This winter, we’ve been fixing up these old gritstone walls for stock keeping in the spring. It’s not difficult to imagine Seamus, the horse would have very easily stepped over this wall before it was repaired. Restored to former glory with the help of an English Nature rural development grant. These are available to applicants wishing to carry out works to neglected walls for the next 2 years at least. More information is available at https://www.gov.uk/…/hedgerows-and-boundaries-grant-countryside-stewardship
These ancient walls are set under the majestic soaring Curbar Edge, which must be one of my favourite gritstone edges in the Peak, boasting a brace of old Joe Brown and Don Whillans classic climbs like the Peapod and Left Eliminate, still seeing climbers off after 60 years.
It’s great to be able to put something back into these landscapes, and working with the massive, shapeless orbs of gritstone eventually becomes intuitive and the pieces do start to fit together!
This month, we have taken a few willows down. They can be a very dry and brittle timber, with a wet, spongy texture in the summer when the sap has risen. However the branches may feel fragile, they will not usually snap, as sycamore can, they will bend!
This one was growing out at about 45 degrees over a brook side in Bradwell. The owners had concerns that it may fall into their wall and garden, which given the nature of willow is very possible. If I hadn’t built their wall, we might not have been there so quickly!
A big thanks to Josh up there, who has helped me out with the tree climbing while I recuperate my health lately. I’m now back in the canopy and raring to go: but it’s much better climbing with two!
Today we have been reducing conifers; back in the leylandii now that the main bird nesting time seems to be over.
Still, we need to be careful with late nesting birds, although in Leyland cypress, there are only really pigeons interested.
Now is a good time to start thinking about hedge cutting conifers and reductions etc. The resin will be sticky, particularly on a warm day, so remember to wear suitable protection for hands and clothing when handling the waste.
We had a great few days out at Grindleford Primary School last week, reducing their trees in the trim trail area the kids use for forest school and mud kitchens etc. Unfortunately on day 2 it snowed heavily and we had to reschedule for a Sunday session! Fortunately on the Sunday, the weather was perfect, as you can see here in the pic. Some tricky dismantling over the road at Sir William Hill, with some worried looking tourists. Happy to say, not a thing dropped, not a twig! Some new rope work also and a chance to test out some new kit.
I think I am going to have a day off next week, does anyone know which day it’s not going to rain and I’ll go for a run over Froggatt!
We spent a great day out in the Peak making this rotten old silver birch safe for a customer, eventually having to remove one entire stem, which was almost entirely decomposed, with huge tell-take splits down the trunk. Not a fun climbing job, but rigging off the other (smaller) stem of the tree, we managed quite easily to swing across, remove the offending item and get down before the forecast 2 o’clock downpour! See our gallery for more details.
Thanks to Andy for the excellent ground work and Sarah for the cheeky South Indian Lamb Masala Dosas at The Hill Top Curry House stall on Buxton Market on Tuesday. Yum. Visit at www.thehilltopcurryhouse.co.uk for Sarah’s lovely South Indian food. Cookery lessons and vouchers are available as gifts!
Seems like the summer sandstone dry stone wall projects are flying off the shelf. This is for Abigail and Duncan in Bamford. turning their small wasteland into something a bit more controlled that they will now be able to manage themselves, grow some veg around and the kids will be able to enjoy playing around the garden a bit more!
Stone is new ‘out the hole’ from Ken Elliot at Shepard’s Flatt Farm at Foolow. Great for dry stone wall, good price and delivered with no fuss in to the smallest of locations! Thanks Ken. In 5 or 10 years’ time this new golden sandstone will have darkened down and gained a similar colour to the weathered local stone in the area, so is there really a point to buying in grit stone from Lancashire at over £100 a ton just for the colour? This stone is true golden Derbyshire sandstone and 150 years ago when most of the walls in Derbyshire were being built, this is what they were being built of, so in many ways, if we use this new stone instead of hankering after the weathered and worn look, we are being a lot more true to the ethos of walling, which is to use the materials of the local area in the wall.
Enjoy your wall Abigail, Duncan and family. Here’s to the next 150 years!
Bare root hedge plants are currently quite cheap and you’ll find that a lot of nurseries and online companies are having sales and promotions at the moment. This is to mark the end of the bare root season, after which hedge plants must really be planted with root ball or in pots.
Bare root is a cheap and relatively quick way to get a new hedge established or add to and thicken up an existing hedge. We like to plant mixed hedging, which provides good, thick cover, as well as making a haven to birds and other wildlife from the word go!
Hazel, beech, hornbeam and if you must, hawthorn are all popular choices for hedge plants.
Here we are in Bakewell, planting out a hedge of fagus sylvaticus (common beech) which will provide a thick, luxuriant bronze covering around this garden in years to come. We get a lot of our hedging plants from online sources like Hedges Direct.
In just a couple of years, this hedge will provide a thick, green covering, and in the winter months, a golden coloured hedge. Beech is the natural hedge plant choice for beauty. Try also hornbeam, which gives a very similar type of cover. See examples in our gallery.
Today we have been dismantling a silver birch tree. Small, but right across a really busy road and also with three BT telephone lines going through it! So not so easy. It’s great now it’s gone though and owner John got a good amount of firewood to burn next winter.
The weather this weekend has been amazing. Literally t shirt weather in late December. What a great chance to get some gardening work and late hedge cutting done. But beware of the fungi and bacteria that are still around causing disease and rot where it wouldn’t usually be at this time of the year- clear those leaf piles and get rid of waste. Well done Grindleford Community Shop , you got round to this mammoth task! Call me again next year and I’ll be happy to lend a hand and all for a cup of tea and a cake.
Winter with the wood chipper. This month and the next 2 are the season to be carrying out major tree works and disturbances. As most trees are in their dormant phase in the winter, the sap has receded into the inner parts of the tree prior to new growth, the tree is less prone to injury and inflow of fungi and harmful bacterial infections, which are less abundant in winter.
If you are looking at crown raising/lifting, crown reduction to gain more light, or just sensitive pruning work to attain a desired shape and size, then this is the best time of year.
With leaf cover gone, you will be able to get a good idea of the framework of the tree and work is a lot easier to carry out.
In addition to this, there are generally fewer plants on the ground that may become damaged at other times of the year. Winter is a great time to carry out tree work and get an image change for the New Year!
Call us now and get our free advice and estimate for your project.
We choose the timberwolf 150DHB diesel wood chipper for fast site clearance and efficient works for our clients.