Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Worms and Winter Weaning

Worms and Winter Weaning
At this time of year we aim to be completely prepared for winter.  All winter feed is in, water supplies are working and insulated against the coming frost, shed clean and tidy. For once I think we can tick all of those boxes. We put off the day when the herd comes indoors until the [...]

Fuel for thought. How your choice of ...

Fuel for thought. How your choice of charcoal affects the world
Last September, I met Lyndsey from Central Beds Council at Centenary Wood, near Greenfield, to talk about some ride widening she wanted us to do for her. In return for taking out some young trees that were overshadowing some paths and causing them to stay muddy through most of the year, we’d get to bring [...]

Sallow, Hazel and the Emperor

Sallow, Hazel and the Emperor
For years I’ve been waging low­key war on the sallow that grows in one hazel plantation we look after. (Sallow for simplicity, but I’m including ‘goat willow’, Salix caprea ‘grey willow’ S. cinerea, as well as hybrids of the two, under that umbrella). Knowing sallow is an important part of the woodland ecosystem, I’ve never [...]

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 [...]

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