The rushing of the mountain river, whose banks we cooked on last night, soothed me to sleep. I woke up to another beautiful sunny day; the sun striking the steep mountainside beyond the river. Its glowing red rock is covered here and there in junipers, walnuts and scrub. Our ‘guesthouse’ is bizarre. It is quite nicely built but had no glass in its windows and has no running water …Continue Reading

The recent Inquiry on Forestry contains multiple references to the proposed sell-off the the public forest estate in England but has gone largely unnoticed. It also contains interesting insights as to the future direction of forestry policy under the coalition Government.Continue Reading

So, we left Gava – all six of us in the ancient Russian jeep: Mamajan and his son, Askar, Sergei, Peter and me. After a couple of stops for food, including 50 minutes spent negotiating the price for some meat, it took eight hours to reach Sary-Chelek, the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.Continue Reading

If you are lucky enough to have a kitchen garden and to grow your own rhubarb, you should be aware that a danger lurks in the form of the walnut tree.  Juglone, a natural but toxic compound found in walnut trees, will kill rhubarb as it is very sensitive toContinue Reading

Ministers confirmed in Parliament yesterday the targets for the sale of public forests in England for the Spending Review period to 2015. It is important to note that these sales are separate from the public consultation expected in early next year on alternative options for management or ownership of theContinue Reading

Just as we thought things were going very well – last night we were told that our hosts needed to make a phone call. Ordinarily this would not be a major event but here at Gava, this means a round trip to the nearest phone that will take at least six hours! Continue Reading

I am being interviewed on BBC Radio Oxford today. I will join interviewer Bill Heine on his Sunday morning show to talk about trees and the work of the Sylva Foundation. If you missed it you can Listen Again on the BBC website (for one week only). Gabriel HemeryContinue Reading

Rest day! I feel much better, especially after a lie-in; the clocks went back an hour. Actually, they went back yesterday but our hosts decided to tell us today! At last we have had some time to wash our clothes (10 days into the expedition), and thanks to the sunny weather they were dry by evening. The family have been winnowing sunflower seeds and bagging them under the shade of the apple orchard.Continue Reading

Some years ago I had the privilege of visiting a leading maker of fine guns, James Purdey and Sons of London (Est. 1814), where I met their wood expert and buyer. The common or English walnut (Juglans regia) is the wood of choice for gunmaking as it has superior strengthContinue Reading

We’ve been here one week today but time seems immeasurable: it feels like a lifetime ago that my companion, Peter Savill, and I left London Heathrow. We had another good day collecting walnuts; this time in a new area further East. Mid-morning, we’d stopped in a remote area for our usual snack of chai and lepyoshkas …Continue Reading

What are the top ten most important priorities facing trees in the 21st Century? Policy is traditionally led by civil servants with the agenda of delivering Government policies.  However, these may not always reflect the views and the vision of the experts and practitioners amongst an industry.  They may alsoContinue Reading