Just under the bark of most tree species, you’ll find the phloem layer which transports essential carbohydrates to the rest of the plant. Its fibres have been used for millennia to make numerous products such as cordage, baskets, and textiles. Commonly called bast fibre, it is harvested from the felled tree in strips and then prepared by partially rotting or chemically decomposing the lignin that binds the fibres together, leaving very strong and useful fibres.
Here, I have used lime and willow and prepared the fibres by boiling in a strong alkaline solution made from wood ashes and water. After washing and drying the fibres will last indefinitely, but in this case, they’ll be used for a Norfolk Wildlife Trust workshop to run during the summer.