“The Trust’s aim is to promote, protect and conserve the living landscape of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site”

Book onto one of our Outdoor Learning Programme courses and discover something new!

Book onto one of our Outdoor Learning Programme courses and discover something new!

27 exciting new walks, workshops and events

The Iron Trail


Continuous Cover

Work began in Sutton Wood alongside the River Severn East of Coalport this week working with contractor NW Tree Services. The work involves thinning through felling a number of ash, sweet chestnut and conifers to create a woodland of trees of mixed sizes under Continuous Cover Forestry principles. Looked at in 3D this means we will have smaller trees coming through ready to replace the larger ones and trees of many different heights allowing light to better reach the woodland... floor. This encourages tree seedlings through natural regeneration (why plant when you can have them for free and the deer like planted trees!) and a more diverse range of woodland plants. There are a number of oak trees in Sutton Wood that are being shaded by larger tree canopies above. When marking trees to be removed in a thinning you have to be able to imagine what holes you are creating in the tree canopy to allow light and space for the smaller tree to grow. Too big a hole and trees can blow down or bramble can swamp the ground, too small and there isn't enough light. Forestry is an art as well as a science!The pictures show a felled ash tree and a smaller oak tree from the perspective of looking up into the tree canopy with the new space that will encourage it to start growing. As it grows more trees around it will be removed. Restructuring the woodland to get the sizes and 3D correct will take at least 30 years work. As guardians of the 700 acres we manage we are aware that our work will benefit future generations. IMG_4553 IMG_4554

Make hay whilst the sun might shine

This summer has been really challenging for farmers and land managers due to the weather being so changeable. We have managed to cut, dry (after turning it 4 times instead of the usual 2) and bale Ropewalk and Wilderness Meadows and have now started on Crackshall (see picture) but more rain is forecast for later. By investing in our own baler we can be more flexible and cut the hay a few fields at a time but it’s still a struggle. Hay with more than 20% moisture can heat up quickly when baled and spoil or spontaneously combust so it’s important to get it as dry as possible. The added problems at the moment are heavy almost autumnal dew every morning which rewets the hay and the very humid overcast conditions which are not good for drying. Another challenge is that the quality of the hay starts to drop from now on, and we don't want to cut the hay too late on fields we need for winter sheep grazing! What hay makers need is hot sunny and breezy conditions, but none are forecast for the next few weeks. As with every job we do it is all part of the complexity and we have to do our best and constantly change our plans and be flexible. We are grateful to our many Trust contractors who work with us so patiently to make this all happen.  IMG_4278  .