It was a dark and windy night (no hold on that’s Snoopy’s line). Anyway, it was dark, and it was VERY windy. Gale force winds hit Barlings Barn (and many other parts ofthe UK) this February, causing severe floods, winds up to 112mph, evacuations, and power cuts to thousands.
Here at Barlings Barn, the ground was saturated from many inches of rain, and more than 40 massive trees toppled like nine pins. Fortunately there are another 4,000 trees left. Amazingly no hardwoods or oaks were lost in our Plantation of Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) where magnificent oak trees have been growing since the seventeenth century. If trees could talk what a tale they’d tell, eh?!
You can’t really do the scene justice but these shots show a ‘domino effect’ oddly right in the middle of the wood. Sadly all five of these trees had to be cut down. They are at least 70 feet tall and the root ball must have been seven feet across so you can imagine the power of the gusts that night for them to be just pushed over.
The chainsaw catapault
We had about a dozen trees down blocking the track through the wood and some were in a rather strange position. When Babs (horse-logger) made her cut through the first one, the weight of the tree separated from the base of the tree and the root ball suddenly sprang back into the crater and the chainsaw catapulted through the air – fortunately nobody was injured! We had wondered how on earth they had managed to cut the trunks off eight feet in the air – now we know.
However, we’ve learned that nature abhors a vacuum and there will be little saplings taking advantage of the sunny spaces left by these old slain Goliaths before we know it.
The mystery of the circle of life begins again deep in the Barlings wood where peace reigns once more and somewhere snuggled in the earth badgers will be awaiting the arrival of their cubs.