Leaving Brookhouse Wood has proved to be a mixed blessing. No longer can I take my chainsaw and fell my own selection of chair-making logs. There have been years when I have been offered good logs from other sources, such as Toby & Aly at ‘Say it with Wood’ but now I have to be more proactive and make contact with other possible sources within the neighbourhood.
So yesterday I drove the 15 minutes to Moreton Wood, where Paul Morton (coincidence or what!) has just been felling a clump of ash, mainly natural regeneration within a section of conifers planted about 40 years ago. They’ve had to struggle upwards for the light without developing spreading branches. As near perfect for chair-making as one could wish for.
Paul found me a few convenient trees and Jo pulled them to the track with her horse (Guinness?). We selected which bits I wanted, Paul cut them to length and we loaded them into the van.
They look better when selected and loaded. There are lots more on another slope, which have to be dragged by horse to the track at the bottom, then driven out with the 4×4 and trailer, where they can be loaded into road vehicles like my lovely red van.
We had a cuppa, where I was able to look around their magnificent workshop, all made out of timber from the site, along the lines of Ben Law’s Woodland House.
For the last 12 years since buying the woodland, they have lived in a small caravan. Now they are going for residential planning permission, which looks to progressing relatively smoothly – so far.
We had an interesting chat about all sorts of woody things, including Jo’s ‘Woodland Creative Project’ and how it might relate to the Woodland Trust’s proposed ‘Charter for Trees, Woodlands and People’. We talked about a new generation of woodland dwellers – people who want to live and work on the land, not in a romantic escapism but as a serious alternative to the rat-race faced by so many young adults in the 21st century. And of course we also had to discuss methods of pricing ash logs for chair-making (as I discussed in Living Woods Mag, issues 32 & 33).
I wish Jo & Paul every success and look forward to using more of their logs on this summer’s courses.
Here’s a link to their website: http://www.moretonwood.co.uk/