Social History...


(This article, author unknown, was written in 1948)
There are four plantations in the parish of Wicklewood and all are situated towards the South-Eastern boundary

The largest and most northerly, covers an area of 132 acres.
The useful timber was cut and sold immediately after the 1914-18 war.
It was not re-planted and consequently it is now over-grown with hazel, which is occasionally cut and manufactured into "Witch" brushes.
Two notice boards bearing the following advertisement authorised by the Earl of Kimberley, the owner, now stand on the borders of this wood:¬

Is situated a little south of Whitehouse Wood on the Wicklewood Hall Estate.
There are few very tall trees, the bulk of the vegetation being Hazel and young Oak.
This wood, through being well away from a public road, is possibly used at the present time as a cover for game.

There is a lot of useful timber in this wood, although its area is roughly under two acres.
The trees are close and this has caused them to grow tall and straight, and. if felled would produce long planks of very few knots.
Short undergrowth is practically non-existent, possibly because of the dense canopy made by these trees. Colman's plantation was owned by the late Mr. J.C. Crossley, and at the commencement of the 1939-45 war it was sold to a local farmer. Mr. J. C. Crossley was also the owner of Morley Hall Estate.

This small tree plantation is situated on the Morley-Wymondham road. It is at the moment being cleared by the owners Messrs. Longhursts of Epsom.
A visit was made to their Norwich office, and the company was most helpful in giving information which was asked for.
No pamphlets or pictures were available from them but photographs had been taken by means of a private camera.
Permission was given to contact the men working on the trees and to visit the plantation whenever we wished.
The trees were planted about sixty years ago but it is not known by whom they were planted Messrs. Longhursts purchased the estate from J.C. Crossley Esq. together with the Morley Hall Estate.
The plantation has now been sold to the tree¬-fellers at present working there. They intend to use it as a lumber yard for firewood.
Unfortunately no re-planting is to take place.
The trees are mostly Oak with a few Beech, Birch and Pine trees.
They are tall and slender, and not yet in their best state for felling.
It would have been preferred to wait another ten years or so, but it was considered best to clear the estate at the present time.
The stools of the trees are left, but all the rest is cleared away. Work is almost completed.

The branches and small wood are all retained by the fellers and cut up into firewood logs. The trunks of the trees are delivered in their complete state to the following destinations
1. The largest of the trees are sent to Doncaster where they are used by the Railways for the building of wagons and other rolling stock.
2. The greater part of the smaller trees are sent to the colliery saw-mills in the Midlands.
There they are cut into colliery railway sleepers.
3. Other small trees and waste material from the Midlands source is sent to the Staveley Iron Foundry, there it is sliced up into thin shavings known as 'Wood wool" and used for packing purposes
4. Much of the wood is also sent to Messrs. Longhurst's own timber mills at Epsom, where it is used in many ways, e.g. furniture, coffins, building etc.

Great interest was taken in the felling of the trees and the method of transporting used.
Photographs have been taken of the mechanical horse used in moving the trees, hauling them on to the drag and taking them by road.
In some cases this machine is used for pulling over the trees after they have been partly sawn through The driver gave a demonstration of this remarkably strong vehicle.
The winch and road wheels are driven by a five cylinder Gardiner Diesel and the bodywork built by Fodens works.

Seeds from the trees are grown at Messrs. Longhurst's nurseries situated at Runton near Cromer. These young trees are grown very closely together.
Thus a small area encloses thousand of young oak and other trees. These young trees grow very tall and straight.
Hedge-row trees are never used owing to the crooked and gnarled state of their growth.
Also there is a danger of nails and staples being in the wood which will damage the saws, (As the farmers use them for fencing and enclosures).
The last visit was made to the plantation on the 12th November, 1948, when it was observed that the area had been completely cleared apart from a few tall thin trees around the edge.
The clearance is now being used as a storage space for logs and has been taken over by a new owner named Semmons.