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  • Writer's pictureAlistair

Aftermath of storm Arwen

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

The trees that came down do bring benefits ...

The quiet before the storm ...

Friday evening and overnight to Saturday morning saw winds resulting from storm Arwen come across much of the UK. At Cefn Garthenor we had hail hurled at our north facing windows and the winds certainly tested tree resilience. Inevitably nature’s pruning took its toll, with a few trees (mainly dead or dying) felled and also a good few limbs from otherwise healthy trees severed. And lots of small, snapped branches have created a carpet of debris along the paths and tracks, as well as in the wooded areas.

Fortunately, no magnificent specimens were lost, making it easy to see the upside of this clear out and the opportunity it presents. Dead and dying trees, be they standing or fallen, play a vital role in the ecosystem. They host fungi and lichens, provide habitats for insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals and as they break down provide minerals and other inputs for plant life. Without death and decay, life is compromised. Nature just isn’t neat and tidy. A forest without dead and decaying trees is likely not very healthy.

There may be an opportunity to give a helping hand in the context of Cefn Garthenor. It may be worthwhile dragging a fallen tree into the middle of a field with relatively little diversity to encourage change. The dead tree will not only host some of the organisms described above, but also prevent the Galloways from grazing the area, allowing something different to occur. Perhaps providing protection to a sapling that would otherwise have stood no chance in that area. In this way it may be possible to speed up the changes on the land. We already have this in some places, and it seems to be working well.

Felled tree dragged into a field to create new possibilities

So, no downside to storm Arwen at Cefn Garthenor? Well, yes. A tree on the track up to the farmhouse took out the phone line / broadband on its way down. At least the mobile signal is relatively good in the house, which near the top of the hill! Compared with the million of so homes that lost power we were clearly lucky.


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