Film ID:
NEFA 21976



Visitor Tabs


An amateur film made by John Martin Jackson of tree felling at Monk Wood near Whitfield in Northumberland and transportation to the filmmaker's sawmill in Hexham. Features footage of operations at J.M. Jackson's Bridge End Sawmill in Hexham and lumberjacks taking part in a number of woodcutting competitions at the Northumberland County Show, Corbridge.

The film opens in a wood of conifer trees and a man using a chainsaw to cut a tree down. With it nearly felled, the lumberjack uses the chainsaw to cut away the last of the tree's sinuses around the base. The film cuts to after the tree has fallen and a second man uses his chainsaw to cut away branches as the first man continues to work using his chainsaw on the tree's base and stump.

In a clearing, felled trees are laid out on the ground. The film cuts to show two men working to build a temporary bridge across a small river, possibly the River West Allen, using some of the felled logs. Two other men join them and they stand around chatting.

In a clearing, a crane loads logs onto the back of a Bedford logging truck. Sitting nearby four men enjoy eating their lunch. The now full logging truck makes its way slowly across the field and then across the temporary bridge seen earlier. The livery on the side of the truck reads ‘J.M. Jackson Timber Merchant, Hexham’. A view follows of the now empty bridge except for a Jaguar car parked on it.

The film changes to show the logging truck travelling along a track and then coming around a sharp bend on a country road. The film cuts to show a herd of cattle, some with their calves, in a field.

In another part of the wood two men use axes to cut down one remaining evergreen tree. Around them lie the trunks of the other felled trees. They cut downwards into the base of the tree. The film cuts to show their axes lying against the trunk beside a two-man saw. Back at work, the men use the two-man saw to cut through the base of the trunk. Eventually, the tree begins to lean and then fall to the ground. A close up view shows the rings on the tree’s cut base, then the two men using their axes to cut the branches from the felled tree. The two men pose together beside the log.

The film cuts to show chalk writing in the base of one of the felled trees that reads ’32 Girts. 210cu ft. 1970’. [Dark] Beside a road, two men using chainsaws to cut a felled tree into smaller sections. Other men work on a large tree; a fire burns nearby.  

On an open piece of ground, a logger works the controls of a cable logging machine that forms part of a tractor. The hauling cables travel to the top of a hill where the film cuts to show the tractor pulling two logs back down the hillside and stack them on a pile of other logs. A man walks over and unhooks the logs, the cables travelling back up the hill to start the process again.

Along a track in the wood, a red Highland County high-wheeled loader is attached to a number of logs. The vehicle travels through the wood and across a stream dragging the logs behind it. The film cuts to a small hill where a caterpillar-tracked vehicle pulls a number of loads of logs. Nearby the trunks of a number of large evergreen trees lie on the ground waiting to be moved.

A view of a Land Rover parked on a hillside cuts to show another large wheeled truck dragging a number of logs along a track. The film cuts to show the topless driver standing beside the logs on the track posing for the camera. The vehicle gets underway again and continues along the dusty track as lambs play nearby.

A general view of a tractor and a caterpillar-tracked vehicle cuts to a view of a large number of logs laid out on an open piece of ground. General views follow of other logging and forestry vehicles parked along a track, then the film cuts to another J.M. Jackson Bedford logging trucks being loaded. Men, standing on the back of the flatbed truck work to place the first two logs into position before tying them down. General views follow of the men loading more logs.

General views show caterpillar-tracked vehicles and tractors dragging logs around the forestry site [some of the shots are out of focus].

The film cuts to show a showground at the Northumberland County Show and a number of horse and rides speeding across the ground coming to an abrupt stop just in front of the camera. The film change to show a number of competitors taking part in an underhand wood chopping competition watched by crowds. Each man stands on a small log and uses an axe to chop it in half. Once done they move onto a second and third log and repeat. After finishing his last log, one of the sweating competitors comes to sit down on one of the logs, three other men stand around nearby.

The film cuts to show a man taking part in a tree-felling event, a number of other men sit on the ground in front of him watching. He cuts a small pocket in the side of a pole and jams a wooden jigger board into it. Climbing onto the board he repeat the action adding and second and third board. At the top he chops the tops the section off before jumping back down. The axeman then repeats the actions on the other side of the pole.

The film cuts to a brick building with livery across the top which reads: ‘J.M. Jackson. Bridge End Sawmill Hexham’. In the yard, a crane unloads a logging truck of logs watched over by a number of workmen.

The Jaguar car seen previously is parked outside a wooden building, a sign by the door reads ‘J.M. Jackson’. Other vehicles are parked in a car park nearby.

A forklift truck drives across the car park, the film cuts to show a crane moving a number of logs around the yard. General views show timber, wooden gates and a shed in the yard. In another part of the yard a man feeds pieces of wood into a wood chipping machine, a large pile of wood chips nearby.  A general view shows large piles of  logs in the yard waiting to be processed into timber. In the distance, a man at the controls of a forklift lifts a pile of timber into the air and stacks them on top of another.

Inside the sawmill a number of men load a large tree trunk onto the conveyor ready for cutting. The film cuts back outside and another logging truck arriving with more logs. A man with a chainsaw cuts smaller sections from one of a number of logs in the yard.

On a smaller circular saw just outside the sawmill, a man cuts a piece of a section of wood. Inside, general views show men moving logs though a larger circular saw cutting the wood into timber sections. Outside, general views show piles of timber and building on the site. A forklift drives across the yard to collect a small pile of timber.

The film cuts back to the Northumberland County Show and a crowd watching as three competitors take part in another event. Partly filmed in slow-motion competitors run up to a log laid out on the ground carrying chainsaws then cut square sections from it before running onto the next log. The final part of the race involves the men holding a thin log and cutting it in half with the chainsaw.

The film cuts to show the judges checking over the work of the men watched by a large crowd, amongst them a number of policemen. The judges speak with the competitors sitting nearby who then walk back onto the showground and take part in another race travelling in the opposite direction. At the end of the course a number of poles have been erected, the winner of the race is the one who cuts down the pole first. The others cut their poles down shortly after, some pushing them over.

The film ends back at the sawmill at Hexham and a vintage Ford Anglia or Popular car driving around the yard. The vehicle is painted black and white and the number ‘4’ is stencilled on the driver’s side door.