20 MARCH 1942, Page 14

Native Fuel

Among country words—of which a number were quoted last week —" elden " is particularly topical and it might well be extended

from the local focus, for in this time of war wood-gathering is almost universal. The word was praised lately in the Estate Magazine; It is surprising that the literary countryman who gave it vogue should not have added the now forgotten word estovers. Among those " necessities " of country life which it covers brushwood on the commons has been more freely cut of late than for generations. Some commons are the better for the raids. Since commoners ceased to keep any sort of stock on such land the seedlings have been quite unrepressed and here, as on neglected farms, the oak has been by far the most successful coloniser, though parts of common land near elm trees are producing elm spinneys. The total destruction of these may be recommended to lords of the manor, who, like the commoners, are apt to disregard their privileges—or duties.