TRAINEE lumberjack Daniel Chapman has been given a big job ahead of the festive season – felling large Christmas trees.

The 26-year-old, from Stanley, County Durham, is currently completing a Forestry Commission trainee craftsperson course in 2,000 hectare Hamsterley Forest and his duties have taken him into the wood to chop down big Christmas trees.

“I'm a practical person so felling Christmas trees is much better than working in an office,” said Ian, whose training includes how to use a chainsaw.

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“I love being outdoors and started working for the commission collecting fees on the forest toll at Hamsterley.”

The British Christmas Trees Growers' Association claims bigger trees might be short supply this year, but forest chiefs say they have good home-grown supplies of Norway spruce in Hamsterley Forest.

Consignments are being earmarked for sale in Hamsterley and also further afield in places like Chopwell Woodland Park and Gibside, near Gateshead.

Christmas tree sales run daily in Hamsterley from December 1 to 16, 10am to 4pm. Cash raised will be used used to care for the region’s woods.

Other sales centres run at Kielder Castle, on December 8 and 9, 11am to 4pm, and at the Forestry Commission office in Rothbury, on Walby Hill, from December 7 to 9 and 14 to 16, 9am-4pm.