Trowse Millgate – Woodland Management

Friday 20th November 2015

It’s a good job that today’s weather (I’m writing this Saturday AM) didn’t happen yesterday. The weather yesterday wasn’t exactly a balmy but at lunch time we were able to sit by the river, under a clear sunny sky, out of the wind, and it was really very pleasant but in the wind you really knew that winter is on its way.

So, if todays weather had happened yesterday (for the record, today – Saturday – we have strong winds from the North blowing in rain and sleet, and with temperatures only a degree or two above freezing), we would not have got through half as much work as we did in fact manage to do.


We were clearing a small area of woodland on the bank of the River Yare in Trowse, with the help of some local residents, which had become overgrown. Normal practice for this type of work would be to:-

  1.  Thin out the trees in order to allow the Oaks, Beaches and some other mature species the space to spread their canopies.
  2.  Stack the larger pieces of timber into ‘Habitat Piles’, which give a myriad of small creatures – food, shelter and a place to lay their eggs.
  3.  Clear the site and burn all the smaller twigs, branches and leaves (brash).

Today we will not be having a fire, because of the proximity to same homes and the nuisance smoke from our fire could cause, we will employ another method of disposing the brash, using a wood chipper. The brash is therefore stacked in piles, with (as far as possible) the branches all lying in the same direction, which will make it easier to retrieve them at the chipping process.


In an effort to  maximize costs of hiring a chipping machine, the task of chipping the trees cut down today and the ones we cut last Friday on ‘Marriotts Way’, will be done on the same day in early December.

We did leave several piles of logs which will rot down and help biodiversity on the site. We also cleared trees and shrubs from the river bank which created a bucolic vista across the river towards the Trowse marshes and beyond. On the other side of the site, away from the river, Chris and one of the local residents, labored valiantly  to ‘’lay’’ the hedge, which is made up of holly, blackthorn and some hazel ( a bit of a prickly task then!). In a year or two this will grow into a nice thick hedge which should be a pleasing backdrop to this area of woodland.

The local residents of Millgate,  said, at the end of the day how much they had enjoyed their day of toil and how much they had appreciated all the work that had been done, by Matt and his merry band of volunteers,  for theirs and others benefit.

So it’s ‘’Nice to know you’re nice to know’’ – (Matt is giving a prize for the first to email him with the correct answer to the question – ‘which advert did that slogan came from’?).

Written by Alan Rae, Norwich Fringe Project Volunteer