The Estate Forestry Portfolio is actively managed and extends in excess of 350 acres with a mix of ancient woodland, broadleaf and coniferous plantations.
Following an outbreak of the disease Phytopthera Ramorum in the larch plantations in 2013/14, a significant harvesting exercise was carried out, and replanting of the clear felled areas is now underway.
Our firewood, which we supply directly to the customer, is produced solely from our own woodlands, which enables us to harvest the timber in a sustainable manner. We can therefore also ensure that the timber is well seasoned ‘in the round’ before being split and processed using a selection of the latest processing equipment, maximising productivity and ensuring a consistent quality and size of log. The logs are packed into ventilated bags directly from the processing machine which allows the logs to continue to season whilst in-store and under cover awaiting delivery. The ventilated bags are also an ideal method for delivering the logs, as it enables us to place the logs exactly where the customer wants them (within reason!), rather than dumping them all in a heap on the customer’s drive for them to deal with.
We also produce bagged softwood kindling for sale direct to the customer, and also for retail outlets, again this is an automated process which ensures consistency and uniformity of the product.
The Forestry and Biofuels Division will also operate and manage the Estate’s biomass boiler and district heating system, which will heat Hean Castle, along with the Estate Office, some cottages and other Estate buildings, and will be fuelled exclusively with woodchip produced from our own woodland plantations. The Boiler system is due to be installed in Spring 2015.