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Forest chiefs are feeling so chipper about the prospects for woodfuel in Cumbria that they are supporting a series of free demo days to help woodland owners tap into a growing asset.
Over 40% of the county’s woodlands are thought to be undermanaged – which is a loss to the rural economy and also bad for wildlife.
Now Cumbria Woodlands backed by the Forestry Commission is inviting owners to on-site practical demonstrations of how even small and difficult to access sites can be worked and the true potential of woods unlocked.
Clare Dyson from Cumbria Woodlands said:
“Even shelter belts used by farmers to shield livestock can be successfully and sustainably worked. Small really can be beautiful and you don’t need deep pockets and giant harvesting machinery to work a site. Green energy is an expanding market and ensuring we supply more of this demand for woodfuel from locally grown sources here in Cumbria makes economic as well as environmental sense.”
James Anderson Bickley from the Forestry Commission added:
“There’s a massive opportunity to make more of our woods. Woodfuel prices have increased significantly over the past 10 years which makes harvesting far more economically viable. Machinery has also been developed allowing smaller sites on difficult terrain to be worked. These demo days are a great way for owners to talk to experts and make more of their land.”
An event is being planned for March 2013 (exact date to be confirmed) with compact harvesting and chipping equipment, log splitters and other machinery being put through their paces. Ways of updating traditional working methods with imaginative, low tech adaptations will also be shown.
Well managed woods with cycles of felling and planting or coppicing are good for wildlife - woodland birds in particular do better in dynamic and diverse habitats rather than neglected and over-grown ones.
More practical workshops are also being planned. They include:
- 7 November at Cockermouth Auction Mart focused on farm forestry;
- 17 January at Low Beckside Farm (Newton Rigg), Penrith, on adding value to timber products; and
- 28 February 2013 timber extraction at Miltonrigg, Brampton.
For further information and to reserve places contact Clare Dyson at Cumbria Woodlands on 01539 822140, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cumbriawoodlands.co.uk/ .
NOTE TO EDITOR:
- This press release was edited on 2 October 2012 to indicate that the date of the demonstration day had been rescheduled to March 2013.