Trees and our obligations to them

The tree officer came round yesterday at our request, so that we could introduce ourselves and ask about our rights and responsibilities as the owners of a woodland that is protected by an area tree preservation order. He seemed a lovely, laid back guy, very helpful and recommended a few iPhone apps for tree identification which I’m going to download and play with. I’d like to do a rudimentary tree survey, just to map what we’ve got and where it is.

I asked about general maintenance (and cutting back twigs that are in the way) and he said you can apply for a general permission to do that kind of stuff and it normally lasts two years, but because of the size of our plot, they’d probably extend it to five. That is a whole lot less red tape than I expected, so I’m very pleased.

I also asked him about my rope swing and he said as long as it was done in a way that didn’t harm the tree, it was unlikely anyone would take offence, and told me the best way to hang it so as not to cause harm to the tree. I thought it was an eye bolt in the underside of the branch, but apparently it’s better to loop the rope over the branch but use padding (like a strip of old tyre) to stop it rubbing on the bark. Now that I think of it, it makes sense. I’ll get right on that, as I happen to have some old tyres. And a length of rope.

I’ve also arranged to buy the parts for my camp kitchen next week, so that I can be building it during Alec’s birthday party weekend. I’ve got three old doors, the kind with lots of square window panes in, which I’m going to use as windows. The glass is textured, so they won’t be any good for seeing through, but it will maximise light.

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