Timber stacks at Redwell Corner

The turning towards Langley off the Hexham Road looks so empty now that the forest is harvested

It’s a cash crop, of course, but even so the harvesting of a plantation, especially one as mature as this one, comes as something of a shock. What a wide open space there is behind the stone wall, which is intact in places, crumbled in others.

The whole corner looks so bare, but this is an intersection of icy notoriety, where so many vehicles have come to grief over the years. Someone has opined that perhaps the snow will cover the road more without the trees, but I think that you need a ‘leafy lane’ of trees to reduce snow coverage. Of course, in Ontario, where I come from, they put snow fences up to dramatically reduce the snow drifts over the road, wresting the snow out of the wind with clever slats placed dozens of meters away on the road’s windward side. They don’t do snow fences here, though I can think of several places along up in Sinderhope where they could be useful.

When the plantation up at Holms Linn was harvested, about a decade ago, it looked like it would be bare for a generation, but the trees have quickly been replaced by new ones, now growing as robustly as their forbears.

And so the trees come and go, though we may only experience one felling of any given stand in our lifetime, perhaps two if we time it right. And that’s a different concept of time, too, isn’t it? A very slow passage indeed. What is true is that there are a lot of new trees growing up on the fellsides (including different kinds of hardwood, deciduous species), along the river banks, with a view, I imagine, of recovering a spongy, water-absorbent upland to reduce run-off and flooding downstream. That feels good, while the harvesting of good quality timber at the other end of the farming cycle conveys a kind of bittersweet melancholy — of course the wood will be used well, and of course it’s a financial reward — still feels like chopping down an old acquaintance, somehow.

So long old trees, you’ve lived a good life there at Redwell Corner, and now it’s time to be useful in other ways.

1 Comment

  1. When I moved to Allendale 20 years ago I brought my mother up to see my new home and as we came round Redwell Corner she said “Oh it is good to see the trees back” as she remembered when they were cut down the last time. She and my father met on Allendale Golf Course and we came to Allendale throughout my childhood and when we came to that corner we were excited as we knew were were nearly back in Allendale. So I am very sad to see the trees go, but will enjoy watching the new ones, when planted, beginning the next cycle and I will talk to my grandchildren about them the next time they come to visit me, hoping that they will see the next felling in their lifetime.

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