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Kielder Forest - spreading turfs
Forestry Memories
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No: 3781   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 1952
Kielder Forest - spreading turfs

Photograph is courtesy and copyright of Forestry Commission, Forest Research, Roslin, and provided with help from Glen Brearley. FR Photo No P633. The image taken by V Blankaburgs thought to be around 1952.

Not Scottish forestry but such a great action shot of men working on a rutter spade and drag. Note how the area has been ploughed with a single furrow Cuthbertson plough and tractor at very wide spacing and the peat plough ridge is being sliced up into individual turfs by the man with the rutter spade (possibly a cross cutting rutter). The second man with the drag is hauling out the cut turfs and spacing them at the then required planting distances of around 5 feet by 5 feet in a grid iron fashion. See the PDF for another view of the finished site planted with Sitka spruce.

This method was used in the early days of ploughing when tractors and ploughs were a limited resource shared between many forests. Also at this time forests had very large teams of permanent workers where a large part of their year’s work was taken up with hand preparing the sites for planting. This wide space ploughing formed a bridge between the tractor and plough teams becoming more numerous and a gradual decrease in the numbers of manual workers on the forest. However forests still had to have enough labour resources to complete the actual planting programmes between November and the following May which could be very difficult in years with hard winters.

Can the men be named?
Picture added on 17 January 2018 at 19:06
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Forest Research
Forestry Areas
Forestry in Action
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