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What to do first?

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What to do first?

Postby Sanny1978 » Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:12 am

Good Morning All!

Firstly I would like to say hello this is my first post.

I am currently in the process of purchasing a little barn, this sits in an acre of wood. The barn is already a holiday let, some of the wood has been thinned out a little to allow more light in. However probably half of it has just been left to do its own thing.

My question is...

What should be the first thing I need to do/should do?

In my uneducated view, I would like to tidy it up a bit. Maybe clear a little walk through to a seating area. The wood is positioned on the side of a valley and is quite steep in places. Not sure if this would make any difference.

We also love bluebells, would clearing and letting light in help them appear?

Anyway I'm starting to babble on.

Any info would be gladly received.

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Re: What to do first?

Postby boxerman » Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:30 pm

I think the general advice is to pretty much sit on it for a year to get the feel of the place and see what appears. I guess the idea is that only by watching it through four seasons will you actually know what is there.
Phil for my Badger videos
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Re: What to do first?

Postby oldclaypaws » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:07 pm

On larger woods, Phil (Boxerman) is correct, and I'm sure he will be doing that when he eventually gets a wood himself. He's currently going on theory rather than experience, but has apparently paid close attention to what's been said before, Lol.

As the wood has a holiday let in it I'd say the first priority is the safety and amenity for the visitors. If there are steep hazardous parts where someone could slip and injure themselves you might want to fence them off and leave it as 'jungle'. I trust you'll be having liability insurance, Gary at Beechtree Insurance can offer you a competative package. If their are any larger dead or diseased trees you'll want to get them made safe and felled so they don't squash your visitors or come down on the barn. Fill in any holes and cover or remove any shallow roots people could trip over. Overhanging brambles can also be a hazard and scratch, so I'd keep on top of them. Clear them from along your paths. Have info available on the hazards of ticks and how to remove them. Familiarise yourself with Lyme's disease and its symptoms. I don't want to give the impression that woods are especially dangerous but there are also quite a few potentially toxic plants and fungi in woods, so I'd advise visitors with young kids to make sure they are firmly told not to eat anything. I'm thinking particularly of deadly nightshade, which is common, has pretty green or black berries and is very dangerous (we've got loads of it and it looks a bit like blackcurrants).

Its a small area so should be easy to maintain. Yes, by all means 'tidy'. Get a small chainsaw (or good handsaw as you have a small area) and take off any fallen or dead low branches to allow easier access. Heap the debris in small heaps as deadwood is good for bugs and the ecology. A brushcutter will be useful to maintain paths. A small cleared area for the guests with a firepit and benches would be pleasant for them, we all enjoy that.

Do your work from now through the winter, avoid disturbing it during the spring and summer when any birds are nesting. It would be nice to put up some bird feeders and nesting boxes.

It might be an idea to befriend an experienced local woodland owner, wildlife person or call in a local tree surgeon to give you advise on the overall state of your little patch and tell you what you've got and what work might need doing. There are some species such as Rhododendron which are invasive and considered undesirable which you'll want to clear if you have them. Once you know, it might be nice to make little labels identifying some of the trees and plants for the guests, or keep a book with illustrations of the various birds, insects, flowers and trees at different times of year naming them so they can appreciate the ecology. I'd also equip the barn with a pair of binoculars (not top end ones) so guests can watch the birds, squirrels, etc.
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Re: What to do first?

Postby Sanny1978 » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:37 pm

Thankyou very much for your responses. Very kind of you to spend the time.

I'd already thought of naming plaques for trees etc. (Once I've learned what they all are)
Love the bino's idea with a book of birds etc. I drove up the other day to show my wife it. (She hadn't seen the place before) I noticed quite a few bird boxes in the trees. There were plenty of them singing away. It was lovely!

Sitting on it for a year to see the seasons makes sense. I'll just give it a quick tidy up. Up the top there are lots of nettles. I'm in two minds what to do with those. Have been thinking of a bee hive
But one step at a time.

It's looking like a good 8 weeks before it's ours. Trying not to get too excited. As something negative is bound to happen.

Anyway. Thanks again!
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Re: What to do first?

Postby Binz » Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:41 am

Just to add to the good advice already given. As it's a holiday let part of the attraction for clients will be to feel they are in a natural place, so if you do want to barrier off certain areas consider dead hedges (dense rows of branches) rather than fences as fences may take away from the wild feel. If you do go for a fence then a post and rail wooden fence may blend in better than a wire fence. If clearing a path it may be nicer to have a winding circuit around the wood so it's a nice little stroll rather than just a quick way of going from A to B. You could leave a diary/notebook in the barn for guests to note down what wildlife they saw and anything else they want to say about their stay.

As well as doing whatever work you decide to do, make sure you also just go, sit, chill and enjoy your wood.
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Re: What to do first?

Postby oldclaypaws » Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:51 pm

Not exactly 'first', but other longer term things that might enhance the visitor experience would be a swing if you have a big enough tree. Again, depending on tree size a small tree house for the kids. An outdoor seasonal structure such as a small tepee, yurt or shepherd hut (this can be marketed as extra glamping accommodation). Perhaps a bit ambitious, but a small zip wire is great fun and you can buy kits.

Regarding reasonable but affordable binoculars, I'd suggest these for a good all round starter 'nature' bin; they're robust, not too heavy, good in low light (and for the stars) and the right magnification for birds and squirrels.

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Re: What to do first?

Postby Dexter's Shed » Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:55 am

Sanny1978 wrote:
Have been thinking of a bee hive
But one step at a time.

probably not a good idea as you have a holiday let there, unless you were to include details in your letting advertisements, as you might loose guests who are allergic to stings, or guests getting stung who would then want to claim on your insurance
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Re: What to do first?

Postby The Barrowers » Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:37 pm

Chalk Board and chalk to register sightings on a daily basis

Wild Life camera to capture night time life that people could add there own memory card ( Sell on site a couple of £ ) to and take away the movies i.e. Bushnells or Lidl Wild LIfe Camera in a set site and food to feed foxes, badgers etc
B and T
The Barrowers
The Barrowers
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Re: What to do first?

Postby Sanny1978 » Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:02 pm

Hello All

Just an update!

Still in the proceedings of purchasing the barn/wood. It maybe completed this month, fingers crossed.

It's been a tough 5 months as I've had brain surgery to remove a huge tumour. This has slowed things up a bit.

It's made me want the property even more!

Anyway I'll put up some pics once it's ours!


Merry Christmas everyone!
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