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Author Topic: Big Beech Tree Theft
Ken Hume
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Posts: 418
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Post Big Beech Tree Theft
on: March 30, 2014, 10:51
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Back in January 2007 the biggest beech tree in our woodland came down in a storm falling across a quiet country lane. By the time a friendly neighbour called me I arrived to find that the entire section of tree above the road had been removed (stolen). I was later to discover that this was done by a local person who rented a sheep field just down the lane under the pretext that he needed to be able to access his sheep to feed and ensure their wellbeing. The entire tree had been cut up into discs and carted off to be sold as firewood.

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The top of the tree had fallen into a neighbours field and I duly obtained permission to acces his land to clean up the debris and reinstate his boundary hedge as best as could be achieved. This permission was granted. This now left the butt of the tree to be dealt with so that I could reinstate my own wire boundary fence.

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This was a huge tree, planted in the 1860's probably for the furniture trade, and as such it was growing long before the arrival of the grey squirrel and so was likely to contain unblemished and undamaged timber hopefully of high quality. Examination of the cross cut tree section revealed approximately 140 years worth of growth rings and no evidence of squirrel damage.

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The beech tree had pulled up a huge root plate some 10 - 12 feet high no doubt weighing many tons and so carefull thought had to be given on how the main trunk would be severed from the root plate since the trunk was probably providing a counter balancing effect and when cut might result in the root plate falling back into the depression created due to the tree fall. The state of balance was not known and so the remains of this tree potentially posed a serious safety threat to tresspasers, "firewood fairies" and especially to playing children.

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In consultation with Andy Hughes (tree feller) it was decided to sever the trunk and then cut this up for furniture stock wood using his Logosol big log chainmill set up.

Ken Hume - Oxfordshire Woodland Project

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