A Countryside Management Jargon Decipherer

Ever attended a conservation work day? Maybe volunteering outdoors? Don’t let these conservation workers blind you with their jargon.

Some useful translations follow for countryside management speak, so you can understand countryside management types when they’re giving you a load of flannel about mattocks.

"I haven't got a clue what that is. Write down 'small hairy thing' and Google it later."
“I haven’t got a clue what that is. Write down ‘small hairy thing’ and Google it later.”

Sturdy footwear required

You’re going to be up to your knees in shit. Don’t wear your best trainers.

Facilities here are basic

You’re peeing in the bushes.

The history of this place is fascinating

I Googled this place in the car half an hour before you showed up.

We could use machinery for this, but doing this manually is more sympathetic to the environment

We forgot to get petrol, the brushcutter is broken and besides we’ve got to give you something useful to do.

We’ll be clearing paths

We can’t think of anything for you to do but paths always need clearing.

This is how country folk do it

This will involve the use of accelerants, machinery and a reckless disregard for health and safety.

It’s “rustic”

We’ve made a complete pig’s ear of it.

That’ll do

That will fall apart in a week.

We coppiced this last year

We cut it down, and it grew back, so we’re saying we totally meant for that to happen.

Oliver Rackham said…

I read a bit of an Oliver Rackham book and I’m using it to make myself look clever for the rest of my life.

I did a dynamic risk assessment

I decided whether or not doing that was going to kill me or not after I started doing it.

Hedge laying

There was a beautiful moment today when a mess of pleached blackthorn and elm suddenly turned into a hedge, when the heatherings had been woven through the stakes and the whole structure took on a new strength. This is Midland style – sort of. Presentable side facing outwards as far as possible, the thorny side is presented to the livestock, all the better to make them think twice about breaking through it. Except there were no livestock in this field because it’s a vineyard. The stakes go in amongst the pleached material spaced apart the length of your elbow to your fingertip, and all is secured with heatherings, weaving through in a braided pattern, under and over and around.

I love being back at school, and I love doing this.

What’s next?

This is the second version of this post, the short version.

Next month, I’m going back to college part time to study Countryside Management.

It has been an odd year, and I needed to change what I was doing. Turns out a bunch of people my age are doing it.

The course and the new direction are a big change, but plain common sense when I look back at what I’ve done and forward to where I want to be.

I’m stoked, nervous, hopeful. And available for part time work, by the way.

Pictures of people

I’ve been banging my head against a wall trying to choose some of my favourite photographs. I’ve been taking pictures for twenty years, I have a few. I was going to set up a portfolio site, but there’s no time like the present so I’m just going to start sharing images here.

If you want me to come and take pictures for you, get in touch.