Holt Wood News January 2008 Sustainable Medicinal Trees and Shrubs Project

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Holt Wood News January 2008

Sustainable Medicinal Trees and Shrubs Project

Summer GPS Mapping

During August we were fortunate to have the loan of some Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment from Middlesex University, to log the position of every tree and landmark in the Holt Wood planting area. The portable satellite dish we used picks up from at least 3 satellite signals to identify positions with great accuracy. We could do this because the trees have not grown too tall yet, apparently GPS is difficult under trees because the signals are blocked. In the long term this information will be an invaluable basis for drawing up maps and recording tree size, coppicing and harvesting. Our thanks to Alice, a student from Bologna University, and to Vicky who helped with this work. Despite the rain in August we also helped Alice to obtain a selection of woodland plants suitable for use in her project establishing a herbal medicine garden at the Archway Clinic of Herbal Medicine in London (this is the training clinic for students at Middlesex University on the BScHons Herbal Medicine degree). Much appreciation to Pat Fleming for contributed plants.

Ongoing Work

Many, many thanks to everyone else who was involved with Holt Wood during 2007. The trees have got off to a good start, and some more have been added. Lots of clearing and strimming was called for to give the trees a chance! A wooden bridge has been built by Kay across the stream, making access to the camping area much easier. We have also acquired a beautiful canvas bell tent, (known as a Soulpad for those who go to festivals), roomy and endowed with a small woodburner so very cosy.

Planting in Holt Wood 12 Oct 2007

New Planting

We have been busy planting out a selection of basketry willows in a bed – they are (with intended bark colour in brackets):
Salix alba x fragilis 'Golden Willow' (yellow/ orange)

Salix alba x fragilis 'Jaune Hative' (olive green to yellow/red)

Salix alba Chermesiana 'Yelverton' (red)

Salix nigricans (black)

Salix purpurea 'Dicky Meadows' (yellow/green)

Salix sessilifolia (light green)

Salix triandra 'Black Maul' (brown)

Salix triandra 'Noire de Chalons' (chocolate brown)

All willow cuttings have been planted through thick black plastic silage sheeting at close spacing of about 30 cm (90 cm between rows). We have also cuttings of a variety of Salix purpurea which is hopefully high in salicin, the anti-inflammatory constituent comparable to synthetic aspirin. Special thanks to Dave Clark, of West Wales Willows, for generous advice and speedy delivery of cuttings. Details of many more willows for ornamental as well as basketry use are at http://www.westwaleswillows.co.uk/index.html
Also we are grateful to Raymond and Margaret Stobart for the addition of some fruit trees – Apples 'Cornish Gilliflower' and 'Hockings Green', both late keeping apples of old Cornish varieties grafted on MM106 – and a choice Plum, Kirkes Blue, to put near the Early Transparent Gage planted last year. Our local suppliers for these trees were the Agroforestry Research Trust and Thornhayes Nursery.

Links Elsewhere

Anne has been involved in setting up an email-based discussion group for people involved in research and projects on sustainable plant medicine. The idea is to provide links for information and support, and particularly to encourage research to support growing and harvesting in a sustainable way. The list is hosted at and is called SUSTAINABLE-PLANT-MED.


Sat 8 March, 1pm-4pm – Working Wood Afternoon. Walkabout to check trees and measure growth.

Sat 24 May, 2pm-4pm – Herbal First Aid in the Wood (Herbal Medicine Awareness Week) – A walk around the project with discussion of first aid uses of medicinal plants, shrubs and trees.

Fri 11 July Sun 13 July - Bramble Busters Wood Weekend Camp, join us for bramble-pulling by day, wine and chat by the camp fire at night. Bring your tent (no facilities on site), or contact us for local B&B possibilities.
All activities weather permitting, wear boots or wellies, and bring your thickest gardening gloves. Phone Anne or Kay at 01363 777531 or e-mail for directions to herbaid@metronet.co.uk .

Wild angelica Angelica sylvestris 8 Aug 2007

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