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Woodland festival at Kew

Yesterday the blossoms of the tall elm trees that line Portland streets were drifting along the curbs like snowfall. Planted years ago, resistant to Dutch elm disease, they are beautiful trees in summer, rising up tall and straight before overflowing in a green fountain of leaves. Medieval Brits would have seen their beauty, but also all the ways they could use them. I have been told that the elm’s durable wood made excellent wheels and that hollowed elm trunks were used as water pipes since the wood won’t decay when kept permanently wet.

These are the sorts of details that some people like – and I am one of them as you must have guessed. Older worlds fascinate me. This weekend, 5-7 May, 9.30am - 5.30pm, Kew’s May Bank Festival features Woodland Wonders. There will be longbow and birds of prey demonstrations, wood carving, Morris dancing and working horses. It’s free to anyone under 17.

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