Inside Welbeck - Welbeck Woodyard
25 September 2013
Meet Mark Worthington and the Welbeck Woodyard team, caretakers of some of the most stunning woodland in the country.
Over the centuries, beautiful and bountiful forests have been a continuous feature across Welbeck’s landscape, providing much needed timber for the Estate’s many building works and a rich habitat for the Estate’s wildlife. Timber from Welbeck also played a part in works of national importance as noted in a letter dated 1695, in which Sir Christopher Wren writes to the Duke of Newcastle requesting an order of timber from Welbeck Park for beams 47 feet long to be used in the construction of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Working in Forestry demands one to be firmly rooted in the past, present and future. Mark Worthington and his team humbly see themselves as ‘custodians’ of the 5,000 acres of ancient woodland at Welbeck, managing forests planted by their predecessors centuries ago, whilst working to ensure that the Estate’s woodland areas will be thriving for generations to come.
And thriving they are. The oldest tree on Welbeck, the Porter Oak is over 500 years old. There are also chestnuts trees that have stood for over 300 years boasting girths of 15 metres. The Welbeck Woodyard team battle adverse weather, an endless stream of new diseases, the much-loathed grey squirrel, and the commercial pressures of a new global marketplace. Today’s technology does offer some reprieve, as only high quality hardwoods and very large conifers are now felled by hand, leaving the amazing modern tree harvester to sort the rest. When Mark joined the Welbeck Woodyard team 35 years ago, they were hand felling 5-10 tons of timber a day by hand with chainsaws. Today a modern harvester can cut 80-120 tons of timber in one day.
Welbeck’s woodland is an equal mix of hardwoods and softwoods, with a quarter of its timber sold as wood chip of which a portion is used to fuel the Estate’s new 800kw Biomass boiler. Three-quarters of Welbeck’s timber is sold as construction lumber, fencing materials, horse shavings and residential firewood. The Welbeck Bakehouse, producer of artisan breads on Welbeck, consume a steady supply of the Welbeck firewood to fuel their amazing wood fired ovens.
Modern forestry is not merely about felling trees and timber sales. According to Welbeck Woodyard Forestry Consultant, Andy Shirley-Priest, successful modern forestry requires a holistic approach, with a focus on diversity of species, appropriate management of age classes and the creation of rich habitats for the numerous plants and animals that share the woodland spaces. For every tree harvested on Welbeck, Mark and his team plant a hundred trees in its place, ensuring a prolific future for the Estate’s forests. They are particularly proud to note that areas of Welbeck woodland have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest by Natural England, as they provide fantastic habitats for the diverse range of wildlife living on the Estate.
What does the future hold for Mark and his Welbeck Woodyard team?
They are looking to concentrate on the production of high quality grades of timber to supply the lucrative construction materials market. They are also working to ensure that all trees planted on Welbeck are suitably matched to the various soil characteristics and climatic conditions found across the Estate. These efforts should ensure that in a century’s time, the woodlands of Welbeck will be thriving and the future Welbeck Woodyard team will be harvesting the fruits of today’s labour.
Welbeck Firewood Sales
Welbeck Woodyard supplies oak logs in cubic metre bags cut from sustainable woodlands on the Welbeck Estate. Oak logs provide excellent burning performance, offering superior heat output and burn time.
One cubic metre bag of Welbeck Oak logs £80
Two cubic metre bags of Welbeck Oak Logs £150
Three cubic metre bags of Welbeck Oak Logs £220
Welbeck kindling bags £4.50
Delivered to addressed within a 10 mile radius of the Welbeck Estate.
Please contact the Woodyard for delivery prices outside the 10 mile radius.
To place an order
- Tel: 01909 500352 / 01909 512530
Welbeck Woodyard Commercial Enquiries
- Tel: 01909 500352 / 01909 512530