Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

First binders from Bottoms’ Corner


Our first hazel binders - 1 November 2010

Our first hazel binders - 1 November 2010

Creating a woodland is a slow old business. Since we planted Bottoms’ Corner, our small hazel wood, we’ve been watching every small development with a fair degree of excitement that we tend to keep to ourselves – we’ve found that most normal people don’t particularly see the joy in growing sticks.  

The first cut of a coppice plot and the first sale of sticks from the wood were moments that stay in my mind particularly, but some milestones creep up and pass almost without notice. The change from field to wood happened sometime a few years ago now but I’m not sure when; something about views disappearing, a feeling of enclosure and even of being far away from anywhere.

Today I delivered the wood’s first hazel hedge binders. I wasn’t expecting to produce any yet; the hazel hasn’t felt up to it, but as I cut the first few stools for a local hedge layer who wants to get cracking early in the season, I realised that amongst the other usable sticks, were some that would do as binders. Only 120 so far but that’s fantastic – only a twelve year wait. The wood has also produced several hundred hedge stakes so far this autumn (to be used with the binders, alongside the Grand Union Canal near Leighton Buzzard), and a reasonable pile of beanpoles – already we prepare for National Beanpole Week.

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