Gone are their branches and along with them so have the other plants that find a home in their mossy nooks and crannies. It is pollarding time and the lovely view that I have been used to seeing every day since I moved here twelve years ago has changed dramatically. Fortunately, all will return in abundance in due course.
Pollarded willows in the secret valley
Ancient ash pollard - sad to think that it will probably now die because of the newly imported disease, Chalara
Now a rare sight - White Park cattle
Just six months of new growth
It will take time to become used to seeing the 'new look' secret valley, now so very different from the image that has become the trademark of this blog. In the past, cutting the trees would have given a team of men work for the whole winter. Now one man with a machine achieves it in five days. It may not be such a romantic notion but watching the tractor driver manipulate the claws of the cutter at every conceivable angle demonstrated that the old techniques have been replaced with skills every bit as impressive.
More reading: click on the links below
Conservation of ancient pollards
Chalara in ash trees
White Park cattle and other endangered farm breeds
Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park