Week 14/3 Jan 2022 Stories Tree-Stories with Paul

September 2021 to March 2022 (Elders Woodland Weaving – Samhain to Equinox)

A swift check in on this cold north wind January day. ‘Happy to be in this hippy way – even though I was a MOD. Grateful. I almost found an excuse not to come, but glad I came.’

We settled into the woods by each going to a tree, and finding connection with it, feel its skin, find questions we don’t know about it, see how it is naked. Meeting back at the cabin fire we relayed our tree in our usual exchange, one relaying the others experience.

A Silver Birch, its silver skin covered in lichen and moss.
An oak, now naked perfect to draw
Hazel, multi stemmed, the light on its smooth bark. The ivy forming an archway.
The strongest tree, with mossey feet like a pillar in a cathedral.
An oak reaching for the light, embraced by holly.
An ash with surprising double stem, and ivy stitching its way through. A crack all the way up the trunk – why?
A silver birch glistening in the sun, peeling like parchmonth.
Attracted to the power of the tree, other trees seem to be leaning towards it. An Ash. Ash is traditionally used for tool handles, explained Paul, adding it can be bent making chairs, it is indeed, extremely strong.
A silver birch with a rope tied up it, the tree giving joy to children.
Wondered how old this tree was, perhaps 80 years?
A silver birch (found by Millie) missing the summer, covered in moss. Moss grows up the north side of trees, a way to tell which is north, explained Paul
A very busy tree having a board meeting (!)
And on the naughty bench, the two who came late, bought stories of trees they see in their every day, a weeping ash beyond a metal gate.
‘The leaning tower of Piza’, a weeping goat willow, the forest school mother tree and tree of the Tooth Goblin, whose children are born without teeth so the children, when the lose a tooth, bring it to offer to the Tooth Goblin for her children.

Trees Paul introduced himself as this name, as it’s what people sometimes call him – and read from a book he was writing on how he came to trees.

Here are his acorn beginnings:

When I was 10 years old I collected acorns and sweet chestnuts to sell to a local tree nursery – my first paid employment! Hopefully many of those seeds will have grown into large beautiful trees by now (53 years later) but hopefully many of those trees will continue growing for at least another 300 years, long after the end of my life. That thought alone inspires me to continue growing, planting and trying to conserve trees for the rest of my life

Who knew ‘by hock or by crock’ related to an old phrase recalling the hocks and crocks of our old tree workers, with their bill hocks,…

Oak is a hotel for over 2000 species.

Ash Dieback: doom-laden predictions of 90% loss of our Ash trees have not come to pass thank goodness , at least 30% of our indigenous trees appear to have high resistance ,so these will be essential to guarantee future generations of British Ash trees.

Honey Fungus: gets a very bad press, but most of our native trees have high levels of resistance and in natural woodland HF tends to feed on the wood of dead or dying trees , speeding up the decay process and therefore the recycling of nutrients.

Ivy : contrary to popular belief Ivy does not kill healthy trees and is an important habitat for birds, a late pollen source for bees and hoverflies etc, and the berries are very nutritious winter food for birds and mammals. Advisable to prune if it grows heavy on branches .

All trees grow new wood on the outside of their trunks just beneath the protective bark (called sapwood or cambium ) This  transports the sap to and from the leaves .Thus older trees can decay in the centre , even becoming hollow , but still continue growing happily for many years!

Kally told us of a future project, Community Forest School, which will be starting in February. We are all invited. It was Kally’s soup we ate today a delicious Sweet potato and lime, and we worked her loom during this lunch time as we were finding we ran out of time otherwise.

It was a cold January day, we braved it to here. We met trees and Paul, and invite him to return.

We finished our time together moving and dancing around the fire, throwing out words of gratitude for our time and what knew tree knowledge we were taking away with us. There was some excellent dance moves and touching words.

Weaving Centre
About the Weaving Project
KE Consent Form
KE Information for Elders
First Weaving project 2020


Sept 30 – Introductions
Oct 7 – Weaving and Dyeing
Oct 14 – Dyeing and conkers
Oct 21 – Dyeing and drawing
Oct 31 Samhain Sunday
Nov 4 Leaf letting go
Nov 11 EARTH
Nov 18 AIR
Nov 25 WATER
Dec 2 FIRE
Dec 9 WOOD (crafting
Dec 16 (Solstice)

Jan 6 Stories – story of an object
Jan 13 Stories – His-Herstory
Jan 20 Stories – Tree Stories
Jan 27 Stories – More Tree Stores
Feb 3 –
feb 10
Feb 17
Feb 24
Mar 7 (Equinox)


Shona, Kally and Rachel are keen for you to get in touch with us.

Supported and sponsored by:

COVID-19 Engaged Communities Fund (Suffolk CC)