New stock of sticks for Hertfordshire morris men
Border morris dance side Wicket Brood, from Bricket Wood, have replenished their stock of dancing sticks by conservation volunteering with local wildlife charity the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.
The group took part in a conservation work party at Hilfield Reservoir Nature Reserve, near Bushey, earlier this month, when volunteers coppiced ash trees.
Coppicing involves regularly cutting the tree down to a stump, called a stool, causing new shoots to grow from the stool. This allows more light to reach the ground, helping ground flora.
Wicket Brood secretary Pam Dean said: “We were delighted to discover that, through the trust, we could establish a new source of coppiced ash for our dancing sticks. Going out together into the Hilfield Reservoir Nature Reserve to cut and gather ash sticks has been a lot of fun, and it’s fantastic to do something positive for our local wildlife while also topping up our stick supplies.
“Ash is the perfect material for morris dancing sticks, as it is a shock-absorbing material, which makes it great for stick clashing and banging the floor.”
Hilfield Reservoir reserves officer Rob Hopkins said: “We always welcome extra pairs of hands so it was a pleasure to have Wicket Brood on site to help us with our vital habitat work. We were delighted to help the group by donating the ash branches we coppiced.
“It’s nice to know that the material went to a good use.”