Working in forest

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I WAS so interested to read about the future of Houghton Forest in the WSG (September 21) because I worked there is 1948 for some four months as my first job on leaving school.

Very soon after the end of the second world war about 70-80 per cent of the forets was clear-felled, leaving a fringe around the edge and small, much younger plantations of Scots pine, larch and beech mixture from before the war.

Most of the recent felling had been mature beech, much of not very good quality, with a little bit of ash. The replanting was with the same two species, mainly beech interspersed with tiny blocks of nine ash here and there.

This was the same treatment as many other woods across the South Downs.

My particular job of 63 years ago was planting a special line of trees along the edge of the rides or tracks.

Again, they were mostly beech but also a fair proportion of silver fir in some places.

There were the Caucasian fir, and the grand fir from the Rocky Mountains.

Otherwise I do not recall many conifers being planted in Houghton Forest at all.

Sixty odd years is time enough for trees to grow but fundamentally nothing much has changed for then as now it is managed by the Forestry Commission.

Nigel Muir

The Broadway, Chichester