buckland- in- the- Moor on Dartmoor. We had a mixed group working on this tree, and it was safely winched down, de-limbed. Cross cut and stacked and the site swept and blown clean prior to this shot being taken.
The group then moved on to a much more challenging task, that of removing a very large fallen Japanese Red Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) adjacent to the Canoe Lake at River Dart Country Park. This involved, ensuring that a safe working zone was set up excluding the public, and then the large windblown stem had all the foliage and branches removed for chipping, was cut into (barely!) manageable pieces, and then loaded onto a tractor and trailer.
The timber was under a lot of tension and compression, and it took a lot of skill from the group to successfully remove this timber, without damage to the surrounding trees, the chainsaws- or themselves!
This job removed an important hazard from a public area, and allowed this section of the park to be made safe and used by the public again.
At the end of this week the group went into the work place, and are currently impressing various local employers by putting these skills into practice for them.
A hard week all round. A small group of Arb Academy apprenticeship students from KJ Thulborn, are preparing for their tree felling tests next week. It has been very, very hot and humid, and stumbling around a woodland in chainsaw gear, has proved to be very tiring work- despite this we all kept our spirits up, and had a good time of it!
We were asked to line thin, (aka rack out) a Clinton Devon Estate woodland to assist the harvester extraction of timber. It was predominantly Larch, and had a wonderfully challenging understorey of bramble and windblown trees. Four days in, and the lads had completed their designated racks and started new ones.
The timber was being converted into a variety of forms, long straight eight foot bars, smaller straighter five foot six inch stakes, and all the rest for 2.3m chip to power the biomass boiler for the estate. The skill was in accurately felling the trees, and using their knowledge to remove the branches and correctly convert the timber accurately to the required lengths. As this timber is being sold and used, there is no margin for error.
Hot and sometimes frustrating work, but excellent on the job experience, in a realistic forestry environment, and most importantly, invaluable practice before the assessment next Wednesday.
Good Luck Guys!!