If you go down to Trafford Industrial Estate today you might expect to see a sea of grey industrial units with lorries swimming their way around them; you'd be right. But venture a little deeper and you'll find a pocket of green space called Trafford Ecology Park.
We visited this place on Wednesday with a group of wrapped up volunteers to see a Ben Thomas in its natural habitat.
Ben manages the forest there using a process called coppicing whereby you cut back native trees to their stools so they send up in straight and even poles that can then be harvested. Butterflies, wild flowers and birds thrive in forest kept this way.
The hazel, ash, cherry and birch trees we cleared were categorized into various lengths and thicknesses for use in making wooden products right here in Manchester. As we did this we isolated segments which we could and will use in our own workshop at The Pilcrow. Those of you that signed up to 'Hooked' will reap the benefits.
Parts of the trees that were not appropriate for use in products, such as the brash, were put into a minced hedge that surrounded the site.
I'd like to thank the excellent volunteers that came, the brilliant 3D Design students from Manchester Metropolitan University and Ben Thomas for a brilliant day of hard work.
Start in Salford - http://www.startinsalford.org.uk/our-projects/start-creative/
MMU 3D Design - http://www.3dd.mmu.ac.uk/