Opportunities aplenty from alternative ventures to profit from your woodland
Woodland owners have an asset that most others can only dream of and I frequently read articles about 'My Woodland', written by people who have saved for years to get together the money to buy a small bit of land with some trees.
Because of the struggle, they fully appreciate the value of what they now have. They have installed paths for leisure, sporting purposes and management, and enjoy foraging for foliage, fruits and nuts from the woodland edge.
Many farmers produce their own wood chip and sawdust for livestock bedding and outwintering pads. Hazel and holly have a ready-made market and some are even selling charcoal, birch beer, and small diameter materials for crafts.
I have sold many lengths of ash for gate making and as poles for tents. I have even sold ash thinnings to Dublin Zoo for natural perches for birds and climbing frames for monkeys.
There are endless possibilities to earn money, apart from the obvious products such as sawlog, hurley ash butts and dry fuel. Willow of different colours can be easily grown for craft work and one man in Limerick is enjoying a nice income from growing gourmet mushrooms in his wood for sale to local restaurants and delicatessens.
By hiring a wood mizer for a day or so, valuable planks and construction material can be created at home, and a forester I know in Wales is using pigs to keep the woodland clear of briars while profitably selling organic pork.
Another has installed tracks for mountain biking and the rougher the terrain, the better the bikers like it.
The public are keen to buy wood fuel and other natural products from local sources. We can all take advantage of this and, at the same time, enjoy a bit of activity in our own woodland and put cash in our pockets.