Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Wilding, a book review

Wilding, a book review
Wilding, the return of nature to a British farm, Isabella Tree. 2018, pub. Picador If I was writing a review for the back of this book I think “thought provoking” would do nicely. Given freedom to add another word, I’d go for “extremely thought provoking”. Having read the book in the spring after my wife [...]

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, [...]

Weaving willow in Essex

Weaving willow in Essex
I spent an enjoyable day this week, with a charming couple in Essex, building a pair of woven willow fences in their lovely garden. We had started talking about the project eight months before, in the depths of winter and whilst it took a while to sort out the details, the bulk of the delay [...]

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 [...]

Natural winners and losers

Natural winners and losers
I was chatting to Colin Carpenter recently. It was late in the day and the weather was mild. We were in a chatting mood. Colin runs the Community Tree Trust from a nursery in Maulden and it seems we share a fascination for the natural world as well as a lifelong obsession with trees. We [...]

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 [...]

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