Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Posts in category Woodland

A tale of two ashes

A tale of two ashes

    About eighteen months ago I cut two small ash trees down as part of an effort to make some space for our embryonic charcoal business. These had both been planted in our small wood, Bottoms’ Corner, in February 1999, and had reached a diameter of about fifteen centimetres or so. Their absence meant […]

A madness of cow parsley

A madness of cow parsley

There’s a lot of it about this year; cow parsley that is. I’ve noticed more of it than usual along roadsides and hedge banks all over the country. Quite often, in spring, it’s easy to be overcome by the profusion of everything after a long winter of grey and brown. It’s usually the very greenness of […]

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 […]

Ash bark, a mystery

Ash bark, a mystery

Spending a great deal of time in woodland as I do, means I have regular opportunities to observe minutiae. It feels important to be able to take pleasure in apparently small and maybe inconsequential things. I took this picture a while ago. It’s the trunk of a thirty year old ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior). Some […]

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 […]

A farewell to fires?

A farewell to fires?

I heard earlier this week that the Mayor of London’s office is considering a ban on wood burning stoves and open fires in some parts of the capital where air quality is very poor. This is due apparently, to the high particulate content of wood stove smoke. My initial reaction was one of horror, of […]

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 […]

A year at Centenary Wood

A year at Centenary Wood

Unbelievably, it’s just about a year since we cut the first hazel at Centenary Wood, between Pulloxhill and Greenfield, Bedfordshire. In fact it was 12 January 2016 when we started. All in all, the trial has been a success and the new growth, although variable in vigour is pretty good. The wood dates from the […]

Muntjac

Muntjac

It would be easy to be critical of some individuals amongst our forebears. Actually that’s true in a much wider sense than the one of which I was just thinking. In this case however, I’m thinking of those probably well-meaning people in the past who thought it would  be a good idea to move species, both plant and animal, around […]

Who was this Pope bloke anyway?

Who was this Pope bloke anyway?

We own about four hectares of woodland of which one, Chester Wood, is ancient semi-natural. The rest is a plantation: Bottoms’ Corner, created in 1999. The ancient woodland is a strip that survived the destruction of what may have been a much larger wood of which no records survive as far as I know; its removal must have […]