Invitation to the WoodWords™ literary evening 14th May

posted on April 29, 2016

Tickets are still available to this exciting event. Book now to avoid disappointment.

WoodWords 2016

WoodWords 2016

Trees, and the wood that comes from them, are part of all our lives. WoodWords™ 2016 brings together four authors who are passionate about trees, wood, and the process of turning it into beautiful and functional things. At this inaugural WoodWords™ literary evening they will tell the stories behind their latest books – splinters and all. We hope to meet you there.

This unique event takes place in the Sylva Wood Centre – an exciting new hive of creativity in wood that brings fine furniture and industrial use of wood together. Dress down, enjoy drinks amongst the sawdust and wood chips at The Wood Bar, admire the incredible creativity of our resident designer-makers and be inspired.

Saturday 14th May, 6:00 – 9:00pm
Sylva Wood Centre, OX14 4QT

Tickets are £15 each with all proceeds going to the charitable work of the Sylva Foundation.

Buy online now or telephone 01865 408018.

About the Authors and their books

The New Sylva

The New Sylva

Gabriel Hemery has a lifelong interest in sustainable forestry, and is co-founder and CEO of the Sylva Foundation. Gabriel’s book The New Sylva was published by Bloomsbury in 2014 to coincide with the 350th anniversary of John Evelyn’s 1664 Sylva. Intertwining science, art and history, and illustrated with 200 exquisite drawings by co-author Sarah Simblet, The New Sylva describes the tree species that play a significant role in today’s society, and offers a deep and enriching understanding of our orchards and forests.



The wood for the trees

The wood for the trees

Richard Fortey is a British palaeontologist, natural historian, writer and television presenter. He served as President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year of 2007, and worked for most of his career at the Natural History Museum in London. The Wood For The Trees combines stunning natural history with the ancient history of the countryside. The book is a wonderfully evocative biography of a beech-and-bluebell wood through diverse moods and changing seasons, and tells the full story of the British landscape.




The man who made things out of trees

The man who made things out of trees

Rob Penn is patron of the Small Woods Association and Media Associate at the Sylva Foundation. An avid cyclist, Rob is also deeply passionate about wood and woodlands. He presented the BBC Four series ‘Tales from the Wild Wood’. As a journalist, he writes for The Guardian, Observer, FT and Sunday Times, as well as a host of cycling and woodland publications. His latest book The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees was published by Particular Books, in 2015. His previous book It’s All About the Bike: the Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels was a Sunday Times bestseller in the UK, and was translated into 13 languages.



Essential Woodworking Hand Tools

Essential woodworking hand tools

Paul Sellers is an internationally renowned woodworking teacher and a leading advocate for his craft, reaching many thousands of people by recording instructional videos of woodworking techniques. Although Paul has earned a living as a woodworker, he refers to himself as an ‘amateur woodworker’ because he still does it primarily for love of the craft. His new book Essential Woodworking Hand Tools was written to pass on not only his knowledge of tools but his enjoyment of them. It helps anyone to make good choices in purchasing, sharpening, and beginning to use the tools that you need to build things from wood.

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Wood Centre abuzz with first woodworking course

posted on

Last Saturday we hosted our first woodworking course at the Sylva Wood Centre.  The course was organised on behalf of the Oxfordshire Natural Beekeeping Group.

Course tutor Matt Mercy uses locally-grown western red cedar and larch for his hives, so the course chimed perfectly with Sylva’s principles of using more sustainably-grown wood products.  Matt helped 14 students to make Warré hives.  These types of hives are favoured in ‘natural beekeeping’ for their high level of insulation and a ‘chimney effect’, which keeps the bees warmer than some other hive types. Also the hive boxes have shuttered window inserts which allow for non-intrusive observations of bee colony activity and health.

Oxford Natural Beekeeping Group workshop at the Sylva Wood Centre

Oxford Natural Beekeeping Group workshop at the Sylva Wood Centre, April 2016

‘Natural beekeeping’ covers a spectrum of approaches to keeping bees which encompass bee-centric, low intervention, chemical-free methodologies. This is a holistic approach that facilitates natural bee behaviours and promotes bee health through providing healthy hive environments and allowing for natural selection of robust ‘hygienic’ gene pools.

Matt Mercy, course Tutor, said:

“I was very impressed with the facilities provided and would highly recommend the Sylva Wood Centre to other tutors”.

Paul Honigmann on behalf of the Oxfordshire Natural Beekeeping Group said:

“many, many thanks for organising our course at the Sylva Wood Centre.  Everyone left happy and smiling and with something physical they’d made – and for several, the event was their first face to face meeting with other natural beekeepers – a great day for all”.

Read more on the website of the Oxfordshire Natural Beekeeping Group.

Are you a woodwork tutor? Please contact Paul Orsi if you are interested in running a woodworking course at the Sylva Wood Centre.



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myForest for Education workshop at the National Forest

posted on April 28, 2016

The National Forest was humming with discussions about woodland management and forest education at the latest myForest for Education training workshop.

The workshop was held at Martinshaw Wood near Leicester, owned and managed by the Woodland Trust. Twelve Forest School Leaders, trainers and those interested in forest education and community-managed woodlands attended the half-day training event. Nottingham and Leicester Forest Education Network, the National Forest and the Sylva Foundation worked in partnership to:

  • introduce participants to basic principles of woodland management;
  • survey an area of woodland with the aim of creating a woodland management plan using myForest for Education;
  • provide opportunities for networking, sharing information and contacts to other forestry organisations.

Chris Williams, Woodland Trust Manager, led a walk through the woods to explain the management of this planted ancient woodland site. Simon Greenhouse, National Forest,  showed the group newly-planted areas adjacent to Martinshaw wood and explained how local communities, schools and sponsors are involved in the woodland creation and management.  The site visit ended at Groby Community College in an area of woodland well-used for education activities. Jen Hurst, Sylva Foundation Education Manager, showed the group how to map and survey the site including an assessment of ecological impacts on the woodland. Back in the workshop room the results of the survey were transferred to Sylva’s free online system myForest for Education to create management plans.

Jen Hurst at the myForest for Education workshop

Jen Hurst presenting at the myForest for Education workshop

myForest for Education workshop

Delegates at the National Forest myForest for Education workshop

One workshop participant said:

“it’s so valuable meeting other Forest School Leaders, woodland owners and organisations who manage woodland sites for education”.

Another — a newly-trained Forest School Leader — implored:

“I just want more of this kind of training!”.

With generous support from the Patsy Wood Trust until 2018, myForest for Education training workshops will continue to be provided free to any groups, networks or conferences.

Please contact Jen Hurst for further information about the workshops:

Read more about myForest for Education



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A new home for Sylva

posted on April 25, 2016
Sylva Lodge - our new offices at the Sylva Wood Centre

The Sylva Lodge – our new offices at the Sylva Wood Centre

Sylva Foundation has moved!

As announced back in February (read more) we commissioned a new wooden low-energy building designed by South Wales timber building specialists Benfield ATT. The Sylva Lodge—as it is known— was constructed with timber, most of which is home-grown, and all sourced from sustainably-managed forests.

Our new address is:

Sylva Foundation
Sylva Wood Centre
Little Wittenham Road
Long Wittenham
OX14 4QT



Category: Announcements

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