Lily Horseman

Storm Arwen has had a huge impact on many woodland sites across the UK this week. Leaving a trail of uprooted trees and tangles of brash.

This is a shocking experience for those of us who know the sites and individual trees well and it has lots of implications for the delivery of Forest School sessions. Making the site safe is an obvious first step before bringing groups back in. So is the need for us and our Forest School groups to express their grief at the loss of old friends. After the initial shock has passed, planning craft projects together that honour the wood that has been made available may be one way to process the experience. 

Tea with an old friend
Windfall and the coming of the light

Part of the long term aspect of working in woodlands is seeing the impact that the increased levels of light will have on the character of woodlands. Light = life after all. In the spring what further changes to the character of the woodland. Might you see? 

If the woodland is your responsibility then do be mindful that hung up and windblown trees can be dangerous to try and work with and remove and experienced tree workers need to be involved. Resist the temptation to tidy up too much. Beyond making access routes and basecamp areas safe a woodland’s health relies on a high volume of dead and dying wood. Leave trees in their horizontal form rather than clearing, tidying and replanting. This will create many more habitats for invertebrates, fungi and lichens.

Lifted by the roots and fallen over a path, once trees are horizontal and safe they form an important part of the woodland ecosystem.

If the woodland is owned by a third party or Local Authority do try and establish a line of communication about when work will be done. Trees that may not present a danger when they are wedged against one another will be much riskier when they start to be brought to the ground. 

A number of FSA directors are dealing with storm damage to their sites this week in both public and privately owned sites. 

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