by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Considering buying bamboo beanpoles for your runner beans? Well don't! Buy British beanpoles instead which are sourced for local coppice woodlands and your purchase will help those woodlands to thrive.
Slowly but surely, and not before time, our woodlands are being managed, in some places, in the old and time-proven way of coppicing and beanpoles are but one of the products that can be made from those woodlands managed in this way.
We need all to get reconnected with the natural world of wood and its endless possibilities.
Coppicing is a management system – probably the only management system – for our woods that benefits the woods, the wildlife and us and this system has been used in the British Isles since, probably, neolithic times and under this management the woods have thrived as did the wildlife and, to some extent, also the people making a living from such woods. Yes, there was a time when it really was possible to make a living working the woods and selling the produce from them, and it was not just beanpoles, hurdles and charcoal.
At the beginning of the 20th century in many rural places in Britain and elsewhere wooden spoons were still used for eating and wooden bowls and those, in general, were all made by local craftsmen from the wood from local coppice woods.
When it comes to beanpoles, and let us return to them, while they may be more expensive (yes, in fact, they are) than bamboo poles the environmental impact and footprint of them it, however, a very small one, especially if the poles are harvested locally.
Many people seem to believe that such bamboo poles last almost for ever but I have found that a season is about all that they can handle before they become brittle and I must say that I have had hazel poles that have lasted two or even three seasons.
This year's National Beanpole Week runs from the11th to 19th April 2015. Support your local events and buy some British beanpoles for your gardens. For more details see http://www.beanpoles.org.uk/.
For more on coppicing and why, etc. see “Managing our Woods”, a small book that explains the whys and wherefores of managing our woods in this way and calls for us to return to that way.