Walkers should take great care in any wood or forest during high winds when loose or dead branches and even trees are more likely to fall.
Any loose overhead debris is known by foresters as a “Widow Makers” because dead branches can be dislodged by wind or vibrations caused when working in the woods, possibly with with fatal consequences.
These occurrences, although rare, do happen, so enjoy the woods but be vigilant and exercise caution especially during windy periods.
Volunteers Pat, Alastair and Terry stand next to a “Widow Maker” branch that they have just dislodged and made safe. The group could not believe the size of the limb because it had looked much smaller when it had been suspended high in the canopy! This particular branch had fallen from a large oak tree and was precariously suspended by branches of a hornbeam directly above a heavily used path in Birchanger Wood.
The method employed by the group to dislodge the branch was to use a bow and arrow to thread a fishing line over the branch,. One end of the fishing line was then attached to a strong rope which was then threaded over the branch. A running bowline was then tied in one end of the rope allowing the rope to be securely attached to the branch. Brute force was then employed to dislodge the branch which then came down with a huge crash, breaking into several pieces as it landed.