Most of us enjoy a regular stroll in our local wood, but we might not be aware of the ancient origins of our surroundings. From medieval times, woodlands were carefully managed commodities with hotly contested resources: conflicting demands from landowners, the Crown, the peasantry and local and national wood-based industries have all left their marks on today’s woodland. Ian Rotherham here explains the various uses of our woods and their industries – such as coppicing, charcoal burning, basketmaking and bodging – and helps us to find the clues that can piece our woodland history together. Looking at the flowers, the trees that were once worked and the bumps in the ground can tell us about the people who worked and sometimes lived in the woods, and we can track their history from medieval times, through the age of enclosure and the decline of local industries, right up to the present.
About Ancient Woodland
The old-time shepherd – lamb in one hand, crook in the other – is an emblem of sturdiness, dependability and independence. He was one of the most important men on the farm, responsible for the care and well-being of the flock, with which he might need to spend days and nights out in open pastures. How did he manage his charges and his own life? What skills and equipment did he use? How did sheep farming change in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and what effect did those changes have on the shepherd’s work? These are some of the questions considered by this fully illustrated exploration of shepherding life.
Table Of Contents
Introduction What is an ‘Ancient’ Wood? Woods, Parks and Forests Worked and Working Trees Woodland Crafts and Other Industries Woodland Archaeology and Ecology The Future: Re-Discovering the Old Crafts Further Reading Places to Visit Index