We've finally been able to get some free time to work in the Turnditch Orchard during the last weekend. There's an area of the plot which we'd partially cleared of blackthorn, but we made the mistake of not completing the task this year. Consequently the blackthorn has re-sprouted and more effort is needed to trim it and remove it from the ground.
We did some tidying a few weeks ago when we were trying out our Makita long pole petrol hedge trimmer. We used this to cut back some of the undergrowth. Our field trimmer would have struggled with the thorn bush.
During the past year we've purchased a portable petrol powered capstan winch, namely a PCW5000 to help us safely move some of the logs on the embankment. We were able to use this to easily pull out some of the thorn bush stumps. Unfortunately we'd not bought enough rope on site, nor our manual winches, so after the first few easy pulls, we found we were running out of suitable anchor points for the power winch. The blackthorn is quite stubborn when you winch it out. We found that the fence posts we'd hammered in the ground as anchors pulled out before the blackthorn moved. As a consequence we had to stop work.
The testing we'd done was quite fruitful, we've definitely improved our technique of removing the stumps. The whole process is a lot faster. We just need to sort out the anchoring method for the winch points. So this morning I ordered a heavy (16 Kg) steel boat anchor. This will act as a backstop to the fence post anchors we already use, the harder you pull on these anchors the deeper they dig into the ground.
In case anyone reading this article is thinking of visiting the site to acquire some new tools? Don't bother we don't leave any equipment of value on site.