The next time we went up, it was to plant chestnuts and walnuts in the lower part of the forest.
The chestnuts are a long shot as all the chestnuts on this side of the mountain were wiped out by blight nearly a hundred years ago. All, that is, except two. I found two lone survivors, beautiful big trees, which managed to scrounge a big bag of chestnuts from. Now it might be that the blight never reached that spot, or it might be that they are resistant. But I figure the only way to find out is to plant some seed and see what happens.
On the way up, we passed this strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo
, bursting back into life. They don't get a mention in the Battle of the Trees poem, but then they're not really a Welsh plant. I believe there are some in Ireland though. Something to do with relics pushed westwards by glaciers if my memory serves me correctly.
There are some burned out young pines that we don't really want so we are cutting some of them down then using 2ft lengths on contour to act as silt traps and mini nurse logs to plant behind. I'd persuaded my other half to bring the little battery chainsaw with us.
The line of the access track is visible going across near the top of the photo.
Mini nurse logs laid roughly on contour.
We put a chestnut and a walnut behind each one.
The chances of both growing are pretty minimal so if we end up having to thin things out it will be an awesome problem to have to solve.
Ha - anyone read "The Man Who Planted Trees"?
We stumbled on a great big hole.
We've seen smaller ones that we couldn't decide if they were sink holes or where trees had completely burned out. But this one is definitely where a tree has burned out.
Also a great shot of the planting stick!
We couldn't pass by the perfect opportunity to re-use a good planting hole, so we dropped a couple of walnuts and a couple of chestnuts in and covered them up a bit.
Not much lost by trying!
The access track comes into our bit of forest half way up, through someone else's bit. It's cut into the rock like a little terrace and means that in theory we can get the tractor in.
The boys tried with the old blue tractor but it really wasn't safe and they gave up. The new one should be much more likely to succeed. I suspect they will try soon. I still haven't told you all about the saga of the tractor. Maybe soon...
From the access track it does look as though those pretty rocks ARE on our bit.
I'm crazy happy about this.
I have rowan berries ready to plant there next time we go up. For now I'm completely exhausted, even though Austin has been doing almost everything, and need to head back down.
That seems to be another oak bursting back into life just below the access track.
You can just make out some small terraces cut into the higher bit of forest here.
Not sure if this is from when pines were originally planted, or if they are much older and go back to when there were vines up here.
I spotted a round pottery thing in the path and suspected it might be an old lost pine resin collecting thing.
I tried to dig it out with my fingers, and then with a bit of rock, and then with the point of the planting stick. But to no avail.
Must remember to take my hori hori with me next time...