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Composting loos and wild garlic.

Composting loos and wild garlic.

by Mark Reeves ~ 14 February, 2018 ~ one comment

It is as the days start to get longer again and the odd shoot of wild garlic starts to show itself, I find myself digging up a rather odd crop. ….    I should first explain  ….    I have been working in outdoor education for twenty five years, much of that time providing camping expeditions for school age children. This takes place in a range of settings. Amongst the challenges these trips present, toileting looms very large. Although bears may have no trouble in the woods, we humans sometimes struggle.

Our options range from chemical porta potties to full composting loos in a cabin, or sometimes just a quick hole in the ground.  Our off-grid woodland camp sports nine composting loos spread across the 150 acre site! Read more...

Pine cones - an activity

Pine cones – an activity

by Lewis ~ 9 February, 2018 ~ one comment

Half term is coming, and perhaps you will be visiting your own wood  or walking through woodland during the holiday period.   Below is a simple activity (that you could supervise) which might interest younger members of the family.

Did you know that sometimes pine cones stay on the trees for some years, before falling to the ground? During that time, seeds form under the scales of the pine cones.   The scales have two important functions

  • to protect the seeds from bad weather and
  • to protect the seeds from foraging, hungry animals.

Eventually, the seeds are released so that they can grow into new trees. To have the best chance of finding fertile soil and growing successfully, the pine cone scales stay tightly closed (see featured image) when the weather is cold and wet as these conditions are not suitable for germination and growth of a young seedling.   Read more...

Old Tools

Old Tools

by Ruth ~ 2 February, 2018 ~ 2 comments

We all have a favourite tool we use in the woods – perhaps a hammer with a particularly comfortable handle, a spade gifted by a loved one when you bought your wood, or possibly an old tool picked up from a boot fair or passed down from an older generation that does the job better than its modern equivalent.   A recent visit to my Uncle David’s farm in Leicestershire started me thinking about older tools – and how small woodland owners are likely to use a mix of old and new – tools that simply are best suited to the job in hand.

A great collector of old farming tools, my Uncle David has amassed an incredible collection of tools and implements from the last few decades of farming. What started as an interest has developed over the years into a passion and his collection is occasionally opened to local groups who can enjoy and learn about these tools.

Here is a selection from the collection, some of which may look very familiar, others of which have a very specific purpose.

This hinged hooked tool (pictured above) was used to pull logs up onto a saw bench. Read more...

Actress Dame Judi Dench arrives at The Orange British

Judi Dench has a “passion for trees” and her BBC programme explains why

by Angus ~ 31 December, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Best known as an actor, and a "national treasure", Judi Dench has had a passion for trees since she was a young girl and she owns a small 6-acre woodland which she's had for about 30 years.  This ultimate woodland programme can be seen on BBC catch-up TV - just search "Judi Dench my passion for trees".  It's a single one hour programme and takes us through a whole year, mostly in Surrey and often looking at older oak trees.  As Judi says, at one point, "my life now is just trees ... trees and, er, champagne."

Shakespeare has always been a big part of Judi Dench's life and she has acted in some thirty Shakespeare plays starting in the late 1950s and culminating, according to some, in her playing "M" of MI6 in James Bond.  Read more...



by Dick ~ 28 December, 2017 ~ comments welcome

An easy 25-minute walk along the water-front from the centre of Stockholm brings you to the island of Djurgarden, home to many of the region’s finest museums. There really is something for everyone here; from the restored splendour of the 17th century warship Vasa – salvaged from the bottom of Stockholm harbour where it lay for 333 years after sinking only minutes into its maiden voyage [a Nordic Marie Rose?], through the traditional / formal exhibits at the grand Nordic Museum to the glitz and glitter of the Abba museum.

But it is the outdoor museum Skansen which draws me back each time I visit this beautiful city. Read more...

Season's Greetings

Season’s Greetings

by woodlands blogs ~ 17 December, 2017 ~ one comment

Treebytree – a social movement to plant trees, create woodlands and celebrate

Treebytree – a social movement to plant trees, create woodlands and celebrate

by Dick ~ 15 December, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Tree by tree is a project set up by Tino Rawnsley and his partner Catherine Selby.   A woodworker and woodsman all his life, Tino has been passionate about trees ever since childhood playing in the woods and coppices of the north downs of Kent.   In late 2016, Tino was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, a life limiting disease for which there is currently no cure.

Below, Tino explains what led to the setting up of the project and his hopes for its future. Read more...

Volunteering for health and wellbeing at Tortworth arboretum

Volunteering for health and wellbeing at Tortworth arboretum

by woodlands blogs ~ 8 December, 2017 ~ comments welcome

The arboretum at Tortworth is a very special place. It has a long and interesting history and boasts some incredible exotic trees. The trees are a living history of the woodland and the family that planted it, but a few years ago the collection was at risk of decline through lack of management. That is, until 3 years ago when woodlands.co.uk purchased the woodland and the trees were given a new lease of life -  while also changing lives.   The 20 acre site is now managed by a community woodland group who are gently restoring the trees and at the same time, making a difference to people, as we hear from one of their regular volunteers.


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