We came, we saw, and we cut wood
The British APF forestry event showcases the finest woodland management techniques -- and is a must-see for enthusiasts
THE APF forestry show in Britain is one of those great events that all serious woodland owners and contractors simply must attend. It is totally focused on forestry and the range of equipment on display covers virtually all aspects of woodland management.
It is a biennial event and this year was held at Cannock Chase near Staffordshire in a large, partially afforested area owned by the Forestry Commission. I travelled there on the Friday after the Ploughing Championships and found the ease of access and the range of machinery on show a major improvement on what was on display in Athy.
The site was a relatively simple 40-minute drive from Birmingham Airport and many Irish foresters and others made the journey to renew contacts and discover what is new in the forestry world. There were more than 230 trade stands plus large arenas for the numerous competitions showing forestry skills in action.
These included the European chainsaw carving championships, with entrants from both America and Europe, the world pole-climbing championships, where competitors ascended two giant redwoods, axe and chainsaw felling, woodland crafts, axe throwing, horse logging and even a specially constructed mountain bike track to show how woodland can be used profitably for recreation and timber production.
From a visitor's point of view, it was easy to view all the demonstrations, try out the equipment and see the different machines, both large and small, working in woodland. The show is held over three days and I regretted having only arranged for a one-day visit as there was so much to do and see.
Along with the astonishing range of displays, there were seminars and lectures on issues of current interest to woodland owners, but the real advantage was to be able to talk directly to the suppliers and view proper demos before making that big decision on what one might buy.
The firewood processors on show included monster machines that could handle mature oak or beech down to the smaller processors and splitters for home use. These processors are constantly improving but I have yet to find one that will cover all needs. Price is of course a huge consideration and it is essential for anyone contemplating buying one to check them all and arrange for a demo.
Back-up for spares and repairs is also very important and it would seem wise when purchasing to ensure if possible that there is a reputable Irish agent to provide aftercare.