Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Coppice day with Clophill Heritage Trust

Coppicing chat in Bottoms' Corner with Wassledine

Coppicing chat in Bottoms’ Corner with Wassledine

A day  spent talking about coppicing, ancient woodland and the stuff we do? Hardly a tough assignment really! Given that this is stuff I should be able to do in my sleep, I did spend a whole load of time preparing for it. This was a trial run for the  Clophill Heritage Trust , a splendid local charity that has done some amazing work restoring a disused church and building some  ‘ecolodges’. They are keen to link up with other local organisations (great for us) to get into education in a very broad sense.

So the day started with me running through some definitions, a fair bit of history (I could hardly do this without revisiting The history of the Countryside and other of Oliver Rackham’s work, given his sad death last week). We then decamped to our small woods in Gravenhurst where I turned from the theoretical to the actual, to talk about how we manage our small ancient woodland and plantation of hazel. Everyone was very happy to get their hands on a billhook and try their hand at cutting and processing a bit of hazel.

All credit to Ali and Richard from the Trust f0r bringing all of this together – all the stuff they are doing, not just last Saturday.

We are running a couple of days of willow weaving in Clophill during the Easter holidays. There are probably spaces if you fancy a try at making a  screen from willow, get in touch with them.

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