Tree felling training at Castle Hill Wood, County Durham
Another busy day for the Castle Hill Wood volunteers in October 2019.
Another busy day for the Castle Hill Wood volunteers on 16th October 2019 as we had the services of Mark, who has many years of experience, teaching us how to fell our trees as part of the thinning out process identified on the Woodland Management Plan for this ‘Planted in 2000’ County Durham wood.
The day started with our usual tool box talk and first aid kit identification, followed by a discussion starting with the fitting of new ‘green wood blades’ for the bow-saws. These blades were purchased specifically for the tree felling as they have a special saw-tooth layout which helps with clearing the sawdust generated while felling trees.
Mark then moved onto tree-felling ‘safety zones’ and the sequence of bow-saw cuts to ensure the tree falls both in the direction and the speed required. I have not covered these safety zones and felling techniques in this Whittle article as it is something that needs an experienced tutor to explain.
The group then made their way to a location in Castle Hill Wood to break into groups, where each member of the volunteer team had the opportunity to put our newly taught skills to a practical use. Quickly realising that the front and back cuts were very important to get correct – much to the surprise of the volunteers, most of the thirteen or so trees actually fell where we were targeting them, which that day was onto a section of cordoned off footpath.
While one group was cutting their fallen tree into manageable sizes and clearing away surplus twigs/ brash, the next group was being supervised with their felling. The weather was dry and day passed very quickly, punctuated with a hot soup with lunch courtesy of a Kelly Kettle stove.
The team are looking forward to another tree felling skills training day in January 2020, where more complex cuts and felling within the more densely planted areas will no doubt bring us new challenges.
Thank you to Claire and Richard from the Woodland Trust for organising this training and to Mark for supporting this ‘safe felling’ event and especially to the volunteers for a good days team work. Article prepared by Alan Wallace – Volunteer Leader.