OLR Diaries – the journey begins!

2018 An eventful year... successfully handing over the directorship of Cambium Sustainable to Sam Goddard took place at the end of July and since then we have been juggling winding up commitments to students as well as getting more involved with OLR in terms of product development and market presence (still a long learning curve on that one!!).

OLR Diaries however is not a blow by blow account of trying to raise the profile of a relatively new business but will be a diary focussed on our newly established woodland which lies just inside Monmouthshire.  I hope that this will give you an insight into how we manage the meadows and woodland, information about the flora and fauna that lives there and the activities that we run occasionally from that site.

A mix of native tree species ....were planted over three consecutive winters from 2005 – 2007 and they have now got to the stage where it really looks and feels like a woodland.  We have started coppicing some of it over the last year.  The emphasis on the management of the 9.5 acre mixed woodland, orchard and meadow site has always been for conservation and so even though we now use the site periodically for education and recreation and maybe even wild camping in the future, the focus still remains on the wellbeing and lives of the wildlife that very quickly has established itself there.  Over the years we have actually seen hares, tawny owls, toads, foxes and many song birds along with evidence of badgers and voles.

The pond…. has been through a few evolutions… we first had the idea of putting it were it is due to water constantly pooling there during the winter months…. as soon as we dug the pond however, it has rarely filled and most of the year looks like a muddy mess!!  We will have to do some work on it over the forthcoming months so will keep you updated.

Grassland management….is largely carried out by the small flock of mixed breed sheep, (most of them unwanted ‘tiddler’ lambs that local farms didn’t want to bother with) that we have acquired over the past five years or so along with persuading a neighbour to come and cut the grass by the woodland which isn’t fenced using his small tractor and ancient baler!  We store the small bales in a barn that we built near the road, this also comes in useful when we need to catch the sheep to carry out various jobs including shearing, worming, dagging out (cutting the wool around their tails to keep them clean!) and of course when the lambs go off to the abattoir!

Projects in hand... include the erection of a traditional timber framed barn which will sit at the edge of the woodland and is in the process of being made at our neighbours workshop.  Barn raising will hopefully be taking place once the ground dries out again. .