Willow, Wetlands, Weaving & More... new Coate family book


It was so lovely to be able to attend the book launch for ‘Willow, Wetlands, Weaving And More… 200 years of the Coate family on the Somerset Levels’ by Christopher and Anne Coate held last Saturday 23rd February at Coates English Willow.

It was great to see and chat to the many supporters and fantastic staff who work so hard to keep Coates and our Willow industry alive.

Although I’m yet to finish reading the book, it’s superb!  A fantastic format – great photos and illustrations alongside really interesting historical snippets about the willow industry as well as personal Coate family history.

I’m really pleased that the concluding page of the book is about ‘Building Stability For The Future’.  The book is a definite reminder of how fragile the willow industry here in the UK is, not just in the past but in today’s world too.  It is a constant challenge for the Coates family to maintain the business and move forward in the 21st century.  At the book launch, Jonathan Coate answered the question “Why are we still here?” His answer, (whilst looking at all of us), “Because you’re all so stubborn!”  I wrote in an email to Nicola Coate this morning, “I promise to remain unequivocally stubborn, (unless you tell me otherwise!)” To which Nicola replied, “Yep- I think we all have a stubborn streak, otherwise we would have given up years ago. Keep it up. xx”

It’s a real privilege and honour to be involved with Coates English Willow.  I love teaching there, being supported so much by Nicola, Jonathan, all the lovely staff and the wider Coates community.  May we continue to champion each other and our amazing willow industry.

Photos are: Left – My beautiful daughters chatting away on a willow swing seat. Right – Dave Evans (aka another unofficial Coates ambassador) saying something obviously very funny to me!