Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Posts in category hazel

Silent Summer

Silent Summer

Suddenly it’s quiet in the woods. It happens sometime in July, and it happens almost overnight. Because for large parts of the year the wood is my office, I’m lucky enough to enjoy the seasonal tide of bird song as the sound track of my working day, so when these dramatic changes happen, even I, […]

Propagating Hazel by Layering

Propagating Hazel by Layering

Hazel (Corylus avellana), like many shrubs, can be propagated by part burying stems whilst they are still attached to the parent plant – layering. Roots and shoots will, with luck, be produced at the point of contact with the soil and these new plants can be left in place or moved to a new location. […]

A brush with the floor

A brush with the floor

Last August we spent a day on a training course making a hay rake and a besom broom in a lovely old wood near Hoddesden. It was a day run by the East Anglian Coppice Network which is part of the National Coppice Federation, and it was good just to spend time with people who, […]

Four years at Centenary Wood

Four years at Centenary Wood

It sure does feel good to have finished cutting and clearing at Centenary Wood. That’s four winters of cutting or at least four January and Februarys. Winter cutting can be hard work and sometimes daunting; last winter more than most given Jane’s hand injury that took her out of the equation. Our apprentice has been […]

Use a billhook? Read this…

Use a billhook? Read this…

Here’s a tale that I feel I should share with everyone who uses edged tools. I wish now I had taken more time to talk about it with my work colleagues. A few years ago, maybe four, whilst working up some cut hazel, I hit the back of my left hand with a billhook. The […]

James and the giant stainless steel d...

James and the giant stainless steel dustbin

We’ve bought a charcoal retort. And that’s exciting. After months of deliberation, long conversations with all sorts of people, attendance at shows and demos and general procrastination, we’ve plumped for one of James Hookway’s stainless steel beauties. Having decided to give charcoal a go, I had a bash with very small and then much bigger […]

Ridges, furrows, ditches and woodbank...

Ridges, furrows, ditches and woodbanks

It’s been exciting and a bit emotional to start coppicing Chester Wood for a second time, after a twenty year gap. This was in November and December last year and we managed to get one coup cut before Christmas; an area we first cut in February 1997. Chester Wood is a small piece of ash […]

Wassledine lumpwood charcoal goes to ...

Wassledine lumpwood charcoal goes to market

We are pretty excited about getting our first charcoal into a local retailer. So a big thank you to Stephen’s Plants on the A507 at Maulden, Beds (great bijou garden centre with expert advice on hand) for giving us this opportunity. Even after extensive research during 2016, including a trip to beautiful Sussex to attend the wonderful and dare […]

Pea sticks – the bees knees for...

Pea sticks – the bees knees for peas

We’ve cut more hazel in Bottoms’ Corner this winter than ever before and that means there are vast amounts of pea sticks to be bundled and sold. Good news for us because we are receiving orders for large numbers from commercial gardens. It seems that word is getting around the gardening world about hazel as a top stick […]

Charcoal – burning bright in my...

Charcoal – burning bright in my mind

I seem to have developed another obsession to add to a few others I have collected over the years. It’s a man thing I think or perhaps men are more obvious about it. I’m not too bad compared to some blokes I’ve come across in the past. I don’t spend weeks away sailing, or long […]