Knighton Tree Allotments Trust

News from KTAT

(Please see further down the page for general information about Knighton Tree Allotments Trust)

20170918 Press Release 3,000 hours - image of KTAT volunteersKTAT reaches 3,000 hour milestone – and looks to the next 3,000

KTAT is celebrating after reaching a new milestone in its work.  KTAT has contributed over 3,000 hours of volunteer time in local woodlands since January 2013 and wants more people to get involved for the next 3,000 hours.

Angie Zelter, KTAT Trustee and a volunteer said: “We’re delighted to have achieved this much support for our work and I’d like to thank all those volunteers who have contributed to this success.  Volunteering with us is a great opportunity to get lots of fresh air and exercise while working with a welcoming group of friendly people.  Our volunteer members learn practical woodland skills, improve wildlife habitats and gain access to affordable woodland products such as firewood and timber so we are hoping that more people will join us.”

KTAT works with local land owners to manage woodland for the benefit of both wildlife and its members.  The volunteers meet up once a week on alternating Thursdays and Sundays with all training and tools provided by the Trust.  “Everyone works at their own pace and ability” added Angie.  “We are enthusiastic amateurs giving our time in a sociable way.  We work fairly short days, partly so that parents can join us on Thursdays and still be at the school gate in time to collect the children.  The work is fun and gives you a real sense of achievement at the end of the day.”

“The volunteer days in local woodlands are actually only half the story”, said Gary Cowell, Co-ordinator of the Trust.  “We have volunteers who help behind the scenes with things like fundraising, promotion, training and keeping the accounts.  If you include this, the total volunteer hours contributed so far is almost 6,000.  We are always keen to hear from anyone who would like to help the Trust and are currently seeking an experienced volunteer fundraiser to help write funding bids to continue and expand the Trust’s work, including training for volunteers and new tools.”

New Autumn Task Programme Published

Do you want some fresh air and exercise while being sociable and helping local wildlife?  Then you’ve come to the right place! The Autumn programme of KTAT task days in local woodlands can be seen below under “Our Current Programme” or downloaded here as a pdf file: KTAT Task Programme Autumn 2017 for website.

Fundraising Efforts Pay Dividends

We are very pleased to announce that our fundrasing campaign has got off to an excellent start with awards from The Oakdale Trust and Midcounties Co-operative Community Fund.

KTAT is delighted that the awards of £2,000 from each funding body will allow us to carry out hands-on woodland management training with volunteers into next year and we would like to thank both organisations for their generous support.

We are also able to access the Welsh government’s Farming Connect scheme which provides an 40% subsidy for chainsaw skills training.  Using the Farming Connect scheme, our own resources and a £500 grant from Naturesave Trust, we now hope to provide training and personal protective equipment (PPE) to 2 more volunteers and improve the chainsaw skills within KTAT.

Stop Press! The 2017 KTAT annual newsletter now here!

Read all about what KTAT has been doing from April 2016 to April 2017.

Newsletter April 2017

About Knighton Tree Allotments Trust (KTAT)…

Knighton Tree Allotments Trust is a group of volunteers who manage woodlands for the benefit of wildlife and our members.  We come together to share and learn woodland skills.  We aim to manage woodland sustainably and to allow our members access to affordable woodland products – such as firewood and timber.  Knighton Tree Allotments Trust is a separately constituted organisation that grew from Teme Valley Environment Group, who generously still host our web presence.

It is a common misconception that unmanaged woodland is best for wildlife.  In fact, by managing the woodland through traditional practices such as coppicing, we increase the variety of habitats and increase the richness of wildlife.  In ensuring that the trees that we fell for fuel or timber are replaced with new plants, we are creating a sustainable supply of woodland products.

In sustainably growing firewood and other woodland products we can meet some of our fuel and food needs as well as reducing our carbon footprints.  At the same time we are joining co-operatively with other local people to enjoy, conserve and enrich our local environment.

So why, as a conservation group, do we cut down trees?  There are several reasons for this.  First of all, sometimes we are simply harvesting a crop.  Most broadleaved trees, when coppiced (cut almost to ground level), will re-grow and can be harvested again in a few years – how many years depends on the site conditions and what size of wood you need: beanpoles can be harvested after 3 to 4 years whereas firewood takes 8 to 15 years.   Trees can last for centuries being cut like this.  Sometimes we want to give certain trees more space and light to enable them to grow larger and fatter, so we fell the trees around them.  At other times you might have a whole woodland of trees the same age – a plantation – where, like in a vegetable garden, you have sown or planted more trees that you need in order to later select the best and strongest to grow on to maturity.  It might be that a tree is so damaged by grey squirrels, deer, weather or other factors that it is removed to give the remaining trees more light.  Although, at other times, we deliberately leave dead trees standing as they provide a good home for birds, bats, bugs and fungi.  In the past large herbivores such as elk, moose, bison, wild boar and aurochs – and their predators  – would have made the woodland a dynamic environment, constantly changing and varying due to grazing, rooting, and digging.  In the absence of these creatures the environment becomes static and things like ground flora decrease.  By managing woodlands through coppicing or thinning we are providing change, increasing habitats and supporting woodland species.

We are currently working in three woodlands: at the Samatha Trust in Llangunllo, at  Castlering Wood in Beggar’s Bush and at Skyborry, near Knighton.

For more information here is our current leaflet explaining KTAT  KTAT Promotional Leaflet

Our current programme

We go out to local woodlands one day a week, usually alternating between Thursdays and Sundays, and volunteers choose how much of the day to stay for. Volunteers work at their own pace and KTAT provides all the tools and training needed.  So come and learn new skills while helping local wildlife.  For more information on the workdays, and to find out how to join in, please contact Gary Cowell.  Email: woodland@tveg.org.uk  Tel: 01547 520374.

Trees need to be coppiced (cut back almost to ground level then re-grown) or felled when they are dormant and we need to be careful not to disturb nesting birds.  For these reasons, most woodland work is carried out in autumn and winter.  Summer is a time of clearing up from our winter work, keeping newly planted trees free from weeds and cutting cordwood (4 foot long pieces of wood) into logs.  In summer 2017 we also ran 2 training courses in association with the Woodland Trust – ‘Identifying Ancient Woodland Indicator Species’ and ‘Tree Identification and Introduction to Basic Woodland Management Techniques’

This is a pdf of our autumn programme that is listed below: KTAT Task Programme Autumn 2017 for website

 Sunday 1st October – 9.30am to approximately 2.30pm
With the official start of the cutting season, we will commence the coppicing of hazel trees in a young woodland.  By cutting the trees back to almost ground level we can harvest a crop of wood products and encourage trees to vigorously re-grow from the remaining stool – ready for future harvests.  By coppicing a different part of the woodland each year we will be increasing the variety of habitats and allowing more light to the woodland floor.  We are also thinning birch trees to favour oak, rowan, beech and ash.
 Thursday 5th October – 9.15am to approximately 2.30pm
Coppicing hazel trees in this young woodland.  By cutting the trees back to almost ground level we can harvest a crop of wood products and encourage trees to vigorously re-grow from the remaining stool – ready for future harvests.  By coppicing a different part of the woodland each year we will be increasing the variety of habitats and allowing more light to the woodland floor.  We are also thinning birch trees to favour oak, rowan, beech and ash.
 Saturday 7th October – approximately 9am to approximately 5pm
Chapel Lawn Woodland Fair
Knighton Tree Allotments Trust is having a promotional stand at this woodland event in order to raise public awareness of our work and to sell some of our woodland products.  Come along and help spread the word while learning about all things ‘woodland’!
 Sunday 15th October – 9.30am to approximately 2.30pm
We will be thinning a stand of self-seeded ash trees.  The trees are all the same age which makes them more vulnerable to Chalara dieback of ash.  We will be thinning them in order to ensure good airflow which reduces the growth of the Chalara fungus.  The most vigorous specimens will be favoured as they are the most likely to be able to survive the infection. The felled trees will be cut into cordwood and seasoned for firewood.
 Thursday 19th October – 9.15am to approximately 2.30pm
KTAT has been asked to cut back what was once a hazel hedge but is now a row of small hazel trees.  This will effectively become a very narrow hazel coppice strip.  The first cut will result primarily in firewood with the subsequent coppice stools allowing us to grow anything from peasticks and beanpoles to more firewood.
 Thursday 26th October – 9.15am to approximately 2.30pm
Please note that this is an additional workday that does not fit in our usual pattern of alternating Thursdays and Sundays.  This day has been added as we are able to access this woodland on this date.
We will be cutting the remainder of the large larch trees felled in 2013 into logs.  The sawlogs will be cut into 20cm (8 inch) lengths using a chainsaw with the resulting ‘rounds’ then split with axes.  The logs will be stacked in our drying shed to season.
 Sunday 29th October – 9.30am to approximately 2.30pm
Coppicing hazel trees in this young woodland.  By cutting the trees back to almost ground level we can harvest a crop of wood products and encourage trees to vigorously re-grow from the remaining stool – ready for future harvests.  By coppicing a different part of the woodland each year we will be increasing the variety of habitats and allowing more light to the woodland floor.  We are also thinning birch trees to favour oak, rowan, beech and ash.
 Thursday 2nd November – 9.15am to approximately 2.30pm
Coppicing hazel trees in this young woodland.  By cutting the trees back to almost ground level we can harvest a crop of wood products and encourage trees to vigorously re-grow from the remaining stool – ready for future harvests.  By coppicing a different part of the woodland each year we will be increasing the variety of habitats and allowing more light to the woodland floor.  We are also thinning birch trees to favour oak, rowan, beech and ash.
 Sunday 12th November – 9.30am to approximately 2.30pm
We will be thinning a stand of self-seeded ash trees.  The trees are all the same age which makes them more vulnerable to Chalara dieback of ash.  We will be thinning them in order to ensure good airflow which reduces the growth of the Chalara fungus.  The most vigorous specimens will be favoured as they are the most likely to be able to survive the infection. The felled trees will be cut into cordwood and seasoned for firewood.
 Thursday 16th November – 9.15am to approximately 2.30pm
KTAT has been asked to cut back what was once a hazel hedge but is now a row of small hazel trees.  This will effectively become a very narrow hazel coppice strip.  The first cut will result primarily in firewood with the subsequent coppice stools allowing us to grow anything from peasticks and beanpoles to more firewood.
 Sunday 26th November – 9.30am to approximately 2.30pm – Location and task to be confirmed.
Either: We will be thinning a stand of self-seeded ash trees.  The trees are all the same age which makes them more vulnerable to Chalara dieback of ash.  We will be thinning them in order to ensure good airflow which reduces the growth of the Chalara fungus.  The most vigorous specimens will be favoured as they are the most likely to be able to survive the infection. The felled trees will be cut into cordwood and seasoned for firewood.
Or, if we have finished thinning the ash: Coppicing hazel trees in a young woodland.  By cutting the trees back to almost ground level we can harvest a crop of wood products and encourage trees to vigorously re-grow from the remaining stool – ready for future harvests.  By coppicing a different part of the woodland each year we will be increasing the variety of habitats and allowing more light to the woodland floor.  We are also thinning birch trees to favour oak, rowan, beech and ash.
 Thursday 30th November – 9.15am to approximately 2.30pm – Location and task to be confirmed.
Either: KTAT has been asked to cut back what was once a hazel hedge but is now a row of small hazel trees.  This will effectively become a very narrow hazel coppice strip.  The first cut will result primarily in firewood with the subsequent coppice stools allowing us to grow anything from peasticks and beanpoles to more firewood.
Or, if we have finished cutting back the hazel: Coppicing hazel trees in a young woodland.  By cutting the trees back to almost ground level we can harvest a crop of wood products and encourage trees to vigorously re-grow from the remaining stool – ready for future harvests.  By coppicing a different part of the woodland each year we will be increasing the variety of habitats and allowing more light to the woodland floor.  We are also thinning birch trees to favour oak, rowan, beech and ash.
 Sunday 10th December – 9.30am to approximately 2.30pm
Coppicing hazel trees in a young woodland.  By cutting the trees back to almost ground level we can harvest a crop of wood products and encourage trees to vigorously re-grow from the remaining stool – ready for future harvests.  By coppicing a different part of the woodland each year we will be increasing the variety of habitats and allowing more light to the woodland floor.  We are also thinning birch trees to favour oak, rowan, beech and ash.
 Thursday 14th December – 9.15am to approximately 2.30pm
Coppicing hazel trees in a young woodland.  By cutting the trees back to almost ground level we can harvest a crop of wood products and encourage trees to vigorously re-grow from the remaining stool – ready for future harvests.  By coppicing a different part of the woodland each year we will be increasing the variety of habitats and allowing more light to the woodland floor.  We are also thinning birch trees to favour oak, rowan, beech and ash.
 Dates for your new diary: The first KTAT task days of 2018 will be on Sunday 7th January and Thursday 11th January.
For more information on the workdays, and to find out how to join in, please contact Gary Cowell. Email: woodland@tveg.org.uk Tel: 01547 520374.

Ways to get involved…

We are always looking for people who would like to learn about woodland management and ecology.  Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded people. You can get plenty of fresh air and exercise while learning new skills.  We need help with hands-on woodland management such as tree planting and firewood processing, regular flora and fauna surveys and administrative tasks.  If you would like to register as a volunteer please use the form below.  Once you have registered as a volunteer you will receive regular emails about forthcoming workdays and other KTAT events.  KTAT Volunteer Registration Form

You could also join KTAT as a Member. When you become a member you get a say in how the Trust is run; you can help decide the policies that guide how we operate.  You’ll also become part of an active community of like-minded people who are working towards sustainable development.  And that’s not all.  You can attend members’ meetings, such as our AGM, where you can raise issues that are important to you and find out more about how the Trust is doing.  Plus, you can vote for someone to represent your views as a Trustee.  And if you fancy it, you can even stand for election yourself as a Trustee – it’s a great chance to represent your fellow members.   Membership costs just £10 a year.  KTAT Membership Form

More about Knighton Tree Allotments Trust

To find out more about our local woodland activities take a look at our annual newsletter, produced in the Spring of each year.  The latest (2017) Newsletter can be found here: Newsletter April 2017

We also have the previous annual newsletters that will let you know how we have grown and changed as an organisation over the last 5 years: Newsletter April 2016 Newsletter April 2015  Newsletter March 2014    Newsletter April 2013  Newsletter April 2012

There are a number of other documents of interest that we have had a role in producing:

A Landowner’s tips for voluntary woodland organisations

Understanding Woodland Management

Managing Woodlands for added value

Processing and Stacking Firewood

Woodlands Appeal

We recognise the local need to provide wood for fuel and other woodland products, whilst maintaining healthy vibrant woodlands for wildlife and ensuring biodiversity for future generations.  We aim to provide the woodlands our community needs for a sustainable future and are now looking for land and woodlands to lease or manage, preferably within a 9 mile radius of Knighton, though we will consider further afield.

Please contact Gary at woodland@tveg.org.uk  or tel. 01547 520374 if you have any land that might be suitable.

Running KTAT

We currently have four Trustees who have taken on various responsibilities: Angie Zelter (Secretary), Camilla Saunders, Jamie Ritchie and Kate Maclean.  The Trustees are supported in their work by a part-time Co-ordinator who leads the woodland workdays and helps with the administration of the organisation.

We are always keen to hear from people who have relevant skills and experience that they would like to offer KTAT, perhaps by becoming a Trustee.  If you feel that you can help us in the sustainable management of local woodlands for the benefit of wildlife and our members, please contact the Company Secretary, Angie Zelter on 01547 520929 or email woodland@tveg.org.uk

Each year we hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) where Members, Trustees and Volunteers come together to find out how the Trust is doing and to decide on our next steps.  Members of KTAT vote for the Trustees who make the day-to-day decisions on behalf of the Members.  Our AGM for 2017 was held on Thursday 11th May 2017 at the Offa’s Dyke Centre at 7.30pm and a report can be found here: 2017 Annual Report and Accounts.

To find out what was discussed and decided at previous meetings please follow the links below.

Our AGM for 2016 was held on Thursday 5th May 2016 at the Offa’s Dyke Centre at 7.30pm and a report can be found here.

Our AGM for 2015 was held on Thursday 16th April 2015 at Knighton Community Centre at 7.30pm and a report can be found here.

Our AGM for 2014 was held on Tuesday 25th March 2014 at the Offa’s Dyke Centre at 7.30pm and a report can be found here.

Our AGM for 2013 was held on Thursday 25th April 2013 at the Offa’s Dyke Centre at 7.30 p.m. and a report can be found here.

Knighton Tree Allotments Trust has the following aims and objectives:-

The objects for which the Trust is established are for the benefit of the public in and around Knighton and the Teme Valley, including the members of the Trust, so that they can plant and maintain woodlands to provide themselves with affordable access to firewood, fruit, nuts and other woodland products in a sustainable manner by:-

1. setting up a Model Tree Allotment where skills can be learnt and shared and where trees are planted wherever appropriate to produce a sustainable supply of woodland products, including firewood, fruit, nuts, and timber whilst encouraging biodiversity. The distribution of the woodland products from this Model Tree Allotment will go to all those directly involved in working and managing the Model Tree Allotment including those who are also Trustees or members of the Trust;
2. acquiring and providing affordable use of land for local people to grow their own firewood and woodland products by the setting up of Tree Allotments;
3. promoting education, skill-sharing and knowledge of woodland management, sustainable eco-systems, biodiversity, and related scientific and artistic endeavour;
4. managing all lands held by the Trust in a sustainable fashion, so as to enhance the diversity, productivity and beauty of the environment, in accordance with organic principles, for the benefit and happiness of present and future generations;
5. encouraging participation in all of the above activities of the Trust by the general public and specific interest groups of all ages, abilities and backgrounds;
6. acquiring lands whether freehold or leasehold, with or without buildings and fixtures, and of a character, size and location to be decided by the Trustees.

Please click on the link below for more information.  Knighton Tree Allotments Trust – Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Looking after Wildlife

Our aim is to “manage woodlands for the benefit of woldlife and our members”.  But how do we know that we are achieving this?  We carry out regular flora and fauna surveys, the results of which can be found here.

Greenstreete Bird Survey – April 2016

Greenstreete Bird Survey – Sept 2015    Greenstreete Bird Survey – June 2015

Baselines Flora and Fauna Surveys at Greenstreete 2013  Greenstreete Bird Survey November 2013  Greenstreete Bird Survey – May 2013   Greenstreete Moth Surveys 2013

Greenstreete Bird Survey – Dec 2012

Photographs

Photographs of some of the activities you can be part of by volunteering.

 

Workday 23rd January 2014 (10) - compressed Trustees meeting on  8Jun2012 Stacking Sarah Jamie and Mick working at Weir Cottage 4Nov13 Milling Last Brash clearing session Axes & Bodgers Andy stacking Woodstore 21May14 door on Tod Bernard and Andy working away5 with certificates 4Nov13 Angie&Colin with saw Kate and julie-Ann high pruning

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