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6th February 2018

A world of woven trees

I was walking through Sheba Wood with Rosie this morning, looked down and saw someone Doing Things by the stream in the valley.  I couldn't see quite what he was doing, because he was down in the valley bottom and I was walking along the hilltop, so I assumed that he was Doing Forestry and continued on my way through thin snow falling on the crunchy mud, under that strange white sky you get with snow, with a sun that is like a bright smudge behind a curtain. 

I made my way down into the valley and came back towards Supposed Forestry Guy, only for him to see me and flee with some speed into the hills.  Not with an air of terror, as one confronted by marauding Vikings, but at least with some speed.  I assumed he had suddenly remembered an appointment and wandered on to peer at what he had been doing. 

And what he had been doing was not Forestry at all, but what I suppose is a form of guerrilla Art.

This particular woodland has clearly benefited from the practice of thirty years or so ago of providing grants for tree-planting without specifying what kind of tree should be planted, so now it is all over rather gloomy conifer trees which give the place a rather Mirkwoodish appearance and don't seem to be worth the cost of felling, so when the winter storms come, they blow over.  Several have blown over this winter already, and it was these fallen gloomy spruces that Supposed Forestry Guy had been entertaining himself with.

  He had built a sort of large curved hut out of woven branches, complete with stump-tables and chairs inside.  (I am fairly confident from the presentation that this was built as Art, not as actual practical shelter, for it used no rope or tarpaulin or anything along those lines, and was fairly clearly built for appearance rather than to keep the draughts out. )

Furthermore, when I interrupted him, he was working on two smaller apparent huts next to the big one, and though a human could go inside the large hut, they don't make humans of a size to fit into the small ones.   And so, I am fairly sure that Supposed Forestry Guy is actually the Maker of Bridges.

The stream that runs through that wood is crossed periodically by small bridges woven from fallen branches.  They are rather precarious and entirely unofficial, and you always have to prod them carefully before you cross, and sometimes the stream comes down in spate and washes one of the bridges away entirely, but they are made with the same style as the woven houses.

Of course, I had no camera with me...  I may go back tomorrow and see if they are still there. 

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