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"Woodland Therapy" and outdoor counselling.

“Woodland Therapy” and outdoor counselling.

by Mark Wood ~ 28 August, 2015 ~ 2 comments

For a long time I wanted to take my therapy outside of the office, and indeed outside of any boxes, so I am really pleased that I can offer “talking therapy” in one of Woodlands.co.uk’s woodlands near Ashford in Kent. The best way of understanding this kind of therapy, is for you to hear from some of my clients. Here a client describes the differences she sees between the therapy I offer, and the support she has received from her mental health team in recent years:

When I walked into the waiting room of the mental health department I was met by signs, posters and pictures all telling me about the different kinds of conditions and diseases I can be suffering from. I then sat in a waiting room surrounded by people who looked as if they no longer saw life as a positive choice, which you drink up like a sponge.  Read more…

"Woodland Gardening" from 'Plants for a Future'.

“Woodland Gardening” from ‘Plants for a Future’.

by Chris ~ 26 August, 2015 ~ one comment

A book entitled “Woodland Gardening” has grown out of a project that began back in 1980s / 90s.  “Plants for a Future” began in 1989 when a 28 acre plot of land was bought by Ken and Addy Fern near Lostwithiel, Cornwall.   The aim was to demonstrate the importance and many uses of plants, particularly perennials using permaculture techniques.   This is in marked contrast to many aspects of current agricultural practice, which involves the constant working of the soil, the intensive use of ‘agro-chemicals’ and a heavy reliance of a limited palette of annual crops.

Their woodland gardening ‘seeks to emulate beneficial aspects of natural woodland’.  In woodlands, trees, shrubs and herbs all grow alongside one another year after year, offering shelter and food to various animals, including us.   The soil is stable and its structure and fertility are maintained through the natural recycling of materials and nutrients. Read more…

A wooden summerhouse: part 3, a green roof.

A wooden summerhouse: part 3, a green roof.

by Anita ~ 19 August, 2015 ~ 2 comments

After a long break, construction of our summerhouse has now resumed. The reciprocal frame structure described in the previous blog now carries a ‘green’ roof and is fully weatherproof.

The first step in creating the green roof was to lay a deck of timber planks across the top of the rafters. The underside of these planks is left exposed to form the building’s ceiling. Fixing these planks to the frame was not as easy as it sounds; the geometry of the overlapping rafters threw up some awkward angles which became increasingly acute. At the very top of the roof, the angles meant that it became impossible to continue the timber right up to the central opening. A thinner, more flexible material was needed – provided, in the end, by some cut-up plastic ringbinders. Read more…

Bumblebees and climate change.

Bumblebees and climate change.

by Lewis ~ 13 August, 2015 ~ one comment

Bumblebees are important pollinating agents of food crops (especially of fruit – like blueberries) and also of many wild flowers.   Some sources have estimated that insect pollination is key to the production of a third of the foods and drinks that we consume.

Unfortunately, bumblebee species have been in decline for some time; indeed, during the course of the 20th century, the short haired bumblebee became extinct in the United Kingdom.   The reason for the decline in bumblebee numbers (and species) is not clear but habitat loss and the extensive / intensive use of pesticides have been cited.

However, recent analysis by research scientists*  in the States, Canada and Europe indicates that global warming is a key factor. Read more…

Modern tents and woodland camping

Modern tents and woodland camping

by Angus ~ 6 August, 2015 ~ 5 comments

At a recent Glastonbury festival over 5,500 tents were abandoned with over 6,500 sleeping bags and 400 gazebos just left behind.  This is despite modern tents being lightweight.  It seems that tents are now cheap enough for many people to treat them as disposable items, but at least in an organised event there are people willing to clean up after the casual camper and many of the Glastonbury tents were recycled (technically, they were reused).

Lightness and cheapness in tents are recent phenomena brought about by the efforts of manufacturers and inventors such as Richard Buckminster Fuller.  Fuller or “Bucky”, as his friends called him, was by any measure both eccentric and a visionary.   Although he died in 1983, you can still see him speaking about his ideas on youtube – one of his recurring thoughts was that structures should get their strength through tension rather than weight. Read more…

Plant defences and toxins.

Plant defences and toxins.

by Chris ~ 30 July, 2015 ~ 2 comments

A number of our native plants contains toxic chemicals.  One reason that plants produce such substances is that they help protect against herbivory, i.e. being eaten by various grazing animals (these may vary from sheep, cows, horses to a variety of phytophagous (plant eating) insects).  Some white clovers (Trifolium repens), for example, contain a chemical that releases cyanide when the leaves are crushed or eaten  (under the influence of an enzyme, linamarase) – this affords some protection against being eaten by slugs and snails.   Read more…

The Big Butterfly (and moth) Count, 2015.

The Big Butterfly (and moth) Count, 2015.

by Lewis ~ 25 July, 2015 ~ 2 comments

The big butterfly count is up and running for this year.  It was launched in 2010 and has become one of the world’s biggest survey of butterflies.

It is a nationwide survey and is aimed at assessing the ‘health” of our environment, and that of butterfly populations.  Butterflies and moths are good indicators of biodiversity, and reflect changes in various environmental parameters.

In 2014, over 44,000 people took part; they counted some 560,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK (view the 2014 results). Read more…

Dead hedging : wildlife friendly and people guiding.

Dead hedging : wildlife friendly and people guiding.

by Angus ~ 23 July, 2015 ~ 5 comments

Dead hedges are piles of branches and twigs arranged to form a barrier which are increasingly used as a way to dispose of the material that arises from thinning or clearing operations in woodlands. Tree surgeons call this waste material of saplings and side branches “arisings” whereas foresters tend to call it “lop and top”. Using surplus branches in this way is good for wildlife – especially for small mammals and birds – because it gives them somewhere to shelter that is protected from predators and from the wind and rain. It’s also good for insects: dead hedges in effect create a linear eco-pile. Recently we at woodlands.co.uk have been using dead hedging as a way of guiding the public to stay on public footpaths and to discourage people from walking across sensitive areas of a woodland. In many situations the dead hedge needs to have gaps left in it for deer paths and for managers and owners to get around the woodland. Read more…

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