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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

Though never transplanted before


[Picture: Ancient Font in Staunton Church]

The following minute and interesting account of the state of the several plantations in the year 1818 is by permission abstracted from Mr. Machen's private papers.

Speaking of the Buckholt (one of the older enclosures), he observes--

"The large timber in it has been cut, and parts of it planted with young oaks, obtained from places where they had sprung up spontaneously, but it is still imperfectly stocked. Stapledge (another of the earlier plantations) has been filled up by transplanting from the thick parts, and is tolerably well stocked on the whole. Birchwood (the third of the previous enclosures) has been planted in the vacant parts, and is fully stocked and very flourishing. From the Acorn Patch (the last of the old plantations) a large quantity of young oaks have been transplanted into the open parts of the Forest and the upper part of Russell's Enclosure. The trees drawn out are thriving, and many of them grow faster than the trees remaining in the Acorn Patch. There is a great quantity of holly and other underwood scattered on the parts where the trees are planted, and which serves for shelter and protection, and the soil is very good. The trees, though never transplanted before, came up with bunches of fibrous roots; and though of so large

a size, being from 10 to 25 ft. high, scarcely any of them failed. Several experiments were tried as to pruning closely, pruning a little, and not at all; and it appears that those pruned sufficiently to prevent the wind from loosening the roots answer best, although many of those which were reduced to bare poles, and had their heads cut off, are now sending up vigorous leading shoots, and have every appearance of becoming fine timber: those unpruned did not succeed at all." Alluding to the earthen banks, with which the plantations were mostly surrounded, Mr. Machen observes that "In most parts they appear to succeed very well, and the furze on the top of them grows very luxuriantly; but in some places, and those where the bank of mould has accumulated by being washed there in floods, the banks are mouldering, and in the last two years hawthorn-quick has been planted in those parts, and now looks very flourishing. There has not been a good year of acorns, that is, where a quantity have ripened in the Forest, since the commencement of the plantations until the present, and the trees are now loaded, and with every prospect of ripening. The young trees in all the new enclosures are looking remarkably well this year, and some of them have made shoots so long that they more resemble willows than oaks. The six first-named enclosures, in addition to the acorns and five years old oaks, have had the same quantity of five years old oaks planted in addition, in lieu of the mending over, viz. 270 on an acre; but there are parts of all these, and almost the whole of Crab-tree Hill and Haywood, which suffered not only from the failure of the acorns, but from the ravages made by the mice, that


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