Timber Extraction

TIMBER HARVESTING IN CASANDAMFF AND ADMIRAL’S FARM WOODLANDS

July 23rd, 2017 – The felling of timber continues and the landscape is changing, as the following pictures show:

July 18th, 2017 – The extent so far of cleared timber from Casandamff Woodland, as seen from the Struie Ridge.

Cleared timber in Casandamff Woodland, as seen from the Struie Ridge – 18 07 2017

January 22nd, 2017 – All timber has now been moved from the footpath between Baileacharn and Admiral’s Farm; making that footpath fully accessible to walkers.

Cleared footpath through Casandamff Woodland (1) - 22 01 2017
Cleared footpath through Casandamff Woodland (1) – 22 01 2017
Cleared footpath through Casandamff Woodland (2) - 22 01 2017
Cleared footpath through Casandamff Woodland (2) – 22 01 2017

A helpful notice has been placed at the Baileacharn entrance to the woodland that gives contact details of the men who are operating the felling and stacking machinery.  These numbers should be used if there are any concerns or difficulties.

Helpful warning notice regarding timber harvesting in Casandamff Woodland - 22 01 2017
Helpful warning notice regarding timber harvesting in Casandamff Woodland – 22 01 2017

Those walking through the woodland will see a noticeable difference to the landscape now.

A changed landscape - Casandamff Woodlands - 22 01 2017
A changed landscape – Casandamff Woodlands – 22 01 2017

January 10th, 2017 – The footpath from Baileacharn to Admiral’s Farm is still only partially cleared of felled timber as the following pictures show:

Partially cleared footpath through Casandamff Woodland (1) - 10 01 2017
Partially cleared footpath through Casandamff Woodland (1) – 10 01 2017
Partially cleared footpath through Casandamff Woodland (2) - 10 01 2017
Partially cleared footpath through Casandamff Woodland (2) – 10 01 2017

December 19th, 2016 – The footpath from Baileacharn to Admiral’s Farm has now been partially cleared to make it easier to use.  Fountains Forestry very quickly responded to a request to remove felled timber from the footpath, and work already undertaken to start clearing the path is very much appreciated.

Casandamff Woodland - Footpath cleared of timber - 18 12 2016
Casandamff Woodland – Footpath cleared of timber – 18 12 2016
Casandamff Woodland - A changed landscape - 18 12 2016
Casandamff Woodland – A changed landscape – 18 12 2016
Casandamff Woodland - Fotpath diversion signs at the western entrance gate - 18 12 2016
Casandamff Woodland – Fotpath diversion signs at the western entrance gate – 18 12 2016
Casandamff Woodland - End of footpath diversion - 18 12 2016
Casandamff Woodland – End of footpath diversion – 18 12 2016

December 11th, 2016 – The footpath from Baileacharn and Admiral’s Farm is now quite difficult to use.  A diversion is clearly marked, but unfortunately the path peters out after only a short distance.

Sign diverting footpath through Casandamff Woodland - 11 12 2016
Sign diverting footpath through Casandamff Woodland – 11 12 2016
Felled timber blocking footpath to Admiral's Farm - 11 12 2016
Felled timber blocking footpath to Admiral’s Farm – 11 12 2016
Diverted footpath around Casandamff Woodland - 11 12 2016
Diverted footpath around Casandamff Woodland – 11 12 2016
Felled timber alongside diverted footpath within Casandamff Woodland - 11 12 2016
Felled timber alongside diverted footpath within Casandamff Woodland – 11 12 2016

November 28th, 2016 – Work to fell and stack timber is continuing, as the following pictures show:

Cnoc Muigh-Bhlaraidh from Casandamff Woodland - 27 11 2016
Cnoc Muigh-Bhlaraidh from Casandamff Woodland – 27 11 2016
Felled timber in Casandamff Woodland - 27 11 2016
Felled timber in Casandamff Woodland – 27 11 2016
Felled trees in Casandamff Woodland with Sloibcoyle in the distance - 20 11 2016
Felled trees in Casandamff Woodland  – 20 11 2016

Work is now well underway to fell and stack timber, as shown above and in the following pictures.

Removing branches and cutting into lengths - 29 10 2016
Removing branches and cutting into lengths – 29 10 2016
Work continues even when the light fades - 29 10 2016
Work continues even when the light fades – 29 10 2016
Cut timber is removed for stacking - 29 10 2016
Cut timber is removed for stacking – 29 10 2016
Stacked timber in Casandamff Woodland - 29 10 2016
Stacked timber in Casandamff Woodland – 29 10 2016
Panoramic view of cleared timber in Casandamff Woodsland near Admiral's Farm - 29 10 2016
Panoramic view of cleared timber in Casandamff Woodsland near Admiral’s Farm – 29 10 2016

Ted Venn – 30th October 2016


Casandamff and Admiral’s Farm Woodlands

Work is already underway preparing timber for extraction from these woodlands. The first phase involves wind blown trees. The extraction route is along the newly constructed forestry track that exits onto the Struie Road (B9176), just south of Aultnamain.

Concern has been recently raised over the standard of the new forestry track. Reports that the trackway was not built to the agreed specification have recently been received. The section of track that gives cause for most concern is the “floating” section that passes over deep peat. If the track was constructed to a lower specification, the fear is that the track will deteriorate quickly by being churned up by heavily laden timber vehicles. Fountains Forestry has been made aware of local concerns, but according to the company’s Regional Forestry Manager, Mr Douglas Murray, “the road has been constructed to a satisfactory standard”.

However, this reassurance hasn’t satisfied some residents. One resident states that the construction of the haulage road did not adhere to the agreed specification in a number of aspects, and a number of items were implemented to a poor standard, which makes it more likely that there will be an issue as the haulage operation proceeds. This is a disappointing situation, particularly after more than a year of discussions took place to ensure that a proper specification was provided. During those discussions a national expert on “floating” roads over peat was consulted in order to advise all concerned of the best way in which the “floating” section should be constructed.

Although a reassurance has been received from Fountains Forestry that all is in order with regard to the new forestry track from the woodlands to the B9176, the situation will be continually monitored to ensure that the new track does not become unusable. The whole purpose of the new track was to avoid heavy timber vehicles from having to use narrow single-track roads and pass the school and through the village to reach the A836.

Ted Venn

17th September 2016


Casandamff Woodland – update

Work to construct a forestry track to link Casandamff Woodland to the B9176 Struie Road now seems to have been completed, with the access point onto the Struie Road now hardened off and partially covered in tarmac.

New access road to Casandamff Woodland from the B9176 Struie Road - 11 07 2016
New access road to Casandamff Woodland from the B9176 Struie Road – 11 07 2016

Now we await the timber lorries and the removal of timber!

Ted Venn – 12th July 2016


The new track that links Casandamff Woodland to the Struie Road (B9176) at Aultnamain is now virtually complete.

Completed forestry track from Casandamff Woodland at Aultnamain - 04 07 2016
Completed forestry track from Casandamff Woodland at Aultnamain – 04 07 2016

However, the surface at the access point from the B9176 is in a poor condition, as the ground is very soft.  Vehicles using that part of the track at the present time would soon get into difficulties, and the ground would be churned up and soon become unusable.

Soft ground at entrance to the Casandamff Woodland forestry track at Aultnamain - 04 07 2016
Soft ground at entrance to the Casandamff Woodland forestry track at Aultnamain – 04 07 2016

Once the access point is improved, I’m sure that it won’t be long before timber vehicles start using it to extract timber from the forest.

Ted Venn – 5th July 2016


Work starts on the construction of a new forest track

Now that the weather is reasonably settled work is now underway to construct a new forest track to link Casandamff Woodland to the Struie Road (B9176) at Aultnamain.  When the site was visited today the contractors were laying floating foundations over the section that passed over peat.  The following pictures show how the new track is gradually becoming a reality.

Entrance to new forest track at Aultnamain - 24 06 2016
Entrance to new forest track at Aultnamain – 24 06 2016
Laying foundation for the new forest track from Casandamff Woodland - 24 06 2016
Laying foundation for the new forest track from Casandamff Woodland – 24 06 2016
New forest track into Casandamff Woodland under construction - 24 06 2016
New forest track into Casandamff Woodland under construction – 24 06 2016
New forest track leading to the Struie Road under construction - 24 06 2016
New forest track leading to the Struie Road under construction – 24 06 2016
Laying floating foundations for forest track over peat land - 24 06 2016
Laying floating foundations for forest track over peat land – 24 06 2016

Construction work is expected to take a few more weeks and great care is being taken to avoid upsetting neighbouring properties and causing disruption to traffic on the Struie Road.

Ted Venn – 24th June 2016


 

Casandamff and Admiral’s Farm Woodlands – Fountains Forestry

The following update was given to the monthly meeting of Edderton Community Council on Tuesday, April 5th, 2016:

Douglas Murray of Fountains Forestry explained the 20-year plan for the Casandamff and Admiral’s Farm Woodlands, and answered questions about the timber extraction route. It would seem that everything is virtually in place for the upgrading of the forestry track from the woodlands to the B9176. Mr Murray was unable to state when work on the track would start, but did say that it was hoped that felling would commence by late May. However, Mr Murray did give a commitment that no timber would be extracted before the track was completed. Therefore, timber vehicles would not be using the single-track roads as previously intended and these vehicles would not pass the school. Concern was raised by access onto the Struie Road near Aultnamain and by the noise of track construction and later on by felling operations. Warning signs would be placed on the Struie Road to alert traffic to the movement of construction and timber vehicles.

Initially operations within the woodlands would be to remove the wind-blown trees. Mr Murray stated that the footpath would have to be closed whilst the wind-blown trees were removed and during later felling. Community Councillors opposed any closure, as the footpath was part of a circular walk. It was suggested that an alternative route should be made available. Mr Murray agreed to look into this and suggested a site meeting.

The results of the recent consultation on the proposed 20-year plan for these woodlands had not yet been finalised, though it was likely to follow that set out in the detailed plan. Stakeholders, including Edderton Community Council and residents close to the woodlands, would be advised on the outcome of the summary. A number of larger scale plans of the woodland’s 20-year plan are to be sent to Edderton Community Council to enable councillors and residents to more clearly understand the work to be undertaken to manage the woodlands over the next twenty years.

Ted Venn – 6th April 2016


Douglas Murray of Fountains Forestry will be present at the Community Council Meeting on Tuesday, April 5th, 2016, and he will explain how timber is to be extracted from Casandamff and Admiral’s Farm Woodlands, as well as the long-term forestry plan for these two woodlands. If you are concerned over the way timber is to be removed, please come along to the meeting to make your views and worries known. I’m sure that Mr Murray will do his best to answer questions and take on board the anxieties that many have of heavy timber vehicles using roads in and around Edderton, some of which are single-track roads.

Ted Venn – 30th March 2016


Further notification from Fountains Forestry regarding timber extraction from Casandamff Woodlands

We continue to pursue the prospect of securing agreement to upgrade the access to the B9176, which is also our preferred option. The cost of these upgrades is, however, significant and while we are exploring alternative funding solutions, it remains a possibility that some timber income may need to be realised to finance these operations.  We shall advise the Community Council once we have resolved the remaining issues and are able to formalise a programme of works.

Kind regards,

Douglas Murray
Regional Forestry Manager
Fountains Forestry

Tel: 01463 731 393 (Inverness)
01677 479 200 (Bedale)
Mob: 07767 220 323

The following response was sent by return today:

It would be very disappointing if any timber was extracted along our single-track roads and so close to the school. 

Ted Venn –  March 9, 2016


Fountains Forestry

A scoping exercise is being undertaken to produce a long-term forest plan for Casandamff and Admiral’s Farm Woodlands.  An explanatory letter dated February 15th, 2016, has been sent to selective recipients.  A copy of that letter and accompanying map is set out below.  Feedback is requested by Fountains Forestry, who will respond to questions and requests for further information.

Page One
Page One
Page Two
Page Two
Plan of proposed activities
Plan of proposed activities

Ted Venn – February 2016


Casandamff Woodland

Highland Councillor, Graham Phillips has today (November 4, 2015) informed Edderton Community Council of the latest situation with regard to timber extraction from Casandamff Woodland.  The good news from Iain Imlack of Fountains Forestry is that three quotes have just been received for the construction a new haul road out to Aultnamain and onto the B9176. It is hoped that work will commence on the construction of the new road within the next two months – weather permitting!

Fountains Forestry will not be extracting any timber along Admirals Farm Road.

In effect, this will mean that Edderton and the A836 will be unaffected when timber is eventually extracted from Cassandamff Woodland. Extraction may begin in 2016, but more likely in 2017.  The intention will be to route the timber vehicles directly onto the Struie Road (B9176).

Ted Venn –  4th November 2015


 

Timber extraction from Casandamff Woodland

Earlier in the year and despite opposition from Edderton Community Council, Highland Council approved an extraction route for timber from Casandamff Woodland that would use inadequate single-track roads, pass close to the school and descend down School Brae to exit the village using the A836. At a stormy meeting of Edderton Community Council on April 7th 2015, it became apparent that Highland Council had made its decision without fully consulting the community or considering the implications of heavy timber vehicles using this route. Furthermore, neither Highland Council nor Fountains Forestry had considered an alternative route that would avoid Edderton altogether by directing these vehicles onto the B9176 just south of Aultnamain. The alternative route would require the construction of a short stretch of forestry road to link the woodland tracks to the B9176 (Struie Road).

Requests sent to Fountains Forestry by Edderton Community Council and a number of residents to reconsider the extraction route remain unanswered, but similar requests sent to Highland Council have been more encouraging. In an e-mail dated September 8th, Highland Council stated that Fountains Forestry had now employed a consultant to investigate the upgrading of the forestry track between Casandamff Woodland and the B9176 (Struie Road). Whilst the consultant’s report is still awaited, Highland Council has received an assurance from Fountains Forestry that timber will not be extracted this year and probably not next year either.

Hopefully, a conclusion that will be satisfactory to all parties will be achieved. For the community this would mean the construction of the forestry link road, so that heavy vehicular traffic would not use inappropriate roads, would not cause damage to these roads and adjacent structures, would not be an inconvenience to other road users, and would avoid passing close to the school and down School Brae.

Ted Venn

22nd September 2015