Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

A Day in the Woods – a recipe f...

A Day in the Woods – a recipe for health?
In the past I’ve done several jobs in which talking to people about the benefits of trees, woodland and other greenspace has been an important part of my duties. I’ve also been involved in creating new woodland or in several cases, improving or developing walking and riding routes. Quite challenging work at times but very [...]

A tale of two ashes

A tale of two ashes
    About eighteen months ago I cut two small ash trees down as part of an effort to make some space for our embryonic charcoal business. These had both been planted in our small wood, Bottoms’ Corner, in February 1999, and had reached a diameter of about fifteen centimetres or so. Their absence meant [...]

A madness of cow parsley

A madness of cow parsley
There’s a lot of it about this year; cow parsley that is. I’ve noticed more of it than usual along roadsides and hedge banks all over the country. Quite often, in spring, it’s easy to be overcome by the profusion of everything after a long winter of grey and brown. It’s usually the very greenness of [...]

James and the giant stainless steel d...

James and the giant stainless steel dustbin
We’ve bought a charcoal retort. And that’s exciting. After months of deliberation, long conversations with all sorts of people, attendance at shows and demos and general procrastination, we’ve plumped for one of James Hookway’s stainless steel beauties. Having decided to give charcoal a go, I had a bash with very small and then much bigger [...]

Ash bark, a mystery

Ash bark, a mystery
Spending a great deal of time in woodland as I do, means I have regular opportunities to observe minutiae. It feels important to be able to take pleasure in apparently small and maybe inconsequential things. I took this picture a while ago. It’s the trunk of a thirty year old ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior). Some [...]

Ridges, furrows, ditches and woodbank...

Ridges, furrows, ditches and woodbanks
It’s been exciting and a bit emotional to start coppicing Chester Wood for a second time, after a twenty year gap. This was in November and December last year and we managed to get one coup cut before Christmas; an area we first cut in February 1997. Chester Wood is a small piece of ash [...]

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