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Hugelkultur -another use for wood / wood trimmings.

Hugelkultur -another use for wood / wood trimmings.

by Angus ~ 6 April, 2020 ~ comments welcome

In a woodland or indeed one’s garden, there are often bits of wood and trimmings lying around.  Sometimes these can be useful in a woodburning stove or used to support peas & beans / vegetables but another use is in hugelkultur.

Hugelkultur or hugel beds are basically raised beds with a difference - they are filled with rotting wood and other biomass.  They are simply packed with organic material, nutrients and air pockets. They can be an effective way of creating a productive area for growing fruits and vegetables in your garden / woodland.  Instead of putting your wood offcuts, branches, leaves and grass clippings into bags for the ‘green collection’ or the compost heap, consider building a hugel bed.  Read more...

Surrey Hills Wood Fair this weekend (Sat 5th and Sun 6th October 2019)

Surrey Hills Wood Fair this weekend (Sat 5th and Sun 6th October 2019)

by Angus ~ 1 October, 2019 ~ comments welcome

This weekend all woodland lovers within reach should try to make time to visit Fish Pond Copse in the Cranleigh Showground (GU6 7DW) for what will be one of the year's best woodland events.  It's from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Despite possible rain (bring boots!) these events are a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts and learn more about British woodlands.  My colleague who came with me to the Wilderness Gathering a couple of months ago said, "We were drenched but it brought out the survivalist in me and I made some great contacts."

There will be tree climbing, archery, fire-making and chainsaw demos.  For foodies like me,  there is apple pressing, outdoor cookery and a range of food tents.  The full programme can be accessed here : https://www.surreyhills.org/events/the-2019-surrey-hills-wood-fair/  Read more...

Big Butterfly count 2019

Big Butterfly count 2019

by Chris ~ 19 July, 2019 ~ comments welcome

A brief note to say that the Big Butterfly count is underway as from today (19th July), continuing through until the 11th August.  This annual count is important as it allows ecologists to assess the impact of environmental / climate change on wildlife - identifying 'winners and losers' in times of change.

You are asked to give 15 minutes to count the butterflies in your garden / woodland / local park.  There is a free app (for both android and iOS) and an ID chart to help you.

Thousands of people took part in 2018, submitting 97,133 counts of butterflies and day-flying moths from across the UK; to see the results of last year's survey click on the link - here. Read more...

shave horse

A shave horse, my kingdom for a shave horse!

by Angus ~ 20 June, 2019 ~ 4 comments

"Traditional bodgers and woodworkers would have spent the first day in a new woodland making their equipment such as a shave horse "explains Adrian Dennett a supplier of wood bodgers' kit.  These are stools where the craftsman (or woman) sits at one end of the 'horse' and uses a foot-controlled lever to hold their work in place.  It's remarkable how firmly this device holds the wood in position and allows the operator safely to shave down a piece of wood.

Shave horses are mostly used for green woodwork (using unseasoned wood) to make items such as spoons, kuksas (small bowls) or chair legs.  Typically they are used to hold rougher bits of wood which are being moulded into shape using a two-handed draw knife. Read more...

How to draw a tree - a short film from WoodlandsTV

How to draw a tree – a short film from WoodlandsTV

by Angus ~ 3 June, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Everyone wants to be able to draw better and a good place to start is by drawing a tree.  A new WoodlandsTV film teaches you how to draw a tree, or actually how to draw groups of trees.

Michele Tranquillini is a rather brilliant Italian artist who has made this tree-drawing video especially for woodlandsTV.  He shows you how to convert a line of simple circles into a row of trees, by using shadow and colour.  I particularly liked the way he animates his drawing with some birds by writing the number 3 on its side.  Read more...

What we have done with a wood of our own

What we have done with a wood of our own

by Martin ~ 26 May, 2019 ~ comments welcome

One family's account of buying a their own piece of woodland in Devon.

There are many reasons why you might want to buy a piece of woodland. Perhaps you want to use it for wildlife conservation or to help you and your family strive for a better way of life and well being.   For the Turner family their decision was motivated by the latter. They wanted a place they could escape from the stresses and strain of modern life and the trappings of digital connectivity.

Martin Turner discovered woodlands.co.uk who specialise in selling parcels of woodland. Woodlands had a wide range of potential sites and after making contact, Martin was soon viewing potential locations with the local woodland manager.   The family wanted their woodland to be close enough to their home so that they could easily reach it within half an hour. Their criteria also included a light, varied and characterful piece of woodland, with good vehicle access,  the potential for the production of firewood and all of this in an area with no phone signal! Read more...

Expanding access to nature - allotments and woodlands

Expanding access to nature – allotments and woodlands

by Angus ~ 25 May, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Both allotments and small woodlands bring owners closer to nature and lead to personal fulfilment.  Whilst the number of woodland owners is increasing rapidly we wanted to explore why the number of allotment owners isn't increasing.  So Erica Douglas* of woodlands.co.uk undertook a study of the history of allotment ownership and how the numbers of allotments couhld be increased.  She found that allotment expansion is very constrained by the ability of local authorities to find suitable land and that, if anything, many existing allotments are under threat of being closed by the pressure on local councils to find new building land. Read more...

Survival in the wild with the help of a "Survival Kit"

Survival in the wild with the help of a “Survival Kit”

by Angus ~ 3 May, 2019 ~ one comment

A small tin can carry vital equipment for emergency use in a survival situation.  I spent £22 with Amazon to get Limitless Equipment's "Survival Kit Mark 1", although you could put one together yourself.

The one I bought contains these 10 items: Read more...

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