I wanted to post a quick update as follows:
After all my whinging about the rhododendron problem, it turns out that it's probably cherry laurel instead! but whatever it is we are battling it and have cleared a largish banked area as you can see here.
On the next visit Dad is going to bring his chainsaw to fell a large dead chestnut tree which we are going to turn into log seats around the fire in the proposed camp area, this will provide a more comfortable area for any volunteer workers to chill out and eat hot dogs, actually probably more like thai green curry if my wife is there providing the food. So hopefully soon we will have our first big work party with lots of family and friends....that laurels really going to get it!
However, even with all the dense laurel everywhere the wood is already really fun, the fact that it's hard to explore means you find something new almost everytime you go. At first we though it was just sycamore and chestnut trees but we have since found, hazel, mountain ash, wild cherry, silver birch, beech and oak and the fact that you have to slash a path to get anywhere makes you feel like a jungle explorer. Here's one I cut this week to check out a few big trees I could see the tops of from the bank.
Will post another update again soon! Thanks for reading, Tom