Coedwigaeth iachus – Healthy woodland

What's Going On?

July 2021 – We welcomed judges from the Royal Forestry Society’s Excellence in Forestry competition (Wales, Northern Ireland and Isle of Man) where we are entered in the Small and Farm Woodland category.

July 2021 – We welcomed judges from the Royal Welsh Show Forestry competition (North Wales) where we are entered in the Broadleaf Woodland over 15 hectares category.

April to July 2021 – This woodland is vulnerable to bark stripping by grey squirrels. A successful season of squirrel control has protected our tree health and timber potential. 

Who's Seen What?

We’d love to know what you have seen here. Please visit our Contact Us page.

Welcome to Bron Haul

Our farm includes 20 hectares of young mixed woodland planted between 1991 and 2014. The vision is to produce quality timber in a beautiful landscape with continually improving opportunities for biodiversity. Of course, the woodland also captures carbon, cleans our air and helps clean and regulate water flow. It shelters the species-rich hay meadow and pasture grazed by our small suckler herd and has strong connectivity through a network of laid hedges. All in all, we hope to give the birds plenty to sing about!

 

Public Footpaths

We welcome visitors using our public footpaths. Please stay on the footpath and keep your dog on a lead. If you wish to visit other areas of the woodland, please contact us to arrange a guided tour (£10/head minimum 4 people for a 2 hour tour).

Grey Squirrels

Sad but true, the most important woodland management job we do at Bron Haul is controlling grey squirrels. Our grey squirrels were brought from the West Coast of the USA in the 19th century as a parkland curiosity on big estates.

Unfortunately, they do not fit in with our ecosystems and are an absolute disaster for our native woodland and red squirrel populations. The problem they pose for woodland is their habit of bark stripping trees between April and July. This is possibly a behaviour particularly displayed by growing youngsters and lactating females who are looking for calcium-rich food. The result in our woodlands is damaged trees that will neither produce quality timber, reach their potential sequestering carbon, cleaning air or regulating water nor replace the majestic veteran trees that are our woodlands’ biodiversity treasure troves.

We have been running a rigourous squirrel control programme here since 2007 and have suffered very little damage as a result. It is the major reason why we attract prizes in woodland management competitions. However, some of the beech trees in this area were damaged before this squirrel control began and a few of these have been retained as examples of how the entire woodland would look without this important work. Can you spot the damaged trees?

We run squirrel control courses and are happy to talk to you about this sensitive issue. Find out more about grey squirrels and the efforts being made to control them on a national scale by visiting the UK Squirrel Accord website.

Visit the UK Squirrel Accord website

 

Fallow Deer Study

The Elwy Valley is home to a fallow deer population. These are a naturalised escaped herd from Kinmel Estate parkland and have been at large in the valley for about 100 years. They are magnificent animals and wonderful to see, but their numbers are increasing as they have free access to all the forage-rich agricultural fields and lack natural predators.

The woodland you see around you was planted in 1995, and at this time the deer population was small enough that they were not a problem for woodland establishment. Since then, numbers have increased and their range expanded. When Coed Ty Brown, about a mile upstream, was planted 13 years ago, the site needed expensive fencing to exclude the deer. We also had to deer fence before we planted at Bron Haul in 2014.

Since we are converting our woodland plantation to continuous cover forestry, it will rely on continual natural regeneration to restock which will not be possible if the grazing pressure of the deer population is too high.

This woodland sub-compartment is being used by Bangor University PhD students Amy Gresham and Owain Barton who are studying deer movements and feeding habits across a number of woodlands throughout the Elwy Valley. We look forward to hearing the results of their work.

 

Enjoy your visit!