I met Toby and Jack as they worked on a coup of oak trees. The oaks were tall and straight - about 150 years old and valued at £30,000 apparently. Despite vocal protestations from local walkers, the trees were being felled.
Toby thinks differently to recreational walkers. As Head Forester, he sees the coup in fifty, one hundred, one hundred and fifty years' time. As a farmer would plan a crop of wheat, Toby plans a harvest of wood, followed by planting, protection from deer, thinning, more thinning and then harvest again - perhaps by his great grandson?
I watched as a mighty oak was partially cut, then metal wedges were inserted to precisely direct the angle of fall. The tree resisted, refusing to give way but eventually, inevitably collapsed. Quickly, Toby climbed over the stricken limbs, cutting, chopping until it lay like a disconnected skeleton across the woodland floor. The trunk would go for timber buildings, or perhaps furniture, the limbs for firewood. The brash would be burned where it lay, ready for the new planting.
"There will be a lot of foxgloves here next summer" said Toby.