Rain measure at Holt Wood
Wet Cramp Bark berries (Viburnum opulus)

Still raining and, despite some pleasant days in recent weeks, the ground at Holt Wood is saturated. Growth is lush, ideal conditions for sedges and mosses.  Just five apples harvested today, very tasty but a reminder of the difficulties for bees in pollination during the spring rain. Crops have been poor or  unreliable. Our St John’s Wort has grown well but a lack of summer sunshine led to slower production of flowers. Fastgrowing plants do not seem to concentrate the key constituents needed for medicinal use. On top of this, the wet has made it problematic to strim down weeds and to maintain paths for access. All rather drippy and depressing!

Given the damp conditions, we are looking at possible plants which may be more successful. Some, such as Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) are well-established and can be harvested for medicinal use. Some additional plants to consider might include Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) and Yellow Flag (Acorus calamus).

Meanwhile, perhaps unsurprisingly, we have been busy doing other stuff with family (looking after grandchildren) and acquiring a new puppy. Lucy is 13 weeks old, she is an Irish terrier, and a welcome addition to the family. She will be a working wood companion, and has already enjoyed several trips to Holt Wood.

Lucy inspects the moss

Looking ahead we have a Wood Working Day planned for 10-4 on Saturday 27th October 2012. Weather permitting this will be an opportunity to welcome interested visitors to the project, walk and talk, attempt some clearing of branches left from previous pollarding activity. Email to to let us know if you plan to come/ need directions.

Finally, we were glad to see a feature article ‘More bark to the bite: woodland can provide a sustainable source of bark’ by Anne Stobart, published in Smallwoods magazine (Summer 2012 issue 47) – the Small Woods Association are at http://smallwoods.org.uk/.