Words from the Woods December 2022

14th December 2022

Words from the Woods ... to keep you in touch with all the amazing things happening in the woods and beyond

How to get the most out of your Wood Fuel

The cold weather, increased fuel prices and last winters storms are encouraging people to use more wood as a way to heat their homes. For this to be effective and environmentally sound it needs to be done well. Moisture content of your wood should be 20% or less and the way you use your stove make a real difference to the efficiency, environmental impact and safety of using wood as a heat source.

Cumbria Woodlands have created these 2 short films below as part of their 'Warmth from Wood Project' to help. Click here for more info

School Sessions

Over the Autumn term we've worked with well over 1000 children. Stone Age to Iron Age, Natural Arts, Nature Discovery, Tool Use, Bushcraft, creating Living Willow structures and even Anglo Saxon and Viking days all with the core theme of deepening the children's connection to the natural world.

Get in touch if you would like to bring a group out to the woods in 2023. Working in partnership with the National Trust in the beautiful St Catherine's woods there's plenty to explore and through the winter months we have use of the cosy strawbale Footprint if we need to warm up!
Click here for more info

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Wilderness Therapy

Gareth is in the assessment stages of his Level 3 Wilderness Therapy training with the amazing EQE Outdoors (https://www.eqeoutdoors.com/). Over the next few months he'll be running sessions which are evaluated and independently assessed. This aspect of our work connecting people to natural spaces and enabling the multitude of therapeutic and well being benefits continues to be at the core of our Woodmatters ethos.

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Coppice Association North West have recently updated their products and services brochure which is a great resource to find local crafts people, coppice workers and woodland workers.
Click here to view the brochure

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Winter Bark ID
In winter bark is a good way to identify tree species. It also encourages you to look more closely when the leaves are not there to help you. Here are two pairs of photos of species you'd find in local woodland that can be confused. It is much easier to see these features on mature specimens. Keep your eyes open on the woodland walks.

Silver Birch - note the diamond patterns

Silver Birch

Downy Birch - note the smoother bark with horizontal lines

Downy Birch

Beech - note the smooth, silvery grey bark


Hornbeam - also silvery in colour but with distinctive patterns which look a bit like stretch marks!

Hornbeam bark

Use a piece of paper to find the height of a tree without doing any maths!

Leven Valley Primary Yr5/6 have been exploring the amazing oaks at Footprint National Trust as part of their John Muir Award. This month they used a clever way of working out the height of the tree without having to climb to the top!....here's how they did it

You’ll need: piece of paper and a tape measure

1) Fold a square piece of paper in half so that it forms a triangle. If the paper is rectangular (not square), fold one corner over so it forms a triangle with the opposite side, then cut off the extra paper above the triangle. You should be left with the triangle you need. The triangle will have one right (90 degree) angle and two 45 degree angles.

2) Hold the triangle in front of one eye by holding a corner opposite from the 90º right angle and point the rest of the triangle toward you. One of the short sides should be horizontal (flat), and the other should be vertical (pointing straight up). You should be able to look up along the longest side by raising your eyes.

3) Move back from the tree until you can sight the top of the tree at the top tip of the triangle. Close one eye…you want to find the point where your line of sight follows the longest side of the triangle to the very top of the tree.
4) Mark this spot and measure the distance from it to the base of the tree. This distance is almost the full height of the tree. Add your own height to this, since you were looking at the tree from the height of your eyes off the ground. Now you have the full answer!
(Click here for a link with diagrams if this doesn't make sense!)

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Winter Trees

All the complicated details

of the attiring and

the disattiring are completed!

A liquid moon

moves gently among

the long branches.

Thus having prepared their buds

against a sure winter

the wise trees

stand sleeping in the cold.

BY William Carlos Williams (1883–1963)


Hair Ice

We found this on a log last winter and will be looking out for more now the weather has gone cold. Hair Ice is an ice formation which is quite unusual to find. It occurs on rotting wood where there is a particular fungi (Exidiopsis effusa) growing. It gets its name from the incredibly fine hair like strands of ice. It looks a bit like white candy floss. Worth keeping an eye out on these frosty days. Here's a link to more info https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/weather/types-of-weather/frost-and-ice/hair-ice

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