Apart from ash, hazel is one of the most widely used woods by stickmakers – most frequently as shanks for sticks with an added handle.
Hazel is ubiquitous and can be found in hedgerows, woods and forests, parks, waste ground, railway embankments, beside canals and rivers, and just about anywhere else you can think of.
Hazel was a traditional building material, used in the construction of wattle walls, hurdles, fencing and thatching. It was also used to make bobbins for the textile industry. Of course hazel also produces delicious and wholesome nuts.
The shank of a hazel stick combines strength with light weight. The bark can be very variable in colour, ranging from dark reddish brown to light grey. The outermost layer of bark is sometimes a thin film of silver or gold with a metallic sheen to it. Mottled forms, combining a range of different colours, can look particularly attractive.
Hazel was an important tree in Irish mythology. It represented the letter ‘Coll’, which was the ninth letter of the Irish Bardic Ogham alphabet. It gave its name to a God named MacColl (son of Hazel), who according to Keating’s history of Ireland was one of the earliest rulers Ireland, his brothers being MacCeacht (son of the plough) and MacGreine (son of the Sun). They celebrated a triple marriage with the Triple Goddess of Ireland – Eire, Fodhla and Banbha.

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