Fell and Process Small Trees Training

Our felling small trees up to 380mm courses run regularly, Whether you are new to the industry or been using chainsaw and felling trees for years this is the course for you.

Felling and Processing Small Trees Up To 380mm

(formerly CS31 chainsaw course)

Felling small trees, to fell or not to fell, that is the question. So, the felling and processing small trees up to 380mm course is what you’re looking for. It would seem the time has come for you to get your felling qualification, you could be:

  • new to the world of felling trees
  • being felling trees already
  • having the opportunity for a new contract or tender
  • needing evidence of a certificate to show competence
Unfortunately we are no longer able to offer this course as a single unit, only as part of the combined CS30-31 course. Please see the Chainsaw maintenance, cross cutting and felling of small trees.  

There are many reasons why you have found your way to this basic chainsaw course, and we understand you may have lots of questions. Or you know exactly what you are looking for. No matter where you are coming from the place to start felling trees is here, with the felling and processing of trees up to 380mm course (previously CS31 chainsaw course).

Not only is this a great starting place for those who have not used or had the experience of felling trees. As folk tend to forget that we all have to start somewhere. It is perfect for those experienced users too. As in everything, there is always the potential to learn something new if you are open to the experience.

For those who have been working within the land based sector such as a:
  • budding arborist
  • forester
  • farmer
  • hedge layer
  • gamekeeper
  • landscaper
  • utility worker e.g. rail, highways

Our three-day felling course allows you plenty of time to learn to read the trees, pick the right cut and know how to deal with a hung-up tree because it is bound to happen!

Providing ample opportunity to practice for the assessment process on the fourth day.

Please ensure you already have the chainsaw maintenance and cross-cutting (formally CS30) qualification before applying for this unit. 

To allow you to fell small trees up to 380mm in diameter, you must have first completed the chainsaw maintenance and cross-cutting (CS30) qualification. You can then work your way to the next unit. Or you could fast-track a little and do the combined unit in the same week together, Chainsaw Maintenance and Felling Small Trees up to 380mm (formerly CS30-31)

Many of you are already actively using chainsaws. However, you may have discovered that as a professional operator you need a certificate of competence. To enable you to carry on doing so.

You may have been asked by:
  • your employer
  • or a new contract opportunity to demonstrate competence through certification
  • your farm or forestry association or assurance body

Whether you could be new to the job or have been doing it for over 40 years and things have changed. If so and you are faced with having to gain your chainsaw qualifications have you been:

  • struggling to find the right fit in terms of a training provider?
  • confused by all the names, numbers and acronyms for the land based courses that are available to you?
  • worried you will get it wrong or waste your hard-earned money?
  • concerned that it will feel like going back to school?
  • looking to gain a qualification to continue with jobs because legislation has changed?
  • offered a new and exciting contract, but need another ticket/qualification to seal the deal?
Then we can help you!

No matter which sector you are coming from, and your level of experience. We can work with you to understand your training needs. To tailor a programme and provide courses that will be suitable for you.

Providing award-winning training through tailored, flexible, friendly, approachable trainers and assessors.

All courses are run in small groups. To ensure you have as much time as needed to learn and experience the requirements for the assessments. If you chose to take them. Trainers and assessors are experienced, friendly, and approachable.

Finally, as with all Lowe Maintenance courses, you get support and advice via email or on the phone. If you need it in the future. Just because you’ve completed the course doesn’t mean you can’t get in touch if you need more information or guidance.


City and Guilds accreditation

Is the certificate you will gain on successful completion of your felling small trees assessments. 

A  three-day course, with a third day for the assessment

Group sizes for the basic chainsaw course are no more than four candidates to one trainer, so nice small group sizes. To allow for plenty of discussion and questions. 

You will have access to the Lowe Maintenance portal on booking where you will find leaflets and updates to look through before attending the practical session. 

On this felling small trees up to 380mm course you will be learning about:

  • importance of chainsaw maintenance and how to keep your chain sharp
  • signs of a damage bar and chain and the impacts on the cut you make
  • risks involved in using chainsaws and how to stay safe
  • reading the lean of the timber
  • when not to use certain cuts
  • the difference between snedding hardwood and softwood
  • importance of biosecurity
  • industry best practice and processing timber to the required standard
  • what you need to do in an emergency
  • how health and safety legislation will affect you

Also, a huge bonus for you is that you can hire one of our chainsaws at no extra cost for the length of this basic chainsaw course – how amazing is that!

Bear in mind that this course is physically demanding and requires the carrying of equipment in woodland and forest environment. You will have to carry your kit and equipment during this basic chainsaw course.   

Candidate portal

On booking your course you will be given access to the candidate portal, where you will find lots of leaflets and documentation to read through, ideally before you attend the course. This helps you with the terminology during the course and gives you a heads-up of what to expect in any discussions and practical sessions. There are even some videos we need you to watch to help embed your learning in preparation for your basic chainsaw course and assessments. 


The chainsaw maintenance and small trees training is three days, on a fourth day, you will be assessed by an independent City and Guilds assessor. 

We may be stating the obvious and it is sad that we have to be saying this as it appears it is not common practice. 

When attending a course with us, you must follow any instructions that are given when using any equipment and carrying out tasks, for the safety of all involved. 

For further details please see our terms and conditions for courses.


Other courses of interest to you


Clearly it is always best to bring your own chainsaw to the course if you have one so that you learn to maintain your own.

But no, we can provide the chainsaw, sharpening kit, felling bar at no extra cost. However, this is under the provisio that any damages and/or losses are replaced. 

We do apprecaite the catch 22, how do you know what to buy you’ve not done the course yet. 

  1. on/off switch
  2. rear handguard
  3. two-stage throttle trigger
  4. safety decals
  5. chain catcher
  6. directional exhaust
  7. anti-vibration mounts
  8. chain brake
  9. safety chain/limits kickback
  10. bar chain cover

These are the standard safety features but there are others, it depends on the make of chainsaw. There may also be other adaptations of these features.

As a forester, arborist, farmer, landscaper, gamekeeper, greenskeeper, smallholder and people with a private woodland etc.  If you are cutting saplings on a regular basis and the size starts to creep up, you will very quickly end up with the size of the tree that needs a bit more control and thought to fell it. The course teaches you how to read the tree and work out what you can and can’t do and how to work safely.

All stickers on a chainsaw must be legible and fully in place. There are some that provide specific safety information. It could be classed as an insurance / HSE fail if they are not in a good readable condition if an accident occurs. 

Alkylate fuel is very good and can be left for a long time. However, if you are using a self-mix two-stroke fuel, don’t leave it too long as it can separate. This is not good for the cylinder head. 

  • a conventional felling cut
  • a cut for a tree with the weight and lean in the direction of fall
  • a cut for a tree where the weight is slightly opposing the line of fall

Most suppliers will have a good cleaner available. Although an industrial wet wipe cleans most oils and resins from your chainsaw.

No, it’s not a matter of throwing wood about, you use your head and think problems through or seek assistance if required.

There is a cant hook on the felling bar and tongs are available to limit arm strain when moving logs. As a result, both are very handy to have in the working environment.

  • helmet with ear defenders and a visor (in date)
  • protective chainsaw gloves
  • chainsaw trousers
  • chainsaw boots or wellies
  • personal first aid kit
  • felling bar
  • chainsaw with a bar no larger than 15 inch
  • relevant sharpening kit

Yes, however, when you are a competent operator your insurance may let you modify your dress code in accordance with HSE.

The fuel filter is a micropore filter and can’t really be cleaned. So if it looks badly stained or you have a problem with the saw, replace it. However, a good clean fuel should keep your filter going for a number of years with no problems.

A full chisel chain is a more aggressive cutter and used normally for fresh-cut wood and pines, it processes wood very well. Although beware that a full chisel can lose its edge easily because it is so aggressive. The semi-chisel is not as aggressive and is used as a general-purpose chain. Depending again on what you are cutting, it can keep its edge a bit better. Our workbooks, provided during the chainsaw maintenance course, demonstrate this with good pictures. 

There is no restriction on bar and chainsaw size it’s down to being able to handle it safely. Of course bigger chainsaws are heavier and longer bars are harder to control. However, it is all down to getting the best tool for the job and being able to safely control it.

Anyone who uses chainsaws as a professional must have certificates of competence to be insured

There is no such thing as grandfather rights in the use of chainsaws

Unfortunately, not, because there are many different situatuls and scenarios in using chiansaws. So it is not possible to just have one ticket to cover everything.


It depends on the size of timber we are cutting, not just diameter but length too. We will show you safe methods of manual handling on the course; however, you could always ask for assistance too. Of course, leaving a site nicely stacked ready for extraction shows a level of professional attention to detail that may get you more work in the future.

Yes, and very well. The chainsaws are now much lighter, the equipment is much more user friendly and most women are tough. They are also very good at thinking a problem through and not just fighting with the tree.

Of course you should be wearing a helmet to limit injury from falling objects. Purpose brought helmets have combined ear defenders and mesh visor which are compatible so offer the right level of protection. 

It depends on your budget, the alkylate fuels are very good and better for your lungs and the environment but can be expensive if you are using a lot.

Normal unleaded petrol is cheaper but has several health issues with it. It may be that the contract or site owner has a preference in which case you may have to follow their guidelines.

Yes, chainsaw wellies are fine. They are a good alternative from chainsaw boots and comply with the industry footwear regulations. They just aren’t very comfortable and tend to be a bit big and bulky.

On a Lowe Maintenance course, we will show you how to deal with getting your chainsaw unstuck, obviously once you have switched it off!

Moreover, by the end of the course, you’ll know exactly how to deal with the situation as you’ll be reading the tension and compression during cross cutting.

As the name suggests the bar guides the saw through the cut. If you do not maintain the bar then you will find it harder to cut straight and the bar may fail in a way that can be dangerous to the operator.

If when you are cross-cutting and the wood coming from the chain is like dust not little square chips or you find you are having to push harder on the saw to cut. Then it is time to look at how sharp your chain is.

There is no limit, each tree you fell will add to your knowledge and ability to fell properly. In addition, if you just rush around cutting and not being careful, then you won’t learn anything and will tire easily.

If you cut close to the ground, you maximise the amount of wood extracted.

Furthermore, it is also safer to cut close to the floor if anything goes wrong the more of you that is below the hinge then the more gets hurt. Industry-standard would also encourage you to cut as close to the ground too, high cuts could result in lost future work.

If a tree you fell does not fall to the ground but gets stuck in a neighbouring tree, it is called a hung-up tree.

If you did the City and Guilds tickets and you still have your certificates, then yes, they should still stand. If you can be found on the City and Guilds system, have copies of certificates or your ID card.

Some people do each unit one at a time. However, you can combine the chainsaw maintenance and cross cutting 20-03 with the felling and processing up to 380mm 20-04 and complete both units in the same week.

Ideally, store the chainsaw with the chain brake on due to the nature of the brake spring and the force it is left under when the brake is off.

Softwood is mainly pines, whereas the term hardwood is mainly used to describe a broadleaf tree-like beech, oak etc. As a result, there are slightly different techniques for processing the timber which you will be made aware of during your training.

The best practice is to turn the bar over every time you maintain the saw to even out the wear and prolong the life of the bar.

Tidy, stacks with the butts to one end in case a chipper is going to be used later. Besides, the last thing you want to be doing is fighting with the brash pile because it was badly stacked.

It’s the forces that can build up in a piece of wood. If you take a broom handle and bridge it across two points, then put a bit of weight in the middle you will see the handle bend. The fibres at the bottom of the handle are being stretched or put under tension and the fibres at the top are being compressed. However, with a tree, it’s not quite as easy to read, however, if you get it right you are less likely to get your chainsaw stuck!

They are a handy tool to use in the woods, for lifting and rolling wood.

For this reason, we provide felling bars for the courses, in case you don’t need it after you take the course; it’s a waste to buy one just for a week’s course.

If you have surveyed the site and are sure there are no nests, then you are okay to cut. However, you must not hit a tree while you cut even if the bird is on the vermin control nest you can not disturb a nest that is in use.

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