Out In The New Woods

  • Hey Guest, We've had to cancel our 2020 Summer BushMoot PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information.

jdlenton

Full Member
Dec 14, 2004
3,002
7
46
Northampton
At last i have had time to type up this report after much harassment from Jason :p here it is

Last weekend we were lucky enough to get out to a new site that we have been given access to by the land owners, (a major national landowner I’m not telling who or where and we’ve been asked not to, but I will say that it’s pretty local to me here in Buckinghamshire).So I thought that a post in the out and about forum was called for.
The wood itself is a long strip running generally north south on a incline, highest in the east and consists mainly of deciduous woodland with a large variety of trees and a good under story of usable plants. It has a chalk geology, so very shallow soils containing a lot of surface flint one down side there is no readily accessible natural water source.

Myself and Roving Rich decided this time that we would do it properly and walk in instead of turn up in a car and camping out of the boot. So I got dropped off at Roving Rich's place by my lovely wife (thanks dear) and after a cup of tea and a spot of target shooting, don’t ask, we set off.

After short walk of about 3.5 miles and having seen deer, rabbit, some other edibles and found a very well laden crab apple tree, we arrived at the farm house we had been directed to. We were greeted by Aaron who guided our walk across fields, through secret gaps in hedges and to camp. The wood has only one public right of way through it at the northern end so access is restricted and there is no obvious means of entry from the south.

We arrived at camp to be greeted by a well made fire and the smiling faces of Rod, Jason and Simon (I think that was his name it evaded me all weekend and still does sorry mate) glowing in the fire light. By this time the dusk was well and truly upon us so a quick hammock and tarp pitch was required to sort out our sleeping arrangement. After pitching up and familiarising our selves with camp the light had all but gone and it was time for some dinner. Yummy steak and veggie kebabs over the fire - there aren’t too many outdoor dinners better than that, the rest of the evening was spent in pleasant conversation over a few beers discussing the woods, it’s potential, how the arrangement with the landowner had come about, what they required from us in return and what everyone wanted to do the next day.

Saturday morning came after a night of quite heavy rain - all had a dry night and were now ready for breakfast. As I smelled the sausages in the pan I thought it might be a good time to leave the warmth and comfort of my hammock. Breakfast was sausage, bacon and foraged oyster mushrooms, again there aren’t too many outdoor breakfasts better than that and I do like my flame grilled meat but not from the establishment that claims to cook it that way!

After plentiful cups of coffee we were set up for the day and, as had been decided the night before, we set off to discover the potential of the woods and get to know the lay of the land.

During a good few hours wandering round the woods and neighbouring fields we had found a few possible new campsites, a White Beam tree that I had never seen before and plenty of late summer fruit. We now had a good idea of the potential of our new woods resources.

After a cup of tea and a sit down, pot hangers were the next project on the list. I made an adjustable canter leaver pot hook while Jason went for a more traditional horizontal bar setup.

Fire by friction was the next thing on the list I did some hand drill with found woods while Jason used his bow drill set. We then both had a go with a pre-prepared hand drill set I brought along. Here’s Jason doing hand drill, we don’t have too many photos because Roving Rich decided, inadvertently, to delete them grrrrrrr.

Another cup of tea and then it was on to making fishhooks for me and Roving Rich, Jason made bannock while Rod split wood and practiced his carving.

Jason kneading and enjoying it !!!!!

I had made the yew and bone part of my trolling hook before arriving so all I needed to do was make pine resin glue.
A little bit about the hook: this is a hook that attaches to a canoe paddle with a long leader (10 to 12 m) then as the paddler paddles the hook moves forward imitating the movement of a fish this in turn attracts the intended target fish (Salmon). The bone pin is glued with pine resin pitch then bound on with wet sinew and dried by the fire, to finish off a water proof layer of pitch is applied.

The glue was made in the bottom of one of last nights beer cans.

Detail of the finished hook

The finished hook

Unfortunately for me and Rich our gate passes expired early Saturday evening so we had to break camp about 4:30 Saturday afternoon. After striking camp we sat down with Rod and Jason and had another cup of tea, broke the bannock and shared dried sausage it was most delightful and dead tasty too thanks to the herb mix that Jason brought.

At this point it is worth mentioning that rich dumped his rucksack and decided to carry his entire load on a roycroft pack frame after being shown it and experimenting with it whilst with Mors Kochansic. Here he is with it.



Everyone that tried the pack found it comfortable and after carrying it close to 7 miles in two days Rich showed no ill effects and was still singing its praises.
Our walk home took a different route to the walk in and in just under an hour we were back at Rich's drinking tea and discussing the days events.
I really enjoyed my time in the new woods and hope that it won’t be too long before we’re back there again. A big thanks to Rich, Rod, Jason, Aaron and Simon for great company and a extra big thank you to Jason and Aaron for their hard work and the great achievement of getting access to this fantastic site.

See you next time.
 

The Joker

Native
Sep 28, 2005
1,231
12
52
Surrey, Sussex uk
Cool pics.....Well done James, not only has Jason and Aaron got some woods now you've got some to..........You must let me know your secret. :You_Rock_
 

jdlenton

Full Member
Dec 14, 2004
3,002
7
46
Northampton
The Joker said:
Cool pics.....Well done James, not only has Jason and Aaron got some woods now you've got some to..........You must let me know your secret. :You_Rock_
there not my woods Jason has organised the access and as Jason will attest he uses pints of bushcraft mate :D :cool: ;)
 

stuart f

Full Member
Jan 19, 2004
1,397
11
52
Hawick, Scottish Borders
Looking good guys, making me jealous, i have had most of this week off without having to work and i thought right i'm gonna get some outdoors time in,travelling home last sunday night,then on Monday morning i woke up with sore guts and a dose of the squits,think i got a small dose of food poisoning from a take away that i had. So i 've just sat around all week doing nothing and here we are now, i've got to go back to work today :( . Oh well i'll just have to wait a wee while longer before i get my woodland fix.
 

spamel

Banned
Feb 15, 2005
6,833
21
44
Silkstone, Blighty!
That looks like great woodland. Where I am is just coniferous woods with a bit of birch at the edges, although there is one little place slap bang in the middle of it where there is a bit of deciduos woodland. I miss broadleaf woodland, but in winter this place looks like something out of Band of Brothers, except the trees don't explode! I am going to brave it this year and sleep out in the snow, but I will definitely be using the warmest of my sleeping bags, the new issue bag. I used a softie discovery that has been up kilimanjaro and out to Norway, on a winter exercise here in bergen. I was freezing, it was beyond cold, atoms stopped moving it was that bad!!
 

Ed

Admin
Admin
Aug 27, 2003
5,930
20
47
South Wales Valleys
ok mate... I'll give you a call when I'm sorted and free.... things are a little hectic (loads of arguments with the head office / work) at the moment..... i really do need to take a break....

Ed
 

jdlenton

Full Member
Dec 14, 2004
3,002
7
46
Northampton
Jon Pickett said:
Nice write-up James, glad you all had fun, like the fish hook and the idea of how it is used..............
thanks john i have some more on the go atm

FYI this hook is actually from the anthropological record its design and use is fully recorded it was used by some Indian tribes on the pacific coast of Canada
 

Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
5,384
445
Aylesbury
stewartjlight-knives.com
Looks like you had a great time.

Aerial views are always interesting - the field next to the wood makes me think of a melted bottle when you zoom out slightly from James' picture.