In January 2023, I was contacted by Bovey Tracey resident Jeannette, with the generous offer of Strawberry Wood.
When I met Jeanette she explained that unfortunately during 2022, Ashwell House’s huge strawberry tree (Arbutus Unedo) shifted further into East Street in Bovey Tracey and shifted the stone gatepost of the boundary wall of her garden
Although for many years the tree had been braced several metres up, it was potentially unstable and its risk of falling into the road had increased
The tree is a majestic age of over 170 years old, having been planted in the 1840s when two cottages fronted East Street.
In November 2022 , Teignbridge Council approved an application for severe pruning of the tree which was conducted by Arborists using ropes and a climber, who brought down large limbs and a stem up to 2ft wide in parts. The tree surgeons dubbed it the largest Strawberry Tree in Devon
Rather than split it for firewood, Jeannette kindly reached out to various woodworkers at MAKE Southwest (formerly the Devon Guild of Craftsmen) and Alex came to collect the rounds of Strawberry wood: on first sight the rich hues of the heartwood were strikingly beautiful
‘I am delighted to be bringing the Strawberry tree back to Bovey Tracey in its new incarnations. This is one of the aspects of green wood work I relish, the alchemy of turning what can be a sometimes saddening end to a tree’s life, into a new story which honours the tree and the use of its precious resource into making something beautiful and functional.’
This collection of Strawberry Wood spoons has been saved for CRAFT festival and the folks of Bovey Tracey, it is undeniably one of the most lovely woods I have ever carved, the rich array of pinks, cream and dark brown are truly magical.