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Full of Longbows, Coppicing, Billhooks and Exmoor!

Click the pics to see them properly  :)

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I had the BEST time ever! I went to a Roving Mark Longbow shoot with the Medieval society. On behalf of the Mary Rose Trust and The Childrens Trust.

We split into two groups, light bows and heavy bows.  The heavy bows went first as they shot from a further distance. Then we'd walk ahead a measured distance and it was the light bows go.  I think a longbow has to be over about 45 to 50LBS to qualify as a heavy bow. My longbow is 33LB now so I was definitely in the light group!

The shoot was on the Englefield estate in Berkshire. A VERY fitting and beautiful place which added to the history of what we were doing. It was a gorgeous day and there were at least 4 Red Kites circling overhead and Skylarks in the fields shouting at us to get lost!

This is one of the Marks.  We were aiming for them, not to hit them but to get as close as possible to them.  The heavy bows were firing from a distance of about 250 to 300 yards and the lighter bows were probably from about 80 to 120 yards. Quite a distance!

This is Chris Boyton and the other senior members of the Medieval Society doing the scoring. If your arrow is within two bow lengths of the mark (12ft) then your arrow scores (within two bow lengths 3 points and within one bow length 5 points).  The closest arrow to the mark gets 12 points. The winning archer then chooses the next mark.

I only scored once! It was a 5 though as I was only a few inches away from the mark!

This is Ron Palmer. He came to chat to us during the shoot and told us all about himself. What a story! He has been making Longbows for 72 years!  He pretty much single handedly kept the skill of making Longbows alive.

He said some very important things to us too which struck deep in my heart and that have added to my motivation to live a life doing what I love and doing it well. I recommend you read this interview with him, what an inspiration.

As if a day of archery with some amazing people wasn't enough, the next day I went to Bristol Designs woodcraft toolshop. A little treasure chest! No basketry tools sadly but I managed to finally find a Billhook that fits my hand & isn't too heavy or too light! 

I spent the weekend just gone, coppicing and I couldn't have finished the job properly without my, now trusty, billhook!

We made wildlife piles out of the brashing (the tops of the coppiced poles). I'm hoping to investigate all sorts of bugs and mammals this time next year!

We did use the chainsaw to fell some trees and also to do some of the coppicing. We just don't have enough time at the moment to do it all by hand.  I didn't like using the chainsaw myself but was pleased that I felt confident & safe using it.

We did end up with a couple of trees hung up. Luckily for us Elliott of Snowline Productions is an extraordinary climber and could rig himself up to top the trees and help get them down. I couldn't believe he abseiled off a couple of twigs!  Leo did an amazing job with the chainsaw. I couldn't have done it as long as he did!

We had a jolly over to Hoaroak Water. A beautiful little valley full of Hawthorn trees and other magic little spots.

So I think that's the past couple of weeks up to date!



  1. Fantastic!
    Sounds like the perfect birthday for the Henster.

  2. Excellant blog! I find it a truly refreshing read & really enjoying my visits.

    Will you be planting any Rowan trees in your scheme of 6,000 trees ?

  3. Could you post Ron Palmer's contact info please?


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