Tree Planting Pledge Archive

Caroline Brett

Made by the Forge plants a native sapling for every order received. 2018 sees a new series highlighting the virtues of the British trees the company promotes as a major part of its ethos.

Hazel (Corylus avellana)

The hazel is the smallholder’s godsend. It grows relatively rapidly on rough and wet soils that aren’t much use for other crops. Commonly it’s found in hedgerows and in the understory of oak, ask and birch woodland.

Hazel sticks are flexible, strong and long lasting with multiple uses. Crofters and smallholders use them for sheep hurdles, baskets, walking sticks, thatching spurs, netting poles and even coracle boats. In spring, hazel is so bendy it can be knotted without breaking.

The trees were traditionally coppiced for their repeated growth of sticks every 6-10 years.  One tree or stool (cut clump) could last several hundred years.  When left to grow naturally, they can reach 12m and live for 80 – 100 years.

Hazel was grown for large-scale nut production until the early 1900s. Cultivated varieties (known as cob-nuts) are still grown in Kent.

The nuts are a favourite food of squirrels and dormice. Hazel nuts help these rodents fatten up for winter and in spring the leaves are an important source of food for caterpillars that squirrels and dormice also relish. Woodpeckers, jays and nuthatches also enthusiastically collect hazel nuts in autumn.

In coppiced hazel woodland, the open wildflower-rich habitat supports many species of butterfly, particularly fritillaries. It also provides shelter for ground-nesting birds such as the nightingales, nightjars, yellowhammers and willow warblers.

Hazel is ‘the magic tree’. A hazel rod is believed to ward off evil spirits, it was a popular witches’ wand and reputedly good for water divining. Nuts were carried to ward off rheumatism. In Celtic legend and Ireland it’s known as the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ as well as a fertility symbol. There are many versions of an ancient tale where nine hazel trees grew around a sacred pool. Salmon (a fish sacred to Druids) ate the nuts and absorbed the wisdom.

Today the wise snack on hazelnuts which are loaded with health benefitting nutrients including manganese, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron and numerous vitamins and anti-oxidant qualities. They have been proven to help prevent heart disease and improve brain function.

Juliet Fishenden

As you probably know, for every order, Made by the Forge pledges to plant a tree to give back to nature what we’re taking from it. We assign this important part of our business to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Rather than plant one tree at a time, we let the Trust choose the best location and then on a certain day, volunteers who care about the environment come along and plant hundreds of trees at once.

 

 

We are indebted to Michael Strand the Trust’s Development Officer whom we meet usually every year at tree plantings. Alas both he and Site Manager Alan Miller were not available for this years’ plantings but there as the Trust representative was Sam Hanks, the Coastal Reserves Assistant and it was a pleasure to meet him.

While at Thorington in Suffolk, I was struck by the generosity of the volunteers. It’s such a good feeling to know there are dedicated and committed people out there who will give their time on a chilly December morning to plant trees given that the simple reward for their actions – a line of proud trees – will be years in the future. We’ve credited the volunteers at the end of this short 2 minute film to mark the occasion. (Click on the picture below to watch) I hope you enjoy it.