Special Trees and Woods of the Chilterns

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					                          Special Trees and Woods
                                   of the Chilterns
                          part of the
                          Chiltern Woodlands Project

 T       he volunteer team is increasing in size all the time
         and now with 20 volunteers, the team workload is
         sizeable. Investigations, research, measurements,
 photography and more are carried out by volunteers,
 producing a great deal of information to be
                                                                    The recruitment of volunteers is ongoing and the new website
                                                                    provides information on volunteering opportunities and
                                                                    details about the project.

                                                                    The term 'special' continues to stimulate debate. In the
 shared and stored.                                                 'Record Something Special' article overleaf, the examples
                                                                    given illustrate individual thoughts on 'special', highlighting
 Oaks planted in formation, engraved                                the stories behind the trees.
 beeches and oaks with 9m girths
 are just a small selection of the                                  This issue, the stories themselves, experiences of volunteers
 exciting reports that are                                          and a presentation by our guest speaker, the renowned Ted
 being gathered by the                                              Green, will all be discussed at the project conference in
 volunteers, and I look                                             November. See the back page for details. I look forward to
 forward to publishing                                              seeing you there.
 the details in due course.                                                                                  Liz Manley, July 2006

Oral histories
           r Richard Hearne of Period Furniture Showrooms,
           Beaconsfield, volunteered to be the first person to be
           interviewed for the Special Trees and Woods
                                                                    Mr Hearne's memories and
                                                                    entries from diaries
                                                                    compiled by his
                                                                    grandfather and father give
                                                                    a wonderful insight into
He was interviewed by Rosalie Bullock, a project volunteer          the furniture trade. For
recently trained in oral history skills. Mr Hearne explained that   example, in 1935 a diary
he works with his son, Nick, who is the sixth generation of the     entry of 20th December
family involved in the furniture industry.                          states: 'Roads still bad.
                                                                    Horses can't get in with
William Hearne, Mr Hearne's great great grandfather,                timber', illustrating that
established a successful furniture-making business in 1840          access in and out of
which was later called Dancer and Hearne. Over the years, the       woodlands has always
business has evolved with changing timber markets and               been a problem, not just
availability, technology and demand.                                for the modern forester
                                                                    with his large harvesting
In 1938, 450,000 chairs were made by Dancer and Hearne,             machines.
mainly in the Penn Street factory, while the Lindsay Avenue                                        Rosalie, project volunteer, carrying
factory in High Wycombe concentrated on cabinets and dining                                        out an oral history interview with
                                                                    Mr Hearne also remembers
tables.                                                                                            Mr Hearne in the comfort of the
                                                                    the problems of sourcing       showrooms in Beaconsfield.
                                                                    timber. “Quite early on,
                                                                    some parts of the industry
                                                                    were importing timber from Europe. A diary of 1923 refers to
                                                                    grandfather going to the dock for satin walnut planks, which
                                                                    probably came in from France. After the Second World War a
                                                                    lot of mahogany substitutes and hard woods came in from West
                                                                    Africa and later on South East Asia.“

                                                                    A diary entry in March 1939, reads: 'Having trouble with the
                                                                    shipping of diner sets, can't get them through Danzig.' As Mr
                                                                    Hearne commented “In 1939, it's not surprising that getting
                                                                    anything through Danzig, Poland, was a bit difficult. That was
                                                                    only four months before the war!”.

                                                                    The full oral history interview with Mr Hearne is available on
                                                                    request from Liz.
Dancer & Hearne work force C1896 at the Penn Street site.
Photo courtesy of Mr Hearne.
Record something special Volunteer news
C        an you think of a special tree? If you know of a
         special tree, log on to the website or call Liz for a
         simple recording form. Alternatively, send an email
with a few details and a volunteer can look into your suggested
tree or wood and record it for the project.
                                                                     I   n May, an informal training workshop introduced the
                                                                         volunteers to each other and an ancient woodland site
                                                                         Cadsden Glen, near Princes Risborough.

                                                                     Forestry consultant Rik Pakenham highlighted pollards, coppice
                                                                     stools and bundle plantings and discussed past and present
                                                                     management of the site. After a light lunch in the very
A beech tree with War wounds is found in Ashridge Estate,            hospitable Plough pub, the party walked to Pulpit Hill to see
near Berkhamsted, where American troops were based during            more of the local landscape.
the second world war. A month before D-Day some young
soldiers recorded their stay in England by carving the date and      Feedback from the day was very positive and has formed the
their home states in a mature beech tree.                            basis for future events, see below.
                                           War wounds engraved
                                           by soldiers from Texas,
                                           Tennessee, Virginia,
                                           North Carolina,
                                           Michigan, New York,
                                           Illonois and South
                                           Dakota on 4th May
                                           1944. By Paul Jerem,
                                           project volunteer

                                             Bob Davis, the Head
Forester for the National Trust, said 'It is quite humbling to
think these frightened young men, a long way from home,
would soon be facing the horrors of the Normandy landings.’
                                                                     The volunteer team attending the first training event of the Special
                                                                     Trees and Woods Project. By Russell Read, project volunteer
Spring Wood near Sonning Common has been recorded as
                                                                     Dates for your diary - this year's and next!
part of the project. Sedgehill Spring in the wood is protected       More details will be sent out to volunteers in due course.
by an ornate brick structure featuring a stone carving of an
elephant. It was built by the Knollys family who bought the          23rd September Woodland Ecology
Blount's Court estate in 1841.                                       Nettlebed Adam Dawson, SODC and BBOWT site staff.

                                                                     8th October Tree and Woodland Photography
                                                                     Black Park Paul Jerem, project volunteer

                                                                     25th November
                                                                     Special Trees and Woods Project Annual Conference
                                                                     High Wycombe Guest speaker - the veteran tree expert Ted
                                                                     Green OBE Booking is essential, see website for more details

                                                                     9th December Winter tree identification
                                                                     Nr High Wycombe Liz Manley and John Magee, project

                                                                     27th January 2007
                                                                     Introduction to timber production
                                                                     Wendover Joanne Mason, Forestry Commission
This postcard of children at Sedgehill Spring is marked 1909
                                                                     Woodland Archaeology and Researching our local
                                                                     landscape workshops are also planned for 2007

                                                                       Special Trees                   Part of the
                                                                         and Woods                     Chiltern
                                                                      of the Chilterns                 Project

                                                                              The Lodge
                                                                                                               Liz Manley
                                                                            90 Station Road
                                                                                                           Tel: 01844 355525
                                                                            Oxon OX39 4HA                 Mobile: 07979 497 688
Sedgehill Spring in 2006, following restoration in the 1960s.
By Tim Southern, project volunteer                                      

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