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New Forestry Commission England Management Plan template available on myForest

posted on August 15, 2018

The updated Forestry Commission England Management Planning template is now available on myForest.  The update includes changes to the UK Forestry Standard criteria for approving a plan as well as additions to the Woodland Protection section.

FCE management plan template 2018

FCE management plan template 2018

Updates have also been made to the Plan of Operations including the requirement to specify the type of restocking following a felling operation.


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Exploring land manager views of payments for ecosystem services, networks and learning

posted on August 13, 2018

We are pleased to have contributed to a report by the Social and Economic Research Group of Forest Research, working also with the University of Oxford, exploring land owner and manager views about ecosystem services. The work is part of ongoing outcomes of the British Woodlands Survey 2017.

There is increasing interest in understanding, valuing and supporting the variety of ecosystem services that woodlands can provide. Land owners and managers can play a key role in the delivery of forest ecosystem services through active woodland management, woodland expansion and woodland creation.

Exploring land manager views of payments for ecosystem services, networks and learning

Ecosystem services

Headline results

Many land managers were not familiar with the term ecosystem services or the concept of payments for ecosystem services. However, they did often recognise that their woodlands could provide a range of benefits to society.

Quantifying forest services and benefits was thought to be particularly difficult in considering the design of any schemes that might provide payment for these services and benefits.

Read more on the Forest Research website

 


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Model of the House of Wessex

posted on

A realistic model of the House of Wessex has been made by volunteer Brian Hempsted.

Brian Hempsted has been volunteering with Sylva Foundation for the last year, offering his considerable woodcarving skills in helping resident sculptor Simon Clements complete the Tree Charter poles. When he heard about the House of Wessex project, Brian admitted that he was also a keen model maker and offered to make an accurate model of the proposed building at 1:50 scale.

We’ve made a short film showing the model, which he’s just completed. We think it’s just fantastic!

The House of Wessex project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


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Tree Tools for Schools

posted on June 21, 2018

We were pleased to have been approached by the Woodland Trust for help in developing a new national resource for schools to be called Tree Tools for Schools. The resources are now live on the Woodland Trust website.

Tree Tools for Schools

Tree Tools for Schools

Our team adapted some existing Sylva Foundation education resources to develop the ‘Working with Wood’ activities. The activity worksheets and teachers notes cover five topic areas all linked to subjects areas in the Key Stage 2 Primary School Curriculum:

  • What does wood mean to you? Learn how wood has been used throughout history and how it is used today.
  • Different trees for different needs! Discover the many reasons for planting trees. And find out how a tiny acorn grows into a mighty oak!
  • The story of wood: from tree to table! Follow the journey of a tree from the forest to the sawmill and see how it’s transformed into a table.
  • What are broadleaf and conifer trees? Learn about hardwoods and softwoods, and how they are different.
  • The power of planting trees! Find out why we need to plant millions more trees in the UK. And start your own campaign to inspire others!

Visit the Woodland Trust website

 


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Expressions of Interest sought for timber-framing of Anglo-Saxon reconstructed house

posted on June 18, 2018

Sylva Foundation seek expressions of interest from timber-framing and archaeological specialists for the design and faithful reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon house using traditional treewrighting tools and techniques, on the same footprint as an original historical artefact in south Oxfordshire, and to deliver workshops and onsite training.

The charity has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Grant to reconstruct the Anglo-Saxon timber-framed building in a new project known as the House of Wessex. A summary of the project can be found at: www.sylva.org.uk/wessex

Expressions will be accepted only via the following EOI online form:

https://goo.gl/forms/PFYI6lKxUYg08MlT2

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST IS FRIDAY 29TH JUNE 2018


Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund


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Forest Schools for All

posted on June 15, 2018

Forest Schools for All is a bold new education project for Sylva Foundation, in partnership with the Forest School Association, and The Ernest Cook Trust, which is also the main funder of the project. The three leading environmental education organisations have come together with the ultimate aim of increasing and sustaining access to Forest Schools for all children in the UK.

Celebrating the launch of FSFA 11June2018

Celebrating the announcement of ‘Forest Schools for All’ during a Forest School session at the Sylva Wood Centre: Simon Gould (Director of Learning, Ernest Cook Trust), Jen Hurst (Education Manager, Sylva Foundation) and Sarah Lawfull (Director, Forest School Association).

For the next two years we will develop and test new approaches across three English countries—Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, and Oxfordshire—with a view to rolling these out at national scale across the UK with more partners, support, and funding.

Sylva Foundation Chief Executive, Gabriel Hemery, said “This project builds on the past ten years of Sylva Foundation’s innovative forest education projects, in particular work to support woodland management in Forest Schools thanks to funding from the Patsy Wood Trust.” He continued “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Forest School Association, and especially grateful to The Ernest Cook Trust for agreeing, not only to fund the project, but to act as a main partner.”

The Ernest Cook Trust Chief Executive, Victoria Edwards, said: “Sylva Foundation is a natural fit for The Ernest Cook Trust as we collaborate more and build partnerships with like-minded organisations and estates. Forest Schools for All will both support a more strategic approach to the type of demographic we reach in our education work, and give our outdoor learning team a great opportunity to pilot and refine Forest School programmes across our estates and beyond.“

Project highlights

  • The project will start in summer 2018 with the first national online survey of Forest Schools. We aim to provide much-needed evidence about the barriers and opportunities to establishing and sustaining Forest Schools. The survey outcomes will also help us measure project progress.
  • In the first two years of this project, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire will be focus counties. Supported by national survey results, we will develop pilot projects in these counties, aiming to overcome barriers to establishing and sustaining Forest Schools.
  • The three counties will aim to become national examples of Forest School excellence by having a high quantity and a high quality of Forest Schools through the FSA-recognised provider scheme.
  • The Ernest Cook Trust will create England’s first ever dedicated grants programme for Forest Schools and Woodland Owners. These small grants will be critical drivers of the project by providing much needed contributions towards the costs of Forest School Leader training, and also the costs of Forest School site development in school grounds or private woodlands.
  • To achieve and sustain the national strategic ambitions of the Forest Schools for All project we will invite public, private and charitable organisations, and individual stakeholders, to share in this exciting vision.

Further Information

What is Forest School?

Forest School is a unique approach that gives young people increased contact with, and knowledge of, the natural world, and a powerful process that enables the holistic personal development of young people.

Since 1993, regular Forest School sessions have become part of the mainstream timetable in thousands of schools across the UK: they are very popular with parents, teachers, children and Ofsted. More details about the six Forest School principles of good practice can be found at: https://www.forestschoolassociation.org/full-principles-and-criteria-for-good-practice.

Partner organisations

The Ernest Cook Trust (ECT), based in Fairford, Gloucestershire, is one of the UK’s leading educational charities, inspiring young people to achieve better educational and life outcomes by learning from the land and is rooted in the conservation and management of the countryside.  It owns and manages more than 8,900 hectares of landed estates across five English counties. ECT actively encourages children and young people to learn from the land through education programmes (including Forest School training) on its estates, and by giving grants. Each year its Trustees distribute around £2m to a range of education initiatives. www.ernestcooktrust.org.uk 

The Forest School Association is the National professional body for Forest School, running the recognised providers and trainers’ scheme to ensure high quality Forest School. It has more than 2,000 members.  www.forestschoolassociation.org

Sylva Foundation is an environmental charity offering UK-wide support for forest schools via the myForest for Education website (more than 1,000 registered users). It owns a small estate in Oxfordshire, where it runs the Sylva Wood Centre fostering innovation and enterprise in wood. It has strong links with the woodland owner community across the UK (4,000 owners managing 70,000ha).  www.sylva.org.uk


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Expressions of Interest sought for thatching of Anglo-Saxon reconstructed house

posted on June 12, 2018

Sylva Foundation seeks expressions of interest from thatchers for the thatching of an Anglo-Saxon building to be reconstructed using traditional thatching methods and materials, and to deliver workshops and onsite training, in south Oxfordshire.

The charity has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Grant to reconstruct the Anglo-Saxon timber-framed building in a new project known as the House of Wessex. A summary of the project can be found at: www.sylva.org.uk/wessex

Expressions will be accepted only via the following EOI online form:

https://goo.gl/forms/qBRYYWY3kvNCLqf32

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST IS FRIDAY 29TH JUNE 2018


Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund


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FSC UK Small Woods Project launched

posted on June 11, 2018

We wrote recently about how data collected from the British Woodlands Survey 2017 was informing development of the Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC) for small woodland owners. Today, FSC UK has launched the Small Woods Project. If you’re an owner of a small woodland you may be able to help.

What do stakeholders think of FSC?

In an article published today, Owen Davies from FSC UK wrote:

To date, FSC has not been as successful as we would like in encouraging small woodland owners to seek certification. Owners have told us that their reluctance is due to too much paperwork, complex standard requirements, and high costs. With this initiative we aim to make certification lighter on paperwork, simpler, and cheaper, while still maintaining the credibility that stakeholders expect from FSC, which we hope to achieve through a careful assessment of risks and opportunities for positive change.

Let’s be clear; we intend to be really radical, and to test the limits of the FSC system. We may not end up with a standard that can be used for FSC forest management certification in the UK. But what we learn along the way about just how far we can push risk-based approaches to certification of small woodlands will be of immense value not just in the UK but around the world.

To learn more, you can read a more technical introduction to the project. If you’re really keen and think you have what it takes to be part of the group developing the standard, you can read the full, formal terms of reference.

Read the full article


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House of Wessex project goes live

posted on June 4, 2018

In 2016, the remains of an important Anglo-Saxon building were discovered on our land at the Sylva Wood Centre in south Oxfordshire. We are excited to announce that thanks to the support of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund we will be reconstructing the house, with help from volunteers, and launching a series of exciting education activities. Known as the House of Wessex, the education project will run from June 2018 until November 2019 with the ultimate aim of celebrating the birth of the Kingdom of England.

House of Wessex

Archaeological excavations at Sylva Wood Centre September 2016

Archaeological excavations of the ‘House of Wessex’ being undertaken by volunteers led by Oxford University’s Continuing Education Department, in partnership with the School of Archaeology, at the Sylva Wood Centre in September 2016

Main Activities

  • Working with teams of volunteers we will accurately reconstruct the Anglo-Saxon building, on its original footprint, using treewrighting techniques, tools and materials faithful to the 7th Century.
  • With local history groups and other partners we will create a heritage trail, linking our site to nearby historic features and sites.
  • We will be working closely with local schools.
  • With a living history society, we will hold public open days at the site.
House of Wessex model

House of Wessex reconstruction drawings, by Carpenter’s Fellowship.

Get involved

We are beginning to look for people to work with us in this exciting project. We will run courses during which you can learn a whole range of news skills, or you can get involved in other ways as a volunteer.

Find out more on our new webpage for the project www.sylva.org.uk/wessex which includes a link to a dedicated newsletter you can join to receive early notice of opportunities to get involved in the reconstruction.

Our newly-appointed House of Wessex project manager is Lesley Best. You can contact Lesley at wessex@sylva.org.uk

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

 


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Make a canoe paddle course 8th June 2018

posted on June 1, 2018

Make a canoe paddle

8th and 9th June 2018

9.00am to 5.00pm

During this two-day course with award-winning boat builder Colin Henwood, you will learn how to shape a single canoe paddle from Ash using hand tools.

“I can’t think of anything that could have improved a perfect couple of days – I will signing up for another one soon.”
Student on Paddle making course, January 2018.

Colin was fantastic; his attention to detail and support ensured we all left with a paddle I think even he was happy with!
Student on Paddle making course, January 2018.

Make your own canoe paddle at the Wood Centre

Make your own canoe paddle at the Wood Centre

  • Working with ash – our superior native hardwood.
  • Using traditional skills and tools you will produce a complex shape with hand and eye.
  • Learn how to finish your smooth and elegant design.
  • Take home a unique and usable canoe paddle ready for a varnish or an oil finish.
  • Tools and materials included (if you wish to bring your own tools please discuss this with the tutor).

Cost: £225 per person (materials included)

Venue: Sylva Wood Centre, Oxfordshire, OX14 4QT

Tutor: Colin Henwood

book-now

Book your place

 


About the tutor

Colin Henwood founded his boatyard, Henwood and Dean Boatbuilders, in 1982 specialising in restoring and building wooden Thames launches. The boatyard received many awards in the UK and abroad, and in 2014 Colin was awarded Maker of the Year by the Heritage Crafts Association. In October 2016 Colin handed the boatyard over to two of his team who are successfully continuing the tradition he began 35 years ago. Not one to retire, Colin has established a workshop at the Sylva Wood Centre where he is currently re-building a 1920 Thames motor canoe.

Colin Henwood with students making a canoe paddle at the Sylva Wood Centre

Colin Henwood with students making a canoe paddle at the Sylva Wood Centre

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