Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

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 wilder future for a bit of Gravenhu...

A wilder future for a bit of Gravenhurst
I first came across the term ‘succession’ in a biological context during my ‘A’ levels, many years ago. Unlike most of the stuff included in those exam courses, it really caught my attention. It wasn’t until well into the first year of the biology degree course I later scraped on to, that I noticed it [...]

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 [...]

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