Jenni Morgan senior director at Ecology Solutions reports:
‘The site as a whole was noted as being predominately Sycamore woodland in the north but with more Beech woodland in the south. Other tree species present include Wild Cherry, Pedunculate Oak and Silver Birch, with very occasional Hazel and Holly, although there is little understorey present beneath the trees. In terms of the ground flora, this does contain Dog’s Mercury, Yellow Archangel, Wood Anemone and Bluebells, but this is generally quite sparse on top of the hill and within the quarry area itself.
In general, the quarry was noted as being dominated by Sycamore trees, with little ground flora, and species present dominated by Ivy, although there were patches of Dog’s Mercury and occasional Red Currant and Wood Spurge in this area The areas of higher species diversity are to the north of the quarry, the track up to the quarry, and along the western bank as well as the southern part of the woodland, where the tree species become more dominated by Beech.
None of the trees within the quarry are considered to offer suitable opportunities for roosting bats, and given the sparse under storey, it is considered the woodland offers only limited potential for Dormice. No evidence of Badgers was recorded within the site, and although a number of mammal pathways were recorded through the woodland, evidence of deer was associated with these. Rabbit warrens were also recorded in the dell area and along the eastern hedge bank.
We also surveyed the ruined barn in the very northern tip of the site. The barn itself was recorded as not having any potential to support roosting bats (the stones were all mortared and there were no substantial cracks present that could support roosting bats).’
Woodland study conducted by arboricultural consultant Jerry Ross:
I've now been to site and marked up the trees that I think would be included - these are pretty well all of those within the quarry area, plus a few by the track up which I felt might be left a bit exposed after removing the others. I've tended to leave the trees at the top of the bank - around the edge of the sunken area and also those on the top of the quarry face itself.
I've shown this will be a Felling of Coppice operation; that it's predominantly Sycamore and, by my count, that there are 41 'trees' that I've included. By this I mean not only individual trees (of which there are a few) but also the multi-stemmed coppiced stools. so from these 41 'trees, roughly 103 stems arise. These are all marked with an orange paint spot. (A few very small and dead stems are not marked but it's assumed they'd be removed as part of the re-coppicing.)
As for re-stocking I've calculated the area as shown drawn onto the topographical survey drawing you provided to be 0.15 hectares. I attach a map showing that area drawn onto an extract taken from the Hereford Council online administrative map.
I consulted with a Forestry Manager, John Evans, recommended by Nick Smith at the Forestry Commission, to assess my needs for a barn. John Evans recommended the stone barn was too small for our forestry needs. Mr Evans recommended a purpose built barn situated in the woodland at the back of the quarry.
John Evan’s Report:
1. 35m3 of round timber amounts to approximately 1.25 articulated lorry loads. It is the view of the author there is insufficient space to store the round timber within the existing barn, or adjacent to it safely.
2. There will be sufficient space to process timber into firewood and store it but the site constraints and building layout will reduce productivity significantly. In addition, the nature of the rebuilt buildings will make it difficult to dry the firewood to the required 20% moisture content, see:
Build a barn and adjacent hard standing within the quarry that provides enough space to efficiently process and air dry the firewood. The round timber can be partially air-dried outside before processing. Commercial firewood enterprises air dry processed firewood in stacked crates in a barn or similar which has good airflow.
We divided the barn into three necessary areas.
Planning permission for the barn was granted at appeal in 2021 and barn construction will commence in 2022.