Bolton-le-Sands Abbeyfield has been presented with an unusual seat by the Thwaite Brow Woods Conservation Project, a seat made of branches from a tree which had to be partly felled owing to the branch of an oak tree growing over a neighbouring field and considered to be in danger of falling and causing problems with livestock.
Brian Crawley and Bolton Lodge Caretaker, Kate, try out the new seat.
That was done at the end of May so that it could be utilised. Because it was an oak, the bark could be used by a tannery on making leather goods five years after maturity. There was only a comparatively short time to strip off the bark as it needed to be dlo e when the sap was rising and had not dried out. One of the group’s members, Brian Crawley, had worked professionally on timber and attended to the cutting down of the branch and then the preparation of the bark. As a result, a number of members of the group learned the old craft of ‘barking’, something for which Lake District children were allowed to take time off school and help their families in the task.
The bark was stripped from the branches with suitable tools which were able to get under the bark and lever it upwards. Once that had been done, it did not take long for the branches to dry out. Brian knew which of the dried branches could be usefully utilised, He then sawed them to the sizes he needed and formed them together into the seat. It was then coated with a preservative. Once it was all finished, the seat, as had been agreed by the Thwaite Brow members, was officially handed over to Bolton Lodge Abbeyfield.
Photographs by Robert Swain