Everything an amateur bowyer does to turn a log into a bow throughout the year.
Making bows, longbows and primitive bows with all the tips, tricks and problems.
Thursday, 11 October 2012
Applying to Cut Yew and General Progress
I though this tale of Yew hunting might be useful, so here goes (I've avoided specific names and locations).
The Yew was spotted at the back of a commercial premises and had been heavily cut when some earlier building work was done (very badly and probably without permission... What a waste of Yew, as it probably went for firewood!). The limb I was interested in had been partially sawn through at the base when the previous work was done, so I felt it was appropriate to harvest it.
I went round the front to the shops and explained that I wanted to cut one branch and asked who owned it. They directed me to a shop across the road where the proprietor was the owner of several properties.
The man was very helpful and said he was happy for me to cut a limb, but I would need permission from the local council.
The council website had a general enquiry E-mail address, so I E-mailed explaining who I was, what I wanted to cut, the location and my experience with local conservation groups, the forestry commission etc. I was also at pains to point out that I only use hand saws (not a chainsaw). I got an automated response saying it would be passed to the appropriate department and I should hear within 5 days.
The next day I got a helpful response from the parks department saying they had no objections, but they had to pass it onto the planning department in case it had a tree preservation order (TPO) on it.
It transpires it doesn't have a TPO but it is in a conservation area so permission and approval is required.
The E-mailed response had the appropriate form attached, which they required in triplicate including a location, description of the work, details of ownership, illustrations etc.
I returned to the Yew and took pictures to send off with the application, and now I'm waiting on their judgement.
Whilst taking the pictures I got chatting to a lady from one of the shops who was concerned that I was 'a madman wanting to cut down her Yew tree' and that I couldn't touch it without permission of the council .
I explained that that's why I was taking the pictures and exactly what I wanted to do. I showed her her pictures of my work on my camera . I pointed out the limb I wanted and how it was nearly sawn through and generally sweet talked her.
By the end she was happy that I wasn't a chainsaw wielding vandal, being a balding 60year old does have some advantages. I expect the above exercise undertaken when I was an adolescent would have produced different results.
I mustn't count my chickens before they are hatched, but I'm fairly hopeful... my son mischievously suggested that photoshopping chainsaw cuts onto photos of any wood I wanted to harvest might be a cunning plan!
It's a fair bit of work for what will probably only yield one bow, but you don't get ow't for now't, I've also learned the process and made some good contacts.
Hopefully this may provide some useful tips for any of you in the UK hoping to cut some Yew. Update ( 25/4/2014):- Permission came through several weeks later and I cut the Yew, it became a 130# warbow about a year or so later.
Meanwhile the MkII Maple has been making great progress, I worked it back to about 24" at 45# and got the tiller how I wanted it before taking it up to 50#. During this I noticed that the rule on my tiller rig hadn't been adjusted and was under reading! Thus the previous bow had probably been drawn to about 3/4" over, when you consider I'd taken it to an indicated 29" which was nearer 29 3/4" this possibly explains some of the problem.
The bow still isn't finished or shot in yet, but it's looking good and I'm optimistic.