Have you ever stopped to think about what a wicker basket is made of? The answer was once common knowledge, and skills like basket weaving were practised by many people.

The practice has been carried out across the globe for at least 10,000 years.

Each culture has their own style of baskets which have been used for transporting goods, decoration and food storage.

Today we are far less reliant on our local natural environment. If we need a woven basket we can pop to the shops or order one from the comfort of the sofa.

However, what most people don’t realise is that the materials we need for baskets, or for any traditional weaving craft, are all around us.

Late winter is the perfect time of year to harvest supplies from your garden or hedgerow. Plants such as willow, bramble and dogwood are all fantastic for weaving (just watch out for any thorns!).

Using natural materials from your local environment is a great way to create something that is plastic-free too.

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If you’re interested but don’t know where to begin then come to a BBOWT event where friendly expert advice is on hand.

This February we will be running Wild at Heart, a campaign that encourages people in Oxfordshire to fall in love with wildlife. With a series of guided walks, talks, family events and workshops there’s something for everyone.

This year the Education team at Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre are delivering a number of workshops that inspire people of all ages to reconnect with nature through traditional weaving methods.

As part of the Wild at Heart campaign children will have the opportunity to create their own hanging bird table during February half term.

These bird tables are designed to only need materials which are readily available in the natural environment at this time of year. Once completed, you can hang your bird table in the garden and put out some bird food. This natural feature will help encourage feathered visitors to stop by for a snack at a time when it can be difficult to find food.

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For adults there are two hedgerow basket weaving workshops on offer. Join us for a full day of natural weaving and go home with the satisfaction of having made your own basket from scratch.

All craft materials for the workshops have been harvested from the BBOWT site in Sutton Courtenay. Spanning nineteen acres this picturesque nature reserve provides an abundance of weaving materials while at the same time acting as a haven for local wildlife.

Oxford Mail:

Once an army depot, this wild area now features ponds, scrubland, woods and meadow. Thanks to the actions of BBOWT over the last 50 years the nature reserve is flourishing and wildlife such as kingfishers, bats and badgers can be found living onsite.

Through school trips, toddler groups and events the Education team based in Sutton Courtenay share BBOWT’s passion for wildlife with the local community.

The upcoming weaving workshops are a great way to learn a new skill that uses sustainable materials. All events take place onsite in the education centre’s classrooms – a beautiful natural setting looking across a pond.

Step by step guidance will be given by a member of the Education team and no previous experience in weaving is necessary. Why not come along and create a unique and sustainable keepsake. It doesn’t get more local than this!

Visit bbowt.org.uk/events