Set in the heart of East Sussex is the Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club. Woodland management plays a key part in their maintenance regime, as does the new GreenMech Eco 150 TMP they have recently purchased. Maintained by Chris Mitchell and his team of ten greens staff, this 1888 established, two 18-hole heathland course, has embarked on the Countryside Higher Level Stewardship programme with Natural England.
Chris, who's been at Royal Ashdown for 44 years, explains, "As participants in the Natural England scheme, we're embarking on a tree clearance project to try and return areas back to natural heathland with an eventual aim of a 60% open heather and 40% tree split. However, our old gravity feed chipper just wasn't up to the job with the variety and quantity of material we were having to process it. We asked Alan Pierce at our local GreenMech dealership for advice and he suggested we consider the Eco 150 TMP. Having trusted Alan's judgement for a number of years we went for it and certainly haven't been disappointed - it's streets above our previous model."
The tractor mounted Eco 150 is designed to fit the 3-point linkage of compact tractors up to 45hp and can take material of up to 150mm in diameter easily in its stride. At Royal Ashdown the chipper has been faced with large pine, birch, ash and oak trees, as well as crab apple trees which most chippers can't handle.
"The Eco 150 TMP deals with crab apple an absolute treat - it really is impressive. I'm also impressed with the GreenMech Disc Blade system, though sceptical at first. I was familiar with straight blades but these are a great idea; when you get a bit of a dull edge you can just turn them round. 18 months on from the purchase of the chipper, we're still using the original set of disc blades. We're all delighted with the machine, it's easy to use and powerful enough to cope with whatever we feed through it. Not only is chipping a quicker and more environmentally friendly method of disposing of the waste, the resultant chip produced is recycled and re-used on bridle paths around the course."