Saturday, 31 December 2016

What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love And Understanding?

Once in a while we encounter people who are not happy about our planting trees. We are very conscious of boundary disputes, ownership issues, access rights, and interrupting householder's views. We plan our plantings accordingly.

Legally, neighbours can complain about hedges, if they consist of evergreen plants which are over two metres tall, and which affect the enjoyment of a house or garden.

Nothing we have ever planted (in 50+ years) has ever met these conditions.

But, we don't want to get drawn into neighbour disputes, and so are even more careful than the law requires us to be. We look at sight lines from houses, and will not plant where we think a neighbours view from their house or garden will be affected. We also refuse to plant evergreen hedges, even when a landowner requests them. Our plantings always comprise a mix of predominantly deciduous species.

Despite this, it is still not possible to entirely avoid neighbour ire.

Today we were planting a shelter belt between fields on a hillside. A mix of deciduous 20-40cm saplings, 2 metre spacing. The owners of the neighbouring field above where we were planting came out to tell us in very robust terms that the trees would be blocking the view of the valley from their land.

The trees we were planting today were at least 100 metres from their house, and there was no sight line from their house or garden - the only sight lines that may eventually be interrupted are from some non-permanent farming type structures, wooden sheds and some metal cages (for livestock?). It is unlikely that the deciduous trees we planted today will ever entirely block the view of the valley even from these temporary structures, and will not remotely impinge on it for at least 10 years. The fields slope quite steeply, and the planting was taking place well below the footings of even the temporary structures in the field above. But, the neighbours were, without doubt, very upset indeed.

Its a shame that this happened, and it was quite stressful - but brave efforts were made to reassure the neighbours, and our collective conscience is clear.

We have the full permission of the landowner for the planting we have agreed, and material and support from the Woodland Trust for the project. The rest of the planned planting is even further away from and further below the the level of the neighbours house.

We were: myself, Philip, Dave, Geoff, PA, Maxime, Claudine, Edouard, Tanya, Ben and Solo the Dog, Jess, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Adrian, Peter T., Lesley, Robert, Hap and Sarah.

Back at the pub Dianne provided us with surplus Christmas cheese and crackers, and even cooked a pan of chestnuts on the open fire. A lovely end to an otherwise testing morning.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Whatever happened to Christmas

Edouard and PA.

Well despite it being Christmas Eve, a demented/devoted few of us turned up at the nursery and spent a lovely morning cutting up logs. We earned our home made mince pies.

We were: myself, Philip, Geoff, PA, Maxime, Claudine, Edouard, Dave and Tanya.

Happy holidays everybody!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

A forest

Philip, fettling.

Here we were today at Royd House Wood. We were thinning out some trees planted around 20 years ago. Kirklees land, and Kirklees forestry officers had marked up the trees for removal by us.

We were: Ben (solo, without Solo), Philip and chainsaw, Stephen K. and chainsaw, Stephen O., Steve, Hap, Tanya, Jess, Dianne and Johnathan, John, Guy, Peter, Dave and some Aldi liqueur , Adrian, and myself.

We filled over 3 bays of our drying sheds with the fruits of our labour.

Cake was pineapple upside down cake, followed later by Guy and Mandy's winter feast at the Sair (curry, sausages, many side-dishes). Geoff (poorly) joined us at the Sair.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Lonely boy

Back up to Huck Hill this morning to plant the last dozen trees on my own. We did seem to have dug slightly too many holes when we were preparing the other week though. There are 11 empty screefs, 12 guards, and 14 stakes left over. Maybe if there is something suitable left over at the end of the season I will pop back and fill these in...

Saturday, 10 December 2016


A Hogarthian scene.
We were back at Butterley Clough finishing off. Or was it finishing us off? (Thanks Guy). Not only is it a pig to get to, it is also, in places, very rocky. I could have built Stonehenge with the stuff I dug up.

Anyway, we were: Steve, Lee, Jess, Cath, Dianne and Lizzie the Dog,  Duncan and Harvey the Dog, Andrew, Hap, Dave, Ben and Solo the dog, Lesley, Robert, Geoff, myself, Philip, Adrian, Susan and Stephen.

The 200+ trees got planted, and fruit cake got eaten. Onwards!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Climb

Hap in attention seeking beatific pose.
Today we were at Butterley, deep in the clough, which made it steep, to say the least. We were: myself, Steve, Philip, Adrian (half session), Geoff, Dave, Jess, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Hap, Stephen, and Andrew. We planted 105 Sessile Oak, and I think, 105 Scots Pine.

Cake was chocolate.

Pictures by Jess this week, with her Motorola G4 (sponsorship opportunity?).

Surrender yourself to this epic power ballad, which, lyrically, pretty much sums up this morning.

Deep in the clough.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Apology song

Today we ventured back to Huck Hill, planting another 60 trees, and digging holes for the remaining 30. We were: myself, Stephen, Dave, Hap and Tanya.

Tanya arrived by bicycle, and we gave her a bit of a lecture about her rather casual approach to bicycle security. Hence today's title and song.