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First tree planted in the Future Forest

posted on December 9, 2016
Beccy Speight and Gabriel Hemery plant the first tree in the Future Forest

Beccy Speight and Gabriel Hemery plant the first tree, a Wild Pear, in the Future Forest

This week Woodland Trust Chief Executive Beccy Speight visited Sylva Foundation to discuss the various collaborative projects running with Sylva Foundation. After discussions with CEO Gabriel Hemery concluded the pair planted the first tree in the Sylva Future Forest; a wild pear! We’re very grateful to various funders for supporting the creation of this new woodland at the Sylva Wood Centre, among them the Woodland Trust.

The main area of the Future Forest will be planted with our Forest Friends in the New Year. It will contain some 40 species, including locally-sourced native trees, native trees with ‘exotic genetics’ (i.e. matched to projected climate), and exotic species from around the world. Read more about the Future Forest.

Beccy Speight and Gabriel Hemery plant the first tree in the Future Forest

Beccy Speight and Gabriel Hemery plant the first tree in the Future Forest


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Hot-bench spaces available at the Sylva Wood Centre

posted on December 8, 2016
Hot bench user at the Sylva Wood Centre

Hot bench user at the Sylva Wood Centre

As part of the continuing development at the Sylva Wood Centre we have opened a new facility to allow wood-based craftpersons to rent bench space by the week.

Called Start-Up, this flexible ‘hot-benching’ system is aimed at people of all ages who would like to try their hand at setting up a wood business without the burden of taking on a long-term lease.

Hot-benchers have access to a shared machinery workshop which means they don’t have to spend large amounts of capital to get started. Machinery includes a state-of-art Martin panel saw, plus planer, thicknesser, and bandsaw.

 

Sylva Machinery Workshop

Machinery Workshop at the Sylva Wood Centre

Users will join a vibrant and friendly community of wood craftspeople and benefit from companionship, informal advice, inspiration over shared cake and coffee, and opportunities to take part in our growing programme of public exhibitions.

There are currently five benches available to rent by the week.  If you want to find out more and to discuss terms and booking, please email paul@sylva.org.uk or call 01865 408018.


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Rural Development Programme in England open for new applications

posted on December 7, 2016

Elements of the Rural Development Programme in England are beginning to re-open to new applications. These are LEADER and the Countryside Productivity Scheme (CPS).

Having been under the same level of uncertainty as other EU-funded rural development schemes, the message from the UK government is that these funding pots will reopen and stay up to the point the UK leaves the EU.

LEADER groups across England have Local Development Strategies which set out the priorities for allocating LEADER funding, whereas CPS is a national scheme. Both schemes, in most cases, have forestry and timber-related activity identified as an area for investment. You’ll need to check to see if you fall within a LEADER area and ensure you project is eligible however, expert help is at hand.

Forestry Advisory Consortium for England

Forestry Advisory Consortium

The Forest Advisory Consortium (FACE), of which Sylva Foundation is a member, is a partnership of organisations providing expertise in accessing funding programmes.  FACE has been supporting forestry and other rural businesses to successfully access LEADER, CPS and other government funding for a number of years. Examples of projects include mobile sawmilling, seasoning and storage of sawn products, woodfuel production and storage, specialist harvesting, and extraction machinery.

If you have a forestry or rural business and an investment in mind but are not sure if it might be eligible for Rural Development support, get in touch with your local FACE partner to see how they can help. The contact details of all the regional partners can be found at the FACE website. You can also e-mail info@forestryace.eu or tweet to @forestryace.


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Course 25 Feb 2017: learn to make a green wood stool

posted on

Buy your loved one a present with a difference this Christmas, or treat yourself. Book a one-day course to learn how to work with green wood using simple hand tools, and make a ‘basic’ three-legged stool.

Greenwood-workshop-header

Greenwood workshop 25th February 2017

 

Course date:   25th February, 9.30am – 4.00pm

  • Learn about different tree species and understand why different woods are suitable for different tasks, how growth effects its use, and look at wood suitable for cleaving.
  • Learn how to cleave wood.
  • Learn basic axe work to rough shape the stool legs.
  • Use a shaving horse, drawknives and spokeshaves to shape three stool legs.
  • Shape a simple stool seat using planes, inshaves, travishers and spokeshaves.
  • There will also be a pole lathe for participants to ‘have a go’ at turning as time allows.

 

Cost:                     £95 per person

Venue:                 Sylva Wood Centre, Oxfordshire, OX14 4QT

Tutor:                   Peter Wood, Founder of Greenwood Days www.greenwooddays.co.uk

 

Book your place:          https://sylva.charitycheckout.co.uk/greenwooddaysfeb2017


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Amazing response to our Christmas appeal

posted on December 2, 2016

We’ve been stunned by the generosity of so many individuals who have donated to our Christmas appeal over the last four days.

myForest development Christmas appeal

myForest development Christmas appeal

As I write (8am today) we’ve been donated £2,150 which, thanks to the Big Give and support from the Dulverton Trust, will be matched; meaning we’ve raised £4,300 in total. This sum will make a very significant contribution towards our development of Sylva’s myForest. Currently 60,000 hectares of private woodland across the UK is mapped and managed with the help of the myForest service. Thanks to these donations it means our aim to support the management of 228,000ha (10% of UK privately-owned woodland area) by 2021 is more attainable.

It’s not too late if you wish to donate to our Christmas appeal. The deadline is just hours away – 12 noon today. To donate visit our appeal page on the Big Give.

Our sincere thanks to all those who have donated.

Gabriel Hemery, Chief Executive


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myForest Development Christmas Appeal

posted on November 29, 2016

Help us help Britain’s woodland by supporting our myForest development project. Thanks to the support of the Dulverton Trust, any donation made via the Big Give between 29th November – 2nd December will be doubled! You can read more about the Appeal on the Big Give website or go straight to the donate page.

myForest development Christmas appeal with the Big Give

myForest development Christmas appeal with the Big Give

Healthy woodland improves the environment. It cleans our air, supports wildlife, creates fertile soil, helps relieve flooding and provides space for learning, employment and relaxation.

The myForest planning tool was developed as a free, online resource for woodland owners, managers and agents to help and encourage them to map and plan to manage their woodland sustainably. myForest is used currently by more than 4,700 owners nationwide to map and manage almost 60,000ha of woodlands across Britain. Next year we want to develop new tools to make myForest even more effective and encourage more owners to use it.

Thank you for your support.

 


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Establishing a new community orchard

posted on November 24, 2016

Orchards were once widespread across Britain – let alone the thousands of individual trees found outside every farmhouse and suburban garden. Yet according to Common Ground, from 1970 to 1997 there was a 64% decline in the area of orchards. Thanks to the initial work of Common Ground there has been revival in orchards, particularly community orchards (we recommend Community Orchards Handbook, Common Ground/Green Books, 2011). Now there is also an Orchard Network where you can find your nearest orchard on an online map, and even government guidelines to help communities.

When Sylva Foundation received the generous gift of land on the outskirts of the village of Long Wittenham in south Oxfordshire, the idea of creating a community orchard soon came forward. Thanks to funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery and the Naturesave Trust we were able to purchase the trees, protection, paths and cover other expenditure. Last weekend, with the help of local people, we planted 50 apple varieties, plus a small number of other fruit trees (cherry, plum, quince, medlar, damson and pear) and nut trees (cobnut, filbert and walnut). In total 98 there trees in the orchard.

Sylva Foundation retains ownership of the land but we decided to issue 50 ‘cropshares’ to local people who in return for their ‘investment’ each receive a 50th share in the orchard’s produce. Their funding will help the charity manage the orchard on an ongoing basis. If you live locally, we do have some shares remaining: visit www.sylva.org.uk/orchard to find out more.


Before planting we dipped all the trees in a mycorrhizal fungal gel. Mycorrhiza is a symbiotic relationship between fungi and the roots of the tree; the fungi help the tree access nutrients far beyond their own roots. By dipping the roots in the gel, evidence suggests that the trees will establish sooner and grow better, ultimately helping the tree fruit more too.

The next big step with our orchard is introducing beehives. Thanks to the support of the Rowse Family Trust we will be setting up three beehives in the first instance, supported by a community of local beekeepers. Traditional orchards are incredibly important for bees, and of course bees are critical for humans in helping pollinate plants and produce food for us to eat.

We are excited by the new orchard, and the journey we have embarked on with the local community. In time, we hope the orchard will not only be a beautiful part of the local landscape, and be bountiful, but also contribute to the conservation of wildlife (traditional orchards are recognised in the UK Biodiversity Habitat Action Plan).

Category: Announcements

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Out of the Wood Christmas art weekend

posted on November 17, 2016

This year we’re opening the Sylva Wood Centre for our first ever Christmas art weekend.

Christmas artsweekend at the Sylva Wood Centre

19th & 20th November 2016
10am – 4pm

Original gifts in wood for Christmas from our unique community of designer-makers.

find out more

find out more

  • Small pieces in beautiful woods
  • Unique soft furnishings
  • Woodcarving
  • Garden furniture, screens and outdoor buildings in oak
  • Tree photography
  • Gifts in mixed media combining wood, metal, resin and textiles.
  • See makers at work, buy gift vouchers for short and long courses in woodworking and soft-furnishing making.

Children’s activities.

Hot drinks and cakes on sale.

How to find us


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Wood Week captivates primary school

posted on November 16, 2016

An innovative week-long programme of outdoor and indoor education about trees, forestry and wood — Wood Week — was developed and tested with one lucky primary school.

Sylva Foundation’s Education Manager Jen Hurst teamed up with Forester Paul Williams, Carpenter Julian Angus and staff at Combe Church of England Primary School to provide children with a week-long programme of activities on the topic of British trees, forestry and wood. This was supported by head teacher Charlie Marshall as part of the school’s new Curiosity, Creativity and Challenge curriculum.


The week kicked off with an assembly on the OneOak Project  which provided the school with inspiration and ideas for their own tree; a Norway Spruce to be felled in the school grounds. On Day Two Paul Williams of Trees and Gardens came into school and ran forestry workshops for the children explaining his work and equipment. Jen worked with children to learn more about Norway Spruce, its biology and value and to estimate the height and age of the tree before its felling. Once felled the children re-measured the tree and watched Paul cross cut the trunk 122 rounds so that each child took one home.

Julian Angus runs his own carpentry business from the Sylva Wood Centre but also works with schools to make wood products.  On Day Three of Wood Week Julian set up a ‘pop up’ wood workshop in the school grounds and gave the Key Stage 2 (aged 7-11 years) the task of making two benches out of Douglas-fir timber. The children were completely hands-on measuring, sawing, hammering, bolting and working as a team. The benches are needed by the school to increase the seating area for outdoor learning. Key Stage 1 children (aged 4-7 years) also enjoyed using tools making tree cookies with hand drills at their Forest School sessions on the same day.

Jen Hurst led classes outside on Day Four with engaging tree identification activities. Learning the names and uses of the trees will enable staff and pupils to use their school grounds more for outdoor learning. On the same day Years 5 and 6 (aged 9-11) learned how wood was used in the past by building a wattle and daub wall out of hazel and willow as part of their Anglo-Saxon history lesson. In classrooms teachers taught lessons related to Wood Week, including literacy by comparing Norway Spruce and Oak, debated the of felling trees, and produced artwork using materials from trees. These lesson plans, resources, photos, films and activities will be uploaded onto TIMBER! website.

The finale of the week was the branding of 10 logs of Lawson Cypress donated by Blenheim Estate. Julian Angus set up a ‘pop up’ Black Smith forge complete with bellows. Key Stage two children selected the individual iron letters and branded the log poles to spell out the school’s values. Key Stage one children helped shave the bark off the logs with a spokeshave. A final school assembly was held outdoors and the offspring of the OneOak tree, a young oak sapling, was planted to replace the Norway Spruce.

There has been lots of positive feedback from parents and children, one 8 year old said:

“it was the best week of my life!” and many children have expressed an interest in careers in forestry and woodwork.

Charlie Marshall Head Teacher said:

“Schools can focus on the negatives of deforestation so we decided to look at the positive…and learn about the journey of a tree through its life…”

 

Sylva’s Education Manager Jen Hurst explained the many outcomes from Wood Week:

  • educating young people, teachers and their families about British trees, forestry and wood
  • training and enabling school teachers to use their school grounds more for outdoor learning
  • improving school grounds with benches and sculptures to enable outdoor learning
  • giving young people a genuine hands on experience making products out of wood
  • providing young people with the opportunity to meet professional foresters and carpenters
  • developing new resources for teaching and learning on British trees, forestry and wood that will be available nationally on Sylva’s TIMBER! website. “

 

If your school is interested in a Wood Week or Julian Angus workshops please contact Jen Hurst

 


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Stepping into the Future Forest

posted on November 12, 2016

Regular supporters will be aware we are planting the Future Forest at the Sylva Wood Centre this winter. Our CEO Gabriel Hemery visited the planting site recently with lifestyle woodworker Paul Sellers to talk about the vision for the Future Forest and how people can get involved.

Future Forest Promotion with thanks to Woodworking Masterclasses on Vimeo.

Paul Sellers said:

“It’s very humbling really to think we’re planting a playground for children and a place for them to see it grow and be a part of their lives.”

Find out how you could support the Future Forest and perhaps give a unique gift this Christmas: read more.

Our thanks to Paul Sellers and team for their generous support

 

 


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