Trouble with Trees

April/May 2021

Lineside clearance
Management of the Museum site is an on-going job, not least when it comes to the plethora of different tree species which populate the site. Some of these, particualrly trees like the ash, are suscepticble to disease and a program of assessment and felling has to be carried out. This generates a lot of dead wood which is either burned (much of it as lighting up wood for steam locomotives and traction engines) or laid out to form natural wildlife habitat. This job is managed by the Coppice Group, a team of volunteers led by people with experince in woodland management.

This strategy is OK to a point, but a lot of it had been left next to the railway line and over time had dried out and begun to look untidy, not to mention becoming a fire risk especially as the railway uses steam locomotives which produce sparks from the fires. Sparks and dry timber are not a good combination.

A joint working party involving the coppice volunteers, railway volunteers (to provide the transport) and other general Museum volunteers (one of whom enjoyed himself so much he joined the RailGroup!) cleared the whole lot in one day.

Exhibit 1 - piles of dry twigs and branches by the lineside.

A train arrives to collect the next load.

Fully loaded train about to take a load to the bonfire - most of this is too small for use as firewood.

John, Tony (weilding the croppers) and Josh prepare the next load.

The line under the Ranger Bridge after we'd finished. Job well done!

Tree on the line
Despite our efforts, a windy day in May brought a tree down on the line during the morning but with the help of the Greenwood Village volunteers, it was soon cleared, only for the Museum to close for the afternoon because of the high winds.

The train came around the curve to be confronted with this.

A view of the train from the woodyard road (although the angle makes it look more overgrown than it actually was). The offending tree has been made safe (OK it was chopped down!).

Potty Training
As part of the rejuvenation of the Nature Trail the Museum purchased a composting toilet to be installed on the trail. It proved to be larger than anticipated but, with a bit of inter-departmental co-operation, it was moved into place using a pick-up truck, a train, some ropes and a lot of grunting and groaning.

The toilet was taken to the top end by pick-up and transferred onto a railway wagon.

It was taken to the nearest point on the railway to the proposed location.

With ropes and some sheets of ply, the bank was soon climbed ...

... and the seat tested for comfort.

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Gerry Cork & Amberley Museum