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12th May 2016

Sueño en la floresta

Tim Hill returns to Thoresby, part of the former Royal Forest of Sherwood, to see the oak featured in his last blog Mal sueño and the veteran oak.

What a difference a week makes! Seven days ago the buds on our grizzled veteran hadn’t yet opened, whilst today….


Combined Mal Sueno pics


Quite a transformation from the winter image.  The haloing around the oak has allowed more light into the canopy.  It is however still sheltered from strong gusts funnelled down the rides and shaded from too much direct sunlight that might contribute to drying-out of the trunk.

IMG_0095 Mal Sueno trunk and cavity cropped


There is more good news for an Estate that depends on forestry income to help maintain the historic landscape and keep a team of full-time woodsmen in employment.  The thinning of the pine has generated direct income from timber sales plus a supply of smaller diameter wood which will be left to dry on the woodland track before being processed into woodchip for fuel.  This will in turn be used to heat Estate buildings, local offices and luxury lodges in a woodland setting.

IMG_0082 Mal Sueno forestry track cropped


Let’s not lose track of the fact that this is all happening within Birklands and Bilhaugh Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and that we are working to a 100 plus year plan to reestablish wood pasture within the remnants of Sherwood Forest.  At the moment we have a patchwork quilt of conifer blocks (reducing), mustard and cress birch regeneration (increasing), 19th and 20th Century mixed broadleaved planting (static), and acid grassland challenged by bracken but currently held in check by these beauties:

more cattle cropped


We are still some way from this dream becoming a reality, not least in locating and protecting a generous scattering of next generation oak trees, that may become the ancient trees of 2616.  Something that can be returned to in a future blog piece perhaps.  Until then, I’ll leave you with this tantalising sueño (dream) ….



Posted by: Tim Hill Tim Hill is a trustee of the ATF. He recently retired as Forestry adviser to the Thoresby Estate, Nottinghamshire. where he managed 800 hectares of ancient woodland (230 of which is currently managed as wood pasture) in the Sherwood Forest.

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