A JOURNEY THROUGH THE CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS
The Carpathian Mountains are a landscape from another time. They appear as they could be the setting for ancient fairy tales, stories full of picturesque mountain vistas and mysterious forests. With peaks of over 2500 metres soaring into the sky and pine trees clinging to the steep slopes, it truly is breathtaking. Flower strewn alpine meadows and grazing flocks of sheep are also part of the scenery, as are wide expanses of forest, with the appearance of the native brown bear.
The mountain range swings in a wide crescent shaped arc some 900 miles across southern and eastern Europe, making them the second longest mountain range in the continent. The western edge begins in the Czech Republic, crossing the boarders into Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia and Romania, where the largest portion resides. Explore our journey through this luscious landscape, and meet some of our furry friends along the way.
WHERE OUR STORY BEGAN
We would have to travel back almost 20 years to discover our connection to the astonishing Carpathian Mountains in Romania. In 1999, James and his father David, who had spent much of his career crafting traditional pine furniture using time honoured techniques, set up Four Corners with aspirations to create bespoke kitchens and furniture, with the highest of quality.
However, as the cost of wood and labour spiralled, it was obvious that much of the process would have to be moved outside of the UK, and they soon found everything they were looking for in Romania. People who were keen to learn how to craft furniture, including dovetail and mortice & tenon joints, as well as amazing sensitively managed forests with a variety of tree species.
We purchased an old dairy farm, which we converted into a workshop with state of the art tools and our own kiln to dry the wood. Today we have over 40 skilled craftsmen & women working for us, who James visits every month. Having our own workshop allows us to not only control the quality of furniture we produce, but also ensure we take care of the landscape around us.
The Carpathian Mountains cover around one fifth of Romanias land mass, with most of this area being covered by luscious forests of beech, spruce, fir, oak and other species. At Four Corners we work hard to preserve these breathtaking forests, by adhering to legislation set out to protect the landscape. We select all of our trees individually in order to avoid clear felling, and to sustain the habitats of many native species. We also retrieve our logs by pulling them from the forests using horses, which causes minimal damage to the surrounding area, trees and wildlife.
PROTECTING ROMANIA’S WILDLIFE
If there is one thing Romania should be known for, besides its beautiful landscape and welcoming people, that is its wildlife. The country is home to many species of wild animals, and currently has the largest population of large carnivores in Europe. We come across many of these animals as we venture through the Carpathian woodland, and work hard to preserve their home while we carry out our work.
THE BROWN BEAR
A favourite Romanian species of ours is the Brown Bear, and this intriguing mammal has played much inspiration in the creation of our brand over recent years. It is believed there are over 200,000 brown bears in the world, and estimates say that over 6,000 of the roam Romania’s forests in the Carpathian Mountains, making this the largest population of bears in Europe.
The lynx prefers to roam mountain regions with large and quite coniferous woods, and the Carpathian Mountains offer just that. Just like most cats they have terrific eyesight even at night, and better hearing than most mammals. The usually live in the highest parts of the Carpathian mountains, over 1000m high, often only venturing down to follow their prey.
Native to mountain scapes across Europe, these adorable animals can often be found roaming the Carpathian’s, as they have adapted to living in precipitous, rugged, rocky terrain. They often spend their summers above the tree line in meadows, however when winter rolls around, they go retreat to lower elevations to live in forests, mainly in areas dominated by pines.
THE EUROPEAN BISON
Another intriguing animal found in the Carpathian’s is the European Bison. These mammals were driven to extinction across Europe in 1927 after decades of decline from hunting. However, around 5 years ago a project began to reintroduce these bison to the Carpathian mountains, and thousands now roam this rugged landscape.
THE GREY WOLF
The largest of the wild dog species, the grey wolf can often be found across the Carpathian’s, with the highest concentrations being in Romania. The wolf is an important part of the ecosystem helping to maintain the diverse composition and dynamics, however these animals are extremely elusive and rarely seen.
THE PINE MARTEN
Mainly active at night and dusk, these adorable little animals with their bushy tails can often be found in woodland across Europe. They are known to make dens in hollow trees or scrub covered fields, and are extremely agile creatures, capable of climbing trees and running across tree branches at great speed.
TREE SPECIES IN THE CARPATHIANS
Romania is home to some of the largest forests in Europe and a wide variety of tree species. In fact over 1/4 of Romania’s territory is covered by forests, approximately 6.5 million hectares, and most of them are found in the Carpathian Mountains. The landscape of Romania and many varied climatic influences, lead to a great diversity of tree species that make up these majestic forests.
Most of the wood we source from Romania, come from Oak, Ash, Maple and Pine trees, which all have their different strengths when it comes to crafting furniture.
Oak is a very popular choice as it is a hard wearing wood. It is known for having lovely open wood grain markings, which look beautiful on statement prices of furniture, such a s dining room tables and wardrobes. While oak has a lovely natural colour tone, this wood can look fabulous with a grey wash.
Ash is a another tough hardwood which is known for its durability and excellent bending abilities, and can be used to make beautifully crafted curved wardrobes. It has coarse texture similar to oak, and you will find that the grain is almost always straight.
Maple is known for its strong and moisture resistant qualities, and is the ideal wood to withstand years of wear and tear. It is usually pale in colour and has natural swirls and twists in the wood grain. However, due to its fine and even texture we often use maple to craft our kitchens, as it accepts paint extremely well and leaves a smooth finish.
Pine is very affordable and lightweight material, with a pale finish which is great for staining. Although is a less durable wood compared to hard woods such as maple or oak, it has its benefits when crafting our kitchens. We often use pine to create the inside of our kitchen cupboards as it is lightweight and easy to work with.
HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? GET IN TOUCH!
If you are considering an exciting new project and think we could help transform your home, we would love to hear from you!
Call us on 01789 297 818 or email us at email@example.com to discuss your requirements.