Before reading this, if you’d have asked me to list all the trees I knew, I probably would have overlooked the ash tree. But the ash tree is the 3rd most common in the UK, is part of many woodlands and also found standing alone across the landscape. It’s also used for making many different items. So I can see why Robert Penn decided to write a book about it.
Robert is a writer by trade but 10 years ago he moved into a house next to a small woodland which he now manages. The specific ash tree that the book is based around came from that woodland. So the book starts with the selection of the right tree. He also looks at how the Ash has affected our language and town names.
The rest of the book is about the things Robert has made from his tree. There’s a great selection of items as the cover might suggest, l from sledges to tool handles to hurley sticks. Robert travels the globe finding people who still use this versatile material. It looks at why they use Ash and what they use if for. There’s not a lot of technical content with regards how things are made but it’s still a fascinating account.
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There’s a sample of the book in the guardian article, Why we should celebrate winter woodland – not just the Christmas tree