The Sheep
Farm Activities
- D.I.Y. hurdles
Trees -
- Unusual tree and shrub species grown
- Unusual fruit grown
- Tree clippings
- The Importance of BEES for fruit
- Uses for Trees
Britannia Coconutters
Local Wildlife
Local Plantlife
Local Walking

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the rainforests

Gawmless Trees

TreeAn active treeplanting programme has been in place at Gawmless End since the nineteen-eighties. Hundreds of trees and shrubs and well over a hundred species are now present, and birdlife in particular has noticeably increased along with the trees.

Both specimen trees and designated "wooded" sections have been planted, to serve as shelter for stock, an encouragement to wildlife, and as an experiment in AGROFORESTRY. Coming soon to these webpages will be reports on fruit tree and shrub cultivars found to be suitable for growing in exposed areas such as this; meanwhile, you can read about some of the more unusual fruit trees we are trying.

or silvopasturalism, is the mixing of livestock and trees for their mutual benefit. Much research has been done, both by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Agroforestry Research Trust, into this subject.
The Agroforestry Research Trust's website
is an essential link if you are interested in this subject.

See also our Uses for Trees page.

Our Links page lists interesting sites about trees.
See below for arboreta to visit.
Some good books to read.

Tree Places to visit

Westonbirt arboretum at Tetbury in Gloucestershire is spectacular, an essential visit if you love trees.

Thorp Perrow Arboretum, on the Bedale to Ripon Road just south of Bedale in North Yorkshire, has four National Collections, of OAK, ASH, LIME and WALNUT trees. Well worth a visit. Tel. 01677 425323

Batsford Park Arboretum, off the A44 at Batsford, near Bourton-on-the-Hill (Cotswolds), has a large collection of trees on its 50-acre site. Recommended. Tel. 01608 650722

Bodenham arboretum - wonderful place, you must try this.

Try the arboretum at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Macclesfield in Cheshire.

Waddington Arboretum: Visit this interesting and useful website by treelovers, describing their comprehensive plantings.

Wye College National Fruit Collection's Homepage

Bedgebury National Pinetum

Kew Gardens

Hilliers arboretum

Bradenham Hall

National Botanical Garden of Wales

Gardens to visit

Royal Forestry Society website

See also our links page.

Books on Trees

Ken Fern's book "Plants for a Future" is a fascinating read. In Association with
W. J. Bean, Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles. This is a classic, comprising of several volumes on any tree-lover's wish-list. You might be able to acquire a set second-hand, or a good Library should have them.

The Hillier manual of Trees and Shrubs. A very useful reference work, really Hillier's catalogue because all the items listed are available from their famous garden centre.
The Hillier gardener's guide to trees and shrubs: another useful book.

In Association with
Robert A. de J. Hart: Forest Gardening. Surely an essential read.

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A wood in embryo

20 KBThe "tubed wood" is a half-acre hollow, formerly part of a flattish hayfield - it was suitable for treeplanting because it was difficult to mow. The trees are protected by 1.5 metre high Tubex tree tubes spaced 4 paces apart. Cattle are excluded but the sheep are admitted via two "steal-holes", so that the area can be grazed by them in conjunction with one or both of the adjoining fields. This helps the trees by keeping the grass down and means no grazing is lost.

Tubes less than 1.5m tall would be inadequate because the lambs stand up goat-fashion to try and eat any drooping twigs emerging from the tops of the tubes: where there are trees by the fence at the edges of the area, trees are in 1.8 metre tubes so that cattle cannot reach them from the other side of the fence. These are staked full-height, i.e. extension battens are nailed to the supporting fenceposts/stakes so that the tube can be attached at the top as well; this is to prevent damage by cows rubbing their necks on them. (Note that this would also be necessary for protecting trees from horses - taller tubes than 1.8 m may also be required).

It has been found essential to use proper fencing stakes, NOT so-called "tree stakes" which are often only two inches square and easily snapped by livestock. Half-round posts are better because they resist twisting by animals rubbing against them.

We did find that knocking six-inch nails partway into the stake either side of the tube about a foot from the ground prevented the animals from twisting the tubes on the stakes, but as the tubes get older and brittle, it was in any case necessary to enclose each one in a cylinder of sheep netting (which need be only 6"-10" in diameter) to prevent the sheep breaking the tubes and stripping the tree inside of bark. The cylinder of netting also prevented twisting of the tube.

The tubes have the environmentally-sound design feature of eventually disintegrating completely under the influence of ultra-violet light, so that widening tree stems are not strangled, and so that no "litter" is left. Because the trees are growing at nearly 1500 feet, which is a higher than optimum altitude for tree planting, they have tended to grow more slowly than advisory rates for lowland plantings. This has meant that even the "double-thickness" tubes, intended to last twice as long, have become brittle and been damaged by sheep before the tree has reached the same diameter as the tube.

After outgrowing the tubes, we envisage that most of the trees will need bark protection. So far we have not discovered a bark guard which satisfactorily resists the attentions of livestock, so a protective cylinder of sheep-netting to dissuade animals from chewing at the bark-guard within seems advisable long-term. If the netting is bent into a cylinder of widish diameter, a second stake can be used on the opposite side. Since its purpose is only to prevent twisting, the second stake used may be shorter and/or thinner than the main one.

The area is relatively sheltered but still quite windy. Trees under these conditions tend to grow fairly quickly to the top of the tube and then remain static, putting on girth and root growth, before growing on upwards. The tree tubes are designed so that they are not tied round the outside, because if the tree is left for too long the tie can strangle the growing stem. (This effect is often seen in park plantings where a tree tie has not been loosened as the tree grows.) However, we have found that the plastic ties supplied with the tubes have had to be supplemented with strong wire, taken right round the outside of the tube. The windy conditions have meant that the top ties have often snapped, or sawn through the slot in the tube leaving the tube loose and the tree within vulnerable to browsing animals - and the sheep often eat the lower ties!