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A band of ten wild women in the wood

A band of ten wild women in the wood

by Melissa and Angus ~ 8 June, 2018 ~ comments welcome

Despite suffering insect bites, scratched legs, and a general lack of washing, this was an expedition which brought together ten women who shared their concerns - Jo had recently lost a baby, Charlene's mother had died of lung cancer, one was anxious about getting pregnant, another was a full-time carer and one woman had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.  Despite personal issues, or perhaps because of them, the whole experience of this survival challenge and sleeping under the stars left the group "mentally and emotionally on a real high". Read more...

How to make an adjustable pot hanger system.

How to make an adjustable pot hanger system.

by Craig Fordham ~ 1 June, 2018 ~ comments welcome

Finally, it seems like spring has sprung and more people are getting out into the woods. What better way is there to enjoy your time then to be able to make yourself a hot drink on an open fire? Today I’ll show you the way I make an adjustable pot hanger set for cooking and boiling water over a small open fire.


Tools needed for this are pretty simple really, a saw and a knife. A Bahco Laplander folding saw works well and a fixed blade knife is preferable for jobs like this. I’m using a custom made tang knife by a company called Stoney Paths.


I am using green wood as it’s easier to carve and won’t burn as easily and have gone with Hazel. You will need: One long straight pole thumb thick and two/three feet long, one Y-shaped piece around 'thumb thick', and 2 “7” sticks (a piece off a branch that looks a little like a number 7 shape).


The Great British Bee Count (and App) - 2018.

The Great British Bee Count (and App) – 2018.

by Chris ~ 19 May, 2018 ~ one comment

This week saw the start of the 2018 Great British Bee Count.  The aim of the count is to estimate the number of bumblebees and solitary bees that are buzzing around this year.  As the woodlands blog has reported on many occasions, bees and bumblebees are threatened by viruses, mites, pesticides*, inclement weather, habitat loss etc - so a count across the country (from John O'Groats to Land's End) is a 'good thing' informing, for example, the Pollinator Monitoring Scheme how bees and bumblebees are faring across the country.  The information also contributes to the  National Biodiversity Network Atlas  (NBN), which records the current status of all species in the U.K.

To help with this, there is a smart phone App - available for either iPhones or Android Phones.  The App enables you to submit sightings of bumblebees and bees (with photos where possible) Read more...

The Monthly Mushroom: Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus)

The Monthly Mushroom: Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus)

by Jasper ~ 4 May, 2018 ~ one comment

Bracket fungi encompass a host of species that typically grow in tough semicircular shelves on tree trunks, logs and branches, their mycelium consuming both the living and the dead wood within (although there are some soil-dwelling types that form mycorrhizal relationships with their hosts). For more on mycorrhizal fungi, see this previous posting on Fly Agarics.  The term has been applied in a general fashion to various examples on the basis of the physical form of the fruiting bodies rather than any genetic kinship. As such it includes such notable edibles as the Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) also known as the Sulphur Shelf, and the grisly looking Beefsteak fungus (Fistulina hepatica), which oozes a blood-red liquid when cut (featured image)


The Hangi : a traditional Maori cooking technique

The Hangi : a traditional Maori cooking technique

by David Alty ~ 1 May, 2018 ~ one comment

The Hangi is a traditional Maori cooking technique using heated rocks buried in a pit.   I have long wanted to have a go at this ancient cooking technique. When we received an invitation from good friends to join a weekend gathering in the woods I seized the opportunity and suggested a Saturday evening Hangi. Receiving an enthusiastic response I rang a local game dealer and enquired as to the supply of venison. “Ring back next Tuesday when the van is in, if there are any on you can have one.”

Having set myself up for the event, tension mounted as Tuesday approached. Read more...

Woodlands, meditation and 'being at one with nature'

Woodlands, meditation and ‘being at one with nature’

by Tamara Watters ~ 17 April, 2018 ~ comments welcome

We have had our woodland for just over a year and it has ben hugely exciting and a little overwhelming. Neither my husband or myself have the practical skills required for taking care of the woods. We are both more philosophical and reflective people. My vision is that our children and grandchildren and future generations will maintain and offer new creative projects in the woods. It is very much a far reaching vision, growing with time like the trees.  

My passion is our relationship with nature as an evolving conversation deepening our sense of connectivity and meaning. Nature has always been a healing resource and a spiritual solace for me.   Read more...

Payment for what . . ?

Payment for what . . ?

by Gabriel Hemery ~ 2 April, 2018 ~ comments welcome

Gabriel Hemery, Chief Executive of Sylva Foundation and lead author of the British Woodlands Survey 2017, provides some insights into the perceived murky world of payment for ecosystem services.

Some readers may be aware of the recent publication of a report for the British Woodlands Survey 2017 (BWS2017). Over the last two years I’ve led a collaborative group of researchers from Sylva Foundation, Forest Research, Woodland Trust, and Oxford University in seeking to gain deeper understanding of awareness, actions and aspirations among woodland owners and agents, forestry professionals, businesses, and others with a stake in the future of forestry in the UK. Read more...

The geology of your woodland: looking for fossils in the rocks 

The geology of your woodland: looking for fossils in the rocks 

by Angus ~ 22 March, 2018 ~ comments welcome

In principle as a freehold woodland owner you own the space above and below your woodland - from the centre of the earth to the highest heavens ("ad coelum et ad inferos" as the old latin legal phrase goes).  This means that for most woodland owners if they were to dig down one or two hundred metres they would go through many of layers of rock going back millions of years and probably containing numerous fossils.  Even though it's impractical to dig down very far some owners like the thought that they have rights over thousands of fossils, however inaccessible.

In some woods these fossils are quite accessible and are actually near the surface.  Woodlands turn out to be a surprisingly promising place to study geology and look for fossils.  That's because they are a relatively undisturbed part of our countryside and rock faces are often left exposed.  Additionally rocky soils and steep slopes were unsuitable for agriculture and often kept as woodland.  Sometimes small quarries were dug in woods for building the nearby roads or forest tracks and these quarries reveal the underlying rock and occasionally fossils. Read more...

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