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Help shape the future of forestry

posted on July 14, 2017

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Devolution, pests & pathogens, Brexit, emerging markets, climate change, societal attitudes . . . these are just some of the momentous factors influencing our trees and woodlands, those who care for them, and those who rely on their products and services.

Have your say about what these and other issues mean to you by taking part in Britain’s only dedicated national survey about our woodlands and forestry: the British Woodlands Survey 2017.

The last BWS, which focussed on environmental change, represented 11% of all privately-owned forest land in Britain with 1500 stakeholders taking part in the survey. This year we are asking questions around priority themes already suggested by some 400 stakeholders, plus themes of specific interest to England, Scotland and Wales.

BWS has a proven record of working with important forestry organisations in Britain to provide a solid evidence base that influences decision-making, and contributes to policy. If you are a woodland owner or manager, farmer, land agent, professional forester or forestry/wood business, please take part and help shape the future of forestry.

Take the survey or read more at: sylva.org.uk/bws2017

The survey is open from 7th July to end September.

BWS2017 is led by researchers from Forest Research, Sylva Foundation, University of Oxford and Woodland Trust. Funding for BWS2017 is provided by Scottish Forestry Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland, and Woodland Trust.

take the survey

take the survey


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You can help shape the future of forestry

posted on July 20, 2017
Some enticing early results from the first 500 respondents to BWS2017

Some enticing early results from the first 500 respondents to BWS2017

Since launching the British Woodlands Survey 2017 (BWS2017) two weeks ago we’ve received an encouraging uptake, with 500 respondents completing the survey to date. Thank you to all those who have taken part so far, and to our many partners in helping promote the survey to their members.

The last BWS, which explored issues relating to environmental change, represented 11% of all privately-owned forest land in Britain with 1,500 stakeholders taking part in the 2015 survey. This year we are asking questions around priority themes already suggested by some 400 stakeholders, plus themes of specific interest to England, Scotland and Wales. For example, those with interests in Scotland and Wales were particularly focussed on land reform, while those in England wanted us to ask questions about tree planting. Other major themes include developing the wood chain, and societal benefits. For the 2017 survey we hope to attract the best response so far; afterall this will make the findings even more powerful as an evidence base to help shape the future of forestry.

BWS has a proven record of working with important forestry organisations in Britain to provide a solid evidence base that influences decision-making, and contributes to policy. If you are a woodland owner or manager, farmer, land agent, professional forester or forestry/wood business, please take part and help shape the future of forestry.

Take the survey or read more at: sylva.org.uk/bws2017

The survey is open until to end September.

BWS2017 is led by researchers from Forest Research, Sylva Foundation, University of Oxford and Woodland Trust. Funding for BWS2017 is provided by Scottish Forestry Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland, and Woodland Trust.

take the survey

take the survey


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Changes at the top

posted on July 19, 2017

Several changes to the Sylva Foundation board of trustees are announced today. We welcome Sir Martin and Lady Wood as our first Patrons, Dr Nick Brown steps down as trustee, and Dr Robin Buxton is appointed to the Board.

Sylva patrons

Founder trustees Sir Martin and Lady Wood are retiring from the board to become Sylva Foundation’s first Patrons. Both took a leading role in forming the charity in 2009, and have since been immensely generous in offering their support and wisdom. We know they will continue to attend board meetings regularly.

Martin & Audrey Wood

Martin & Audrey Wood

Sylva trustees

It is with sadness that we say farewell to trustee Dr Nick Brown. As a founding trustee he has played a key role in helping shape our science programme, in addition to guiding the charity through its evolution over the last eight years. He served as Chair of the trustee board for three years.

Robin Buxton, Sylva Foundation

Robin Buxton, Sylva Foundation trustee

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Robin Buxton to the board of trustees. His career has focussed on building effective organisations and networks to strengthen nature conservation in the UK. He has been Chair of the Earth Trust and Wild Oxfordshire, and Vice-President of CIEEM (the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management). He is currently Chair of the Patsy Wood Trust, Treasurer of the Ecological Continuity Trust, Trustee of the Durrell Trust for Conservation Biology, and an adviser to the Earth Trust. Speaking of his appointment Robin said:

“I’m delighted to be joining the trustees of the Sylva Foundation at an exciting time for trees and woodland management in UK.”

Read more about Sylva Foundation’s team of people: sylva.org.uk/people

Category: Announcements
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Volunteer and get digging with archaeologists

posted on July 17, 2017

In September there will be an archaeological excavation at the Sylva Wood Centre. This is your chance to get involved!  Either just come along to one of our Open Days, and/or volunteer to join the archaeologists during the two-week excavation from 11-22 September (excluding Monday 18th). You can join the team and help dig, or identify, sort and clean finds.

Archaeological excavations at Sylva Wood Centre September 2016

Previous archaeological excavations at Sylva Wood Centre, September 2016

No experience is required and we will provide training. You can volunteer for a half-day or one full-day, or any number of days, across the time we are working. There is no charge but we would be extremely grateful for a £5 voluntary donation from all volunteers to cover the cost of hiring the digger to strip topsoil at the dig site. Please see the booking link at the end of this post.

Volunteering Open Day Saturday 9 September

If you think you would like to volunteer please come to our volunteering Open Day on Saturday 9 September to see the site, learn more about the archaeology and register for a day/days. The site will be open from 10am to 3pm. If you really can’t come in person please email: jane.harrison@conted.ox.ac.uk

Places will be limited and given on a first come first served basis. Book your place here

Open Day Sunday 17 September

The site will be open from 10.30am to 3.30pm with tours of the site, opportunities to chat with the archaeologists, see the finds, learn more about the past of your area and about the Sylva Foundation, and to picnic on the Sylva Foundation estate.

Excavation details for potential volunteers: 11-22 September inclusive (not 18 September)

  • We will work from 9am to 5pm with breaks for lunch and for tea/coffee in the morning and afternoon.
  • Sylva will provide inside and outside areas for sitting, access to water and toilets.
  • You will need to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, and stout shoes or boots. Bring layers, a hat, sun-cream and waterproofs, plus your lunch and a water bottle.
  • Sylva and the Archaeologist team will provide all equipment and training; hot drinks, shelter and access to toilets and drinking water.

The excavation and the history of the site

The dig will be run by a team of archaeologists from the University of Oxford and the Department for Continuing Education’s East Oxford Archaeology Project.

An excavation in the same ordinary-looking field last year uncovered an Anglo-Saxon hall-building – probably part of a big complex of buildings (see photo above). This year we’re looking at what might be earlier archaeology from the Iron Age and Romano-British times before Sylva complete their wonderful tree-planting scheme. The area of the field has clearly been a popular place to live, and what we find might link it to the Roman archaeology of Dorchester and to the Iron Age hillfort on Wittenham Clumps.

 

Book your place here

Category: Courses
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Make a canoe paddle 26-27Jan2018

posted on July 11, 2017

Make a canoe paddle

26th and 27th January 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.

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 useable 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:                         £200 per person (materials included)

Venue:                     Sylva Wood Centre, Oxfordshire, OX14 4QT

Tutor:                       Colin Henwood

 

Purchase your place on this course

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.


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Pole lathe course 17Feb2018

posted on June 22, 2017

 

Greenwood-workshop-header

Course date: 17th February 2018, 9.30am – 4.00pm

A one-day course to learn how to work with green wood using a pole lathe and make something to take home at the end of the day. Learn with expert green woodworker and experienced tutor Peter Wood.

For centuries the Bodgers used the methods you’ll learn on this course to produce a variety of items. You will work a freshly sawn log though each stage needed to make a useful household object, such as a garden dibber or baby’s rattle to take home. Each student will have the full use of a pole lathe, shaving horse and set of greenwood working tools.

On the course you will learn:

  • how to safely use the tools provided
  • how to carefully select logs for working
  • how to cleave (split) the logs for working
  • how to shape the wood using a shaving horse and drawknife
  • how to turn greenwood using a pole lathe.

Cost: £95 per person

Venue: Sylva Wood Centre, Oxfordshire, OX14 4QT

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

Purchase your place on this course

Book your place

 


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Pole lathe course 20 Jan 2018

posted on

 

Greenwood-workshop-header

Course date: 20th January 2018, 9.30am – 4.00pm

A one-day course to learn how to work with green wood using a pole lathe and make something to take home at the end of the day. Learn with expert green woodworker and experienced tutor Peter Wood.

For centuries the Bodgers used the methods you’ll learn on this course to produce a variety of items. You will work a freshly sawn log though each stage needed to make a useful household object, such as a garden dibber or baby’s rattle to take home. Each student will have the full use of a pole lathe, shaving horse and set of greenwood working tools.

On the course you will learn:

  • how to safely use the tools provided
  • how to carefully select logs for working
  • how to cleave (split) the logs for working
  • how to shape the wood using a shaving horse and drawknife
  • how to turn greenwood using a pole lathe.

Cost: £95 per person

Venue: Sylva Wood Centre, Oxfordshire, OX14 4QT

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

Purchase your place on this course

Book your place

 


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Green wood stool course 11 Nov 2017

posted on June 12, 2017

Following the sell-out success of this course in February, we are pleased to offer a new one-day course: learn how to make a green wood stool. Working with green wood using simple hand tools, by the end of the day you will make a ‘basic’ three-legged stool under the expert tuition of green woodworker Peter Wood.

Greenwood-workshop-header

Greenwood workshop 11th November 2017

Course date:   11th November 2017, 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:          sylva.charitycheckout.co.uk/GreenWoodDayCourse_11Nov2017

 


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myForest to support deer management

posted on June 9, 2017

Over the last 18 months Sylva Foundation has been working with the Deer Initiative, grant-funded by Forestry Commission England and Natural England, to develop new functionality in myForest that will allow land owners and managers to create Deer Management Plans and collate annual monitoring data.

All six species of deer have increased in density and range nationally over the last 40 years. As deer populations have increased, their impact on the ground flora and the structure of woods has increased considerably, in particular the impact of fallow and muntjac in lowland woodlands.

Priority Areas for Deer Management

Priority Areas for Deer Management

The impact of deer on woodland biodiversity may be positive at low population densities. However at high densities deer browsing alters three elements in a woodland: regeneration potential, woodland structure, and ground flora diversity and abundance. Impacts on these elements have ramifications for species that use them as habitat and food. Species affected by these changes in structure and flora include populations of butterflies, other invertebrates, smaller mammals, birds, and their predators.

Collaborative, landscape-scale management of deer populations is key to helping address the issue of high deer populations in woodlands. Five priority areas (see map) have been identified in England in which to focus efforts where deer are having a particular impact on priority sites such as SSSI woodlands. In these areas landowners can receive additional support from the Deer Initiative to organise collaborative action across landscapes.

To aid in collaborative management Sylva Foundation has been working with the Deer Initiative to promote information sharing using the myForest service in order to build a comprehensive picture of deer and their management at the landscape scale. Anyone using the new deer management functionality on myForest will have their information stored safely and securely, managed under Sylva Foundation’s Privacy Policy. We have also created the possibility for users (if they chose to) to share their information with local Deer Initiative Officers which will help the Deer Initiative monitor deer impact across priority areas allowing them to prioritise assistance.

annual cull monitoring screenshot

Anual cull monitoring screenshot from myForest – public launch scheduled in October

Although this functionality has been specifically developed for use in the five priority areas, we hope it will be useful to users across England, and indeed in Scotland and Wales.

The functionality is currently being tested and the planned launch date is 1st October.


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A future forest in the making

posted on June 5, 2017

Seen from the offices of Sylva Foundation, we’ve had a privileged view of the making of the new Future Forest (if not a little work in making it all happen!). Over the span of seven months we’ve taken a photograph most days looking south across the field. We’ve added all these together to make a two-minute timelapse which features the last arable crop being harvested, the arrival of archaeologists, surveying the ground and marking it out, planting with our new Forest Friends, and finally the emergence of a stunning display of wildflowers.

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