Hedgerow foraging

Today was another glorious day, made all the more enjoyable by the opportunity to lead a hedgerow basket making course on the reserve, utilising many of the materials found here. I was joined by an eager group of participants, all of whom had very little or no experience of basket making, so framework was a great introduction to the craft.

We began with a short wander gathering our materials:

Gathering materials 2

Gathering materials on a short walk

Hedgerow materials

Hedgerow materials, including birch, rush and sedge, ivy, willow, broom, holly and larch

Hedgerow materials add both colour and texture to baskets, although some of the brighter colours will fade as the cuttings dry out. Flexible climbers such as honeysuckle and ivy are great, as are different willows and dogwoods. Whilst we have no dogwood growing on the reserve, there were still plenty of other materials available and I had managed to take some dogwood cuttings from elsewhere so vibrant reds and greens could also be incorporated into the weaving. If a material can be bent around your wrist it can probably be included somewhere!

We then used some of the thicker willow rods to create two hoops, which form the basket’s frame: one hoop is the rim of the basket whilst the other is the handle and base. These were bound together using a ‘god’s eye weave’, or circular lashing which wraps around each rib in turn in an anti-clockwise direction. After securing the two hoops, thicker lengths of willow were used to create ribs which were placed under the rim of the basket so they rested on the god’s eye weave:


Two hoops bound together using a ‘god’s eye weave’

Frame and ribs

The framework of the basket: hoops and ribs

It was then time to build up the body of the basket using and experimenting with the different materials we had collected on our wander:

Weaving 2


Weaving the body of the basket

Finally, our foray into hedgerow basket making was complete, with some lovely colourful results!

Hedgerow basket

Hedgerow baskets

Completed hedgerow baskets

Hopefully the weather will be as lovely for our local craft event next Sunday, 20th March. We will be joined by a local basket maker, Malcolm Fay, who will be demonstrating the craft of round willow basket making, along with volunteer Geoff Knott who will be wood turning. Other demonstrations will include coppice crafts and hurdle making.

In addition to the above demonstrations there will be other locally produced items available to both see and buy, including jewellery, leatherwork, paintings and photography as well as craft activities for children. Please though remember to bring cash as not all stallholders may be able to take a card payment. Tea, coffee and cake will also be available, courtesy of Walking Picnics.

We hope you can join us then!

On the bird front, the bittern was seen today from Ivy North hide.






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