Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
'Trees are wildlife just as deer or primroses are wildlife. Each species has its own agenda and its own interactions with human activities ...' Written by one of Britain's best-known naturalists, Woodlands offers a fascinating new insight into the trees of the British landscape that have filled us with awe and inspiration throughout the centuries. Looking at such diverse evidence as the woods used in buildings and ships, and how woodland has been portrayed in pictures and photographs, Rackham traces British woodland through the ages, from the evolution of wildwood, through man's effect on the landscape, modern forestry and its legacy, and recent conservation efforts and their effects. In his lively and thoroughly engaging style, Rackham explores woodlands and their history, through names, surveys, mapping and legal documents, archaeology, photographs and works of art, thus offering an utterly compelling insight into British woodlands and how they have come to shape a national obsession.
not a good country for it, because of the ravages of grey squirrels, until very recently absent from the Continent. With much of farming kept going only by subsidies, the question arises: Why should not plantations replace unwanted farmland instead of eating up moorland? This is the basis of the National Forests proposed, and in part begun, in the last ten years. They may not replace the ancient woods that farmers destroyed in the Locust Years, but they are very popular as a public amenity; they
artefacts. The trackways of the Somerset Levels – walkways giving passage across the soft peat from one fen island to another – were made of rods generated by a form of coppicing more elaborate than in historic times (p.280). At this stage woodland was so abundant that conservation was probably not the motive: rather, woods were managed to yield material for specific crafts. The development of woodmanship has yet to be systematically studied. Besides the trackways (which continued in various
seed, and die. Tree seeds may need to germinate at once, as with oaks and poplars, or be capable of dormancy: many tree seeds of middle weight (ash, hawthorn, lime) germinate in the second or third year after shedding. The seedling may be light-demanding like oak and ash or shade-bearing like beech and yew; not many British trees can grow up in the shade of trees of the same species. Seedling trees are bitten off by slugs, mice, deer, etc., or attacked by fungus diseases. Some, such as oak and
the confiscation of eyes (or even testicles) for Forest offences – names? places? dates? – but no reply has come. To keep the numbers of deer constant one normally needs to kill about one-quarter of the stock each year. According to his correspondence, Henry III in an average year ordered some 600 fallow deer, of which 530 came from Forests; this includes those which he ate himself, or gave live or dead to his friends. He consumed 160 red and 45 roe deer a year. These are absurdly small numbers.
the administrators’ accounts of high traitors or vacant bishoprics. Entries in the Calendar of Inquisitions Post-Mortem (Rolls Series) may mention an extent, but to find out its contents one has to consult the original document. Useful pieces of information often turn up in unexpected contexts: woods may be named in the context of highwaymen, murders, heretics, accounts of unrelated estates, inquests after accidents, and woodsale advertisements in newspapers. Archivists are responsible for