If you go down to the woods today...


Anthony Bailey

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Well, this weekend just gone to accurate, the woods at the Bentley Wood Fair held their usual delights and surprises. At the heavy end, some serious logging activity with tractors and grabbers, right up to willow animal sculptures, heavy horses and natural dyeing of wools. It was all there lurking beneath the tree canopy.


The best find for me was expert bodger Mark Ellery - yes, there is such a thing, bodging is a respectable green woodworking activity! He is a mine of information about all things "green wood". Even better yet, he is also a competition scyther or perhaps correctly "mower".


Bearing mind this is my pet interest it was great to chat about that and how he has turned from the popular lightweight Austrian scythes to the English pattern quite successfully. He had a scythe handle known as a snaith or snead sitting on a bending jig having steam bent the ash (Fraxinus excelsior) to shape. That certainly got my interest and hopefully, Mark might pen an article for the mag in the not too distant future!


Aside from the woodland glade there were demonstrations and stands galore covering every aspect of any "woody", from woodland ownership and management to bows and arrows with plenty of scrummy food and children"s entertainment as well.


Do put Bentley down in your calendar for next year, there is almost too much to do in a day, but you can always pitch a tent or a caravan and make the most of it. Do bring waterproofs and wellies though, the weather and the mud were trying to do a very passable impression of Glastonbury in a soggy year...

Until next time.

Photographs top to bottom:

1. The Green Man - an ingrained part of woodland lore

2 Looks like they have their latest drumming recruit...

3. Paint your wagon - with preservative... a handy hideaway on wheels

4. Loggers don"t let a bit of mud get in the way of progress

5. Alaisdair Craig, chainsaw carver extraordinaire was featured in Woodworking Plans & Projects "My Working Day"!

6. What Mark Ellery doesn’t know about green woodworking or scything could be written on a splinter!

7. You could paddle your own canoe, or boat, but first you have to carve it out like this one

8. If you"ve hit "the wall" I bet you couldn"t climb it too...

9. "My Lovely Horse, My Lovely Horse" - Father Ted fans will know what I"m on about


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