The weather is always a favourite topic of conversation; it is either too cold or hot or perhaps too wet or dry. The most remarkable thing about the winter so far, apart from the dry and largely fine weather, has been its extraordinary stillness. Right through the autumn and for the whole of January conditions were almost completely windless and that must surely be yet another record breaker.
Winter time is always a busy time for the chainsaws. As soon as people see a chainsaw they imagine that it is all about felling trees but in fact this is only the case where trees are leaning over public footpaths and the Valley Trail. Better a felled tree than one falling on someone’s head!
Coppicing and pollarding are both being carried out at the moment and these are tree management techniques that provide a very long-term renewable source of timber as well as providing excellent wildlife habitat and a traditional look to the landscape. Before our throwaway plastic era such management was the norm. Now it is so unusual that people are totally unfamiliar with it and see it as ‘cutting down’ trees which, of course, is not the case; it merely continues something that was an important part of our countryside culture.
In Cornard Country Park the Sudbury Common Lands Charity has planted another half a dozen fruit trees with the assistance of a few pupils from the Thomas Gainsborough Academy. The trees were provided by the Dedham Vale Project, and added to the trees planted through the parish council, bringing the total number of fruit trees to sixty two. All these trees will, in due course, provide a valuable resource for wildlife by way of blossom and fruit. In the meantime they will take some time to become established.