March fence in need of repair

Variety is the Spice of Life for an Assistant Forest Manager

A Blog by By Michael Brownrigg-, Assistant Forest Manager (Graduate), South Scotland Region

Michael joined Tilhill in September 2021 through the graduate scheme, having studied Forestry at Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland.

Currently working out of the Jedburgh office helping the forest managers manage and maintain established forests as well as new woodland creations in the area.

Variety is the Spice of Life for an Assistant Forest Manager

Since starting as an Assistant Forest Manager with Tilhill, I have been given plenty of opportunities to experience the varying jobs that a forester undertakes whether it’s out on site or behind a desk. Spring is the peak of the planting season, which usually means lots of site visits and interacting with contractors. One day last week was one of those days.

The day began with a trip to a new restock site which was in the process of being prepared. A fence between the forest and a neighbouring farm had to also be repaired on this property so I saw it as a chance to have a look at that as well.

Site preparation and fence inspection

I started the visit by chatting to the contractor who was hinge mounding the site. One thing I was told early on in Tilhill is that it’s important to keep good relations with your contractors and to always speak to them when they’re on site. We talked about the site in general and how they were finding the work and it was all positive feedback which is always a plus! I then proceeded to inspect the mounds, drains etc., and take plots to see if the mounding density was correct which is important when ordering and planting trees. The mounding density was spot on which is usually the case with this contractor.

I then continued to inspect the fence which needed repair . The fence is in rough shape and needs serious repairs to prevent sheep from the neighbouring farm entering the restock site and damaging the trees. There is a stumbling block with this fence as there’s an active badger sett located within 2 metres of it, this means we’ll have to apply for a Standard Forestry Operations licence to complete the work near the badger sett. This also means that repairs won’t be able to start until July (after badger breeding season).

Newly planted restock site

Once I’d finished my first site visit, I then carried on to another restock site which I knew was close to completion. I walked the site upon arrival, which was planted with Sitka spruce and Scots pine, in order to inspect the quality of the planting work which was done to a high standard. Some areas of this site had to be direct planted with no site preparation as the soil quality isn’t great and we wanted to avoid digging up soil with a lot of stone in it. These areas will have to be walked again in a couple of months just to see if the trees are surviving and if extra work needs to be done.

Once I’d completed my site visit of the newly restocked site, I headed back to the office to start looking at the paperwork for another restock site which is due to be started sometime soon.