New Be-Thinnings

Hello Everyone,

Sorry for the terrible pun, to begin with. I fear I may make a bit of a habit of that.

It seems appropriate though, as I have decided to keep a blog with my thoughts about the work placement and what I am gaining from it. For those of you that don't know, I am working in Suffolk for a year with the Forestry Commission, as a part of my degree in Forestry & Woodland Management at the University of Cumbria. I am in an area known as the Thetford Chase, which was traditionally one of the countries' most productive forests (in terms of revenue), although is now blighted by diseases and possibly the spectre of climate change...

That's the boring bit over with. We have got a new company doing thinning for us down in the Kings' forest, a block to the South of Thetford with some spectacular old trees. They are Searle Forestry, which consists of Nick Searle and his colleague Noddy (yes, really).

Thinning consists of removing some of the trees once they get to a certain age, so that the remaining ones have more light and can grow bigger. It is important to have more trees than you need at the beginning, as you are bound to lose some through disease and pests, and having trees closer together means they grow straighter to reach the light and produce better timber.

There is your basic lesson in Silviculture.

Crops to be thinned tend to be at a younger age, as this is when we can have most impact on their future growth. Mature trees will not be affected much by having more room, and tend to blow over when they have the support removed from around them.

Having young trees means the logs you are cutting are smaller, and therefore the machinery used can be lighter too:

As you can see, they drive through the trees in straight lines, in this case taking out 1 in 5 rows and leaving the rest. They try to reach in and take out the badly formed trees where possible, but they need to leave a certain amount to ensure the trees continue to grow straight up.

Noddy on the Forwarder loads up some long, thin poles to be used for shoring
up collapsing river banks.

I feel this may be a bit too much forestry talk for one day. I will be keeping an eye on these contractors, ensuring they are working safely and cutting logs to the right specification. I try not to breathe down their necks too much, we are here to help them out if they need anything as well as supervising. I'll let you know how this site goes.

Also today, we had our Diversity Awareness Level 1 training course, courtesy of the Forestry Commission. This was to ensure we knew which words not to use in the workplace, even though Thetford is possibly the least diverse place you could ever be, so as to avoid offending anyone.

Saying that, in nearby Brandon there is a massive Portuguese population, which is pretty good as they have a mean deli.

Needless to say, some of the older members of staff on the course were successfully putting their foot in it, while me and James tried our best not to laugh. I was asking if there was such a thing as discrimination against people with beards. I think it is called Pagonophobia, and Maggie Thatcher wouldn't let men in her cabinet with beards.

Well, I feel as though I have gone on for long enough. In future I'll make posts more concise and hopefully, interesting. Maybe even amusing.

That's all for now, Kids.



  1. Im on the edge of my seat! Tell us more about noddy! Adventures! Mystery! Thetford's Portugese population! Matthew

  2. I'll let you know more about noddy as soon as I have got to know him a bit better!

  3. Dear Luka

    I have enjoyed your blog. May I recommend another?

    It is for how to fish, and many other things:


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