Woodmen of the Oxfordshire Chilterns, 1300-1800
Published in: Folk Life
Resource verified by SHCG editorial group
Today, traditional woodmen are a dying breed, very few using the old skills in the woodlands. The making of hurdles, besoms and other ‘coppice ware’ tends to linger on as a craft only to be performed at shows and exhibitions, or in museums such as the Weald and Downland Open-Air Museum. Until the last war, however, it played a great part in the management and economy of the broadleaved woods. Woodlands have always been important in the Chilterns, and the local settlement patterns reflect this. A typical woodman lived in a squatter's cottage near the woods, with various sheds holding the tools of his trade, and bundles of poles, blocks of wood etc. stacked outside.