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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A snowy day

As a warden on the Eastern Moors you are never quite sure what the day will bring, you may have a plan but often unexpected things crop up. Today I was greeted by a beautiful sunrise and a small group of deer grazing by the snowy track over the moor to the office.

Since the snow fall my days have been taken up checking the car parks and the boundary walls for damage as well as walking the main routes to check for fallen trees. You may remember last year that a large number of trees were uprooted due to the strong winds. This time round it is the weight of the snow which has brought down limbs and trees.
So this morning I set off around the woods below Curbar edge to check the paths with Buddy, my trust companion. It wasn’t long before we were dragging fallen birch branches out of the snow and off the paths. Many of the larger birch branches had snapped with the weight of snow, while some of the smaller trees had been bent over with snow covering their tops which were now frozen to the ground, creating little archways. So braches were cleared and trees were freed while Buddy scampered around and sniffed at deer tracks in the snow.
Eventually were came across something that would be a bit more of a challenge, more than a warden, a dog, and a bowsaw could tackle. One of the lovely large oaks had decided it’s time was up, and lay uprooted on the pipe track. It was one of my favourite trees on the estate, a gnarly oak with character that only hundreds of years can produce. Dealing with this will take the whole warden team kitted out with a winch and chainsaws, lets hope the guys come back feeling fit after the Christmas break. But the story for this oak isn’t over, once moved out of the way, this fantastic big tree will take decades to break down, during which time it will provide valuable habitat for a whole range of wildlife. Whilst it decays, the space it has created in the canopy will allow light to reach the woodland floor, and a new generation of trees will take advantage of this opportunity to takes its place.

Happy new year everyone, Kim.