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The Forestry Department, based at Garrowby Sawyard, is made up of a team of four who are responsible for the management of approximately 1,800 acres of woodland across Garrowby, Heslington, Haywold and Hickleton estates.
The woodland area is made up of a mix of species, dependent on location, soil type and purpose. The predominant species on the western portion of Garrowby Estate with heavy clay soils is oak, usually with a nurse crop for protection in the early years. On the thin chalky soils along the Wold escarpment and further east, beech, ash and sycamore are best suited. However Chalara, or Ash dieback, which is a fungal disease of ash trees, is now widespread throughout Yorkshire and the whole country. No ash has been planted on Garrowby for several years and Chalara is likely to cause the loss of a significant proportion of ash trees within the national landscape.
The Forestry and Game Departments liaise and co-operate regularly as the woodland is such an important component of the success of Garrowby Shoot. The timing and extent of the thinnings and clear fells within areas important to the Shoot, are critical.
Almost all of the silvicultural practices carried out in the woods are done by the Estate forestry team, but with the help of local contractors for specific tasks, such as tree surgery. Annual maintenance, beating up of young trees, thinning, fencing and felling are all carried out in-house. Five year thinning schedules are agreed with the Forestry Commission which allow the team to carry out all work necessary to preserve and enhance the historic and unique landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds.
As well as thinning operations and general maintenance, the forestry team also carry out clear fells of woodland compartments every year when they have matured and require restocking. The majority of the hardwood timber is retained for processing into firewood, with some better quality ash, sycamore, beech and oak sold for planking or furniture manufacture. The majority of the conifer is sold into the biomass market.
With the assistance of a Countryside Productivity Scheme grant, Halifax Estates have recently invested in a high output firewood processing machine to be able to improve the efficiency of the firewood produced from timber felled on the Estate. This will allow some scaling up of production but will more importantly mean that the team have more time available for woodland management. If you are interested in ordering firewood you should visit the Garrowby Firewood website at www.garrowbyfirewood.co.uk.