I was virtually born with an understanding of conservation and respect for our environment and its traditional management.
My early years were spent almost exclusively in the most rural parts of the Isle of Wight with my parents who hosted and coordinated British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) groups from Noah’s Ark, a National Trust property leased by the charity.
This included everything from mammal surveys, litter picking, pond clearance and dry stone walling to coppicing, woodland management, hurdle making and even reconstructing medieval round houses! At the heart of it all however was my father’s dedication to managing and enhancing the environment around us which has consequently been ingrained in me and now informs my own practices.
As a result, my own preference is to work with timbers from the northern hemisphere and wherever possible I also look to use timber that has been grown as locally to me as I can. This not only adds provenance to my pieces and subsequent interest to the client but also reduces the distances travelled by my materials and helps to support my local economy.
Perhaps surprisingly, I do not refuse to work with tropical timbers. By ignoring all tropical timber, because some are illegally or unscrupulously logged, the value of this material must inevitably drop and the local incentive to maintain our planet’s rainforests will become negligible. If I can source responsibly managed, certified timber and add great value and longevity to it by producing something that will be treasured for years to come then I believe that, in a small way, my client and I are contributing to the conservation of these precious habitats.
Furthermore, I am pleased to be supporting Isle of Wight charity Gift to Nature by donating either my time volunteering or 1% of every sale I make to them as they continue to conserve the varied and beautiful habitats that I know and love. Whenever possible I also assist my father to maintain a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Havenstreet Steam Railway, also on the Island, and hope to be producing some small pieces using timber from these woods in the future.