The arrival in the UK of the deadly ash dieback has given these words a hollow ring; Nick is already planning for a future without ash. “We’re going to have to turn from being an ash wood to a mixed wood,” he says.

“This winter I’m going to start transplanting hazel and oak among the existing trees. Everyone is so gloomy about the prospects for ash that we have to assume the worst. It will be next summer until we can tell whether our trees are affected.”

Should the ash survive, Nick aims to coppice the trees every seven years – the wood is used to make tool handles, furniture, walking sticks, tent pegs and wheel rims. “I like the simplicity of the process of growing and coppicing trees. It’s like riding a bike rather than driving a car,” says Nick, who works in the wood during winter and in the neighbouring allotment in summer.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/11/ash-disease-woodlanders