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CROW (Conserve Reading on Wednesdays)
Wednesday, 13th October 2010
Paices Wood Country Park, Aldermaston ~ Bundling Birch for Besoms

Whilst the remainder of the work party busied themselves building steps, see Step Building item, an elite group went to sort through the birch scrub cut by Pang Valley volunteers some two weeks earlier, to extract and bundle material for use at witches broom making workshops being run by BTCV at the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading.

Two such workshops were held, one for students of Brookfields School and the other for the general public. Ten people attended the latter all of whom were not men, in fact, as is indicated by the photo, there seems to be a distinct lack of male interest in besoms.

Nearly all the materials for the brooms where obtained locally: hazel for the handles together with the birch from Paices Wood and willow for binding from Kings Meadow. It was good to see the birch being used rather than burnt as is often the case. By way of thanks for the help in obtaining the materials, Oonagh from BTCV will be joining a CROW task at Padworth Common in November when she will demonstrate broom making.

The workshops where part of a series being held at the Museum by BTCV.

Museum of Rural English Life www.reading.ac.uk/merl