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

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

by Jasper ~ 4 May, 2018 ~ comments welcome

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 ~ comments welcome

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...

Underwater driving and getting out of trouble.

Underwater driving and getting out of trouble.

by Angus ~ 9 March, 2018 ~ one comment

Our 4WD instructor, Paul, is a Falklands veteran as well as being a retired fireman. So he wasn’t phased by having to drive through one-metre deep puddles and reversing up very steep off-road slopes. For his off-road pupils, like me, it was a different story - we were discovering the limits of the Land Rover Explorer that we were driving around the Eastnor Castle estate at Ledbury in Herefordhsire. Most of the tracks on this 5,000 acre estate are through woodland with hundreds of yew trees, oaks and hazel coppice stools. It’s an SSSI (important scintifically) so you can’t drive off the tracks. The main woodland we used is actually called “Clenchers Wood” which is a very appropriate name considering how most drivers’ bottoms react to seeing the slopes they are about to drive down. Read more...

Building a new 'woodland' teaching area.

Building a new ‘woodland’ teaching area.

by Craig Fordham ~ 2 March, 2018 ~ comments welcome

We’ve been lucky enough to have been residents in a beautiful 100 acre woodland in Ashford, Kent called March Woods for about a year now. My name is Craig Fordham and I run a company called Black Wolf Survival and I’ve been in the outdoor industry on and off for about 20 years mainly specialising in Bushcraft & Survival.  Aside from running sessions for schools, groups and individuals I am also a brand ambassador for Craghoppers clothing and write a few articles for various magazines.

Our basecamp teaching site at March Woods was functional and basic, we’d initially cleared a large enough area to erect a 32ft parachute as a main teaching area and a couple of other tarps we utilise for a kitchen area etc. Read more...

MIDDLE EARTH ... and our own woodland project

MIDDLE EARTH … and our own woodland project

by Jackie & David ~ 24 February, 2018 ~ 3 comments

As we sat outside The Middle Earth pub on Whitby’s harbour front, enjoying the early evening autumn sunshine, my wife looked at me and said “There’s something I want to talk to you about”. For a heart stopping moment my mind raced and I felt a mixture of emotions as I feared some dreadful news was coming my way. Instead, Jackie completely floored me by asking “How do feel you about us buying a wood?”   In the first instance I was speechless then apprehensive, confused and finally, elated!   Looking back, how I managed to hold onto my pint I’ll never know. Read more...

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