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Tree Charter legacy lives on

posted on April 17, 2018

The Charter for Trees, Woods and People, launched in 2017, continues to result in media interest and actions on the ground. This week is the inaugural meeting of the new Tree Charter UK Board.

Sculptor Simon Clements (based at the Sylva Wood Centre) features this month in the Countryside Magazine, in an article highlighting the best of British craft and focusing on his work creating the Charter Poles. Another of the Sylva Wood Centre craftspeople, Rodas Irving of Oxford Oak, recently returned from Grizedale Forest in Cumbria where he completed installation of seating around the base the ‘Strengthening Landscapes‘ sculpture; one of 11 Charter Pole sculptures located around the UK.

Now that the Tree Charter exists, the next step is to embed it into the fabric of society. A Tree Charter UK Board has been established comprising of organisations which played a key role in developing the Tree Charter to date, and can ensure a broad range of views are represented. We are pleased that Sylva Foundation CEO Gabriel Hemery is one of the Board members, which will meet for the first time this Friday.

Read more about the Tree Charter.

 


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A new Charter for Trees, Woods and People

posted on November 10, 2017

Sylva Foundation has been very proud to support the creation of the newly launched Charter for Trees, Woods and People.

“Natural treasures, in roots, wood and leaves, for beauty, for use, the air that we breathe. Imagine: a wood starts with one small seed. We’re stronger together – people and trees.”
Harriet Fraser, 2017

The Charter for Trees, Woods and People sets out the principles for a society in which people and trees can stand stronger together. The Tree Charter was launched in Lincoln Castle on 6 November 2017; the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest. The Tree Charter is rooted in more than 60,000 ‘tree stories’ gathered from people of all backgrounds across the UK.


Sylva Foundation Chief Executive provided a short talk at the launch ceremony at Lincoln, celebrating the charity’s involvement. Over the last two years we have collected stories from hundreds of woodland owners, fed into various sections of the Charter’s content, and hosted the creation of the Charter Pole sculptures at the Sylva Wood Centre. We will be unveiling our own Charter Pole on 18th November at the Sylva Wood Centre as part of our Winter Festival for Trees, Woods and People.

Previous posts about the Tree Charter

Visit the Tree Charter website

Category: Announcements
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Charter poles emerge from the Sylva Wood Centre

posted on October 30, 2017

The new Charter for Trees, Woods and People will launch on 6th November — the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest. Sylva Foundation has been a keen supporter of this Woodland Trust-led initiative. Last year we collected stories from hundreds of woodland owners (read more), and behind the scenes we’ve been lending our weight to help make this national celebration of trees a success. We’ve also been quietly busy at the Sylva Wood Centre, helping one of the main celebratory moments come to life in the form of 11 dramatic sculptures.

The Tree Charter Poles are being carved from 15′ oak logs by Sylva Wood Centre-based sculptor Simon Clements. Each of the sculptures represents one of the ten principles from the new Charter, while the eleventh, known as the ‘Champion Pole’, represents the Charter as a whole. The logs were donated by Crown Estates and procured by Grown in Britain.

Simon takes over the story . . .

A 15 foot oak log is quite a thing to have delivered to your door; there is no chance of missing it.  So 11 of them represent a serious log pile and that makes starting a project quite daunting especially for Nick Keighley of Face North Forestry who runs the Woodmizer mobile sawmill from his base at the Sylva Wood Centre, and had only just taken delivery of it when the logs arrived.

The original plan was to have the logs de-barked before we received them, but since the process chews up the timber so badly that we would have needed to recut them before carving, we thought it was easier to run them through the sawmill straight away. It was not an easy task as we weren’t looking for planks but a cylinder of solid oak with no sapwood or bark. This meant that Nick needed to roll the logs onto the sawmill make a pass with the saw, roll the log a few degrees make another pass then continue around the log. We provided him with a plywood disk with the correct Diameter (400mm) to act as a template, but it was very much a case of learning on the job which Nick did brilliantly.

We estimated that the 15 foot logs were about a tonne in weight after sawing so they needed very substantial trestles to support them and these needed to be adjustable to save back strain. A trip to Dave at Cobalt Blacksmith in Nuffield and some chalk drawings on the forge floor resulted in a pair of scissor-type trestles with a chain locking system. We ended up with two pairs so we could work on two poles together.

Brian is an student of mine who bravely agreed to have a go at some of the lettering and has proved to be a natural letter carver, there are around 300+ letters on each pole It takes about 15 or 20 minutes to carve each one so he is an extremely useful member of the team. Steve my other helper has left us to learn cabinet making in Lyme Regis but will be back in time to help with the last few poles in the New Year (he doesn’t know this yet!).

Once the poles were on the trestles they needed to be rounded out to remove the slabs left by the saw. The first two poles, which had gnarly grain, were planed with a 4” power planer; boring, messy and noisy. Once we had a good smooth surface to work on the poem stencils were wrapped around the pole so we could write out the poem reading from the bottom up. The poem words wrap around the pole and are carved into a ribbon with the other carvings placed between the twists of the ribbon.

Once we started work on the later poles we found that the timber was so good that it could be rounded out with a drawknife. The second and third poles were lovely to work; with long straight grain that showed pink as the drawknife sliced through the surface, and because they were denser than the previous two poles it took them longer to open up

Then it was a matter of drawing the designs directly onto the timber and starting to carve. Roughing out the designs was done with a variety of power rasps and cutters, (Rotarex and Arbourtech) on 4” angle grinders, and then followed up with carver’s gouges and mallets.

Because of the nature of green oak all the designs needed to be bold simple shapes, rather than delicate or highly undercut, as the Oak began to open up as soon as it was placed on the trestles. Each pole required about 30 hours of drawn design work which was sent to the Woodland Trust to be signed off before work could begin.

It has been a personal highlight seeing these huge slightly pink oak poles rounded out and made ready for the carver’s chisels. Of course so far the poles are all sitting horizontally in storage after our work is complete, and though they look good and very intriguing, I’m really looking forward to seeing the champion pole go up, which will be the first pole to be lifted into place on its custom made stone plinth in the grounds of Lincoln castle.

Simon Clements
www.simonclements.info

Find out more and sign the new Charter at: treecharter.uk/sign


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Ten key principles of the Tree Charter published

posted on March 27, 2017

Ten key principles of the Tree Charter have been published today, aiming to bring trees and woods to the centre of UK society.

The 10 guiding principles for the future of trees, woods and people, have been drawn from more than 50,000 stories submitted by members of the public, including woodland owners via a survey Sylva Foundation ran in 2016. The principles reveal the role of trees in our lives, and are agreed by a coalition of more than 70 cross-sector UK organisations, including Sylva Foundation. These organisations are now united in calling for people across the UK to stand up for trees by signing the Tree Charter and helping to shape history.

Charter for Trees, Woods and PeopleThe principles will form the bedrock of the new ‘Charter for Trees, Woods and People’ to be launched in November 2017, which aims to secure a brighter future for the nation’s woods and trees, and to protect the rights of all people in the UK to access the many benefits they offer.

Gabriel Hemery, Sylva Foundation CEO said:

“The Tree Charter is important for everyone in the UK. It is a vehicle for us all to reflect for a moment about what trees mean to us individually, and thanks to the engagement with tens of thousands of people across the UK it will provide a clarion call for society to do better in protecting and enhancing our trees and forests.”

Beccy Speight , Woodland Trust CEO said:

“Today, our nation’s woods and trees are facing unprecedented pressures from development, pests and diseases and climate change. They risk being neglected, undervalued and forgotten.  Now is the time to create a new Tree Charter, which recognises the importance of trees in our society, celebrates their enormous contribution to our lives, and acts now so that future generations can benefit from them too.”

Whereas the historic charter was signed by a King to grant rights to his subjects, the new Tree Charter will draw its strength from people power, with signatures from hundreds of thousands of people from across the UK.

Principle Themes and their Aims:

  1. Nature                                                Thriving habitats for diverse species
  2. Planting                                             Planting for the future
  3. Arts & Heritage                               Celebrating the cultural impacts of trees
  4. Utility & Livelihoods                      A thriving forestry sector that delivers for the UK
  5. Protection                                        Better protection for important trees and woods
  6. Planning                                            Enhancing new developments with trees
  7. Health & Wellbeing                       Understanding and using the natural health benefits of trees
  8. People & Access to trees               Access to trees for everyone
  9. Coping with Threats                      Addressing threats  to woods and trees through good management
  10. Environment                                   Strengthening landscapes with woods and trees

 

The Tree Charter Principles articulate the relationship between people and trees in the UK in the 21st Century. The final Charter will provide guidance and inspiration for policy, practice, innovation and enjoyment, redefining the everyday benefits that we all gain from woods and trees in our lives, for everyone, from Government to businesses, communities and individuals.

Sign the Tree Charter

Sign the Tree Charter

You can find out more and sign the new Charter at: treecharter.uk/sign


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Woodland owners – have your say in the 2017 Charter

posted on September 7, 2016

Woodland owners and custodians across Britain are being asked to take part in a unique consultation in support of the 2017 Charter for trees, woods and people.

Charter for Trees, Woods and People

Charter for Trees, Woods and People

More than 50 organisations, co-ordinated by the Woodland Trust, are leading UK society in a call for a charter that will ensure that people and trees can stand stronger together in the future. This charter, strengthened by support from all corners of society, will provide guidelines and principles for policy, decision-makers, businesses, communities and individuals.

Sylva Foundation is pleased to be hosting a consultation that will enable woodland owners and custodians across the UK to help define the 2017 Charter for Trees, Woods and People.

The consultation is the only activity specifically aimed at ensuring the views of woodland owners or custodians are reflected in the charter. More than two-thirds of woodlands are held in private hands, so it is vital that the voices of woodland owners/custodians are captured. If you are a woodland owner or custodian, or represent a woodland owner, we would like to record your hopes and fears for the future of your woodland, to ensure that the charter speaks for you, and supports you in your vital role as custodian of the nation’s woodland heritage.

The consultation questions should take only five minutes to complete, or longer if you wish to share more stories. The name of your woodland will be officially recorded in the 2017 Charter for trees, woods and people.

To take part visit: sylva.org.uk/myforest/charter


Sylva Foundation CEO Gabriel Hemery has written a blog post for the Charter website: read it here

 


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A united voice calls for a UK Charter for Trees, Woods and People

posted on January 13, 2016

The Sylva Foundation is proud to be among 43 organisations taking part in a campaign—led by the Woodland Trust—celebrating the value of our trees and woods, and helping to secure their future, with the creation of a new Charter for Trees, Woods and People.

Charter for Trees, Woods and People

Charter for Trees, Woods and People

The new charter will be launched in November 2017, which marks 800 years since Henry III signed the original Charter of the Forest. This influential charter protected and restored the rights of people to access and use the Royal Forests.

The charter will be rooted in stories and memories that show us how trees have shaped our society, landscape and lives. To kick the campaign off,  the organisations involved are asking people from all corners of the UK  to share their ‘tree stories’ of treasured or significant moments in their lives that would not have been possible without trees, to help create a charter that reflects the true meaning and value of trees and woods to the people of the UK.

Today, our nation’s woods and trees are facing unprecedented pressures from development, pests and diseases and climate change. They risk being neglected, undervalued and forgotten.  Now is the time to create a new charter, a broader charter that recognises the importance of trees in our society, celebrates their enormous contribution to our lives, and acts now so that future generations can benefit from them too.

The coalition’s ambition is that the principles set out in the 2017 charter will articulate the relationship between people and trees in the UK in the 21st century.  The charter will provide guidance and inspiration for policy, practice, innovation and enjoyment. Redefining the everyday benefits that we all gain from woods and trees in our lives, for everyone, from Government to businesses, communities and individuals.

Local groups, clubs, councils and committees will be encouraged to take part by bringing people together to celebrate the woods and trees at the heart of their communities and help feed ideas and stories into the building of the charter. The 48 Charter Steering Group organisations are also looking to recruit local ‘Charter Champions’ who will ensure their community is represented in this ambitious project, able to seize this unique opportunity to define the future for woods and trees in the UK and make their voices heard.

Guidance and information will be provided during the campaign to inspire and support local activities, and to help people create a lasting legacy in communities across the UK. Funding will be available for local events, activities and projects that reconnect people and trees. Anyone involved will be part of a UK-wide network of groups leading local events and will represent communities in this UK wide conversation about the future of woods and trees.

Find out more at: www.treecharter.uk

 

 

Category: Announcements

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Alistair Yeomans presented with Chartered Forester certificate

posted on March 23, 2010
Alistair Yeomans is presented with his Chartered Forester certificate

Alistair Yeomans (right) is presented with his Chartered Forester certificate by Sir Martin Wood

Our Director of Forestry, Alistair Yeomans, successfully passed his examinations with the Institute of Chartered Foresters earlier in the year.

Today he was presented with his professional member certificate by SYLVA’s chairman Sir Martin Wood.

Alistair joins the ranks of other Chartered Foresters and Arboriculturists representing the highest professional standards in our industry.

He was recently elected Regional Secretary of the ICF’s South East division where he supports ICF members in the region and arranges events.

Category: Announcements

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Model of the House of Wessex

posted on August 13, 2018

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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WoodWords 2018

posted on June 1, 2018

We hosted a fabulous WoodWords 2018 event at the Sylva Wood Centre last week. Thanks to the generosity of the authors, who freely gave their time to support the event, and the one hundred or so ticket purchasers, we raised some very welcome income for the charity.

WoodWords2018 authors. Photo Tuc Ahmad

WoodWords 2018 authors (left to right): Gabriel Hemery, Ruth Pavey, Jon Drori, Fiona Stafford, and Neil Ansell. Photo Tuc Ahmad.

The event took place on 24th May, set among the ongoing Artweeks exhibition so guests were able to tour the workshops and speak with our resident craftspeople during the intervals.

 


About the Authors and their books

Around the World in 80 Trees

Jonathan Drori, a former documentary film maker and executive producer at the BBC, has been a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Woodland Trust. He is on the board of the Eden Project and is an Ambassador for the WWF. Around the World in 80 Trees (Laurence King) celebrates trees as one of humanity’s most constant and most varied companions. They offer us sanctuary and inspiration and of course the raw materials for our lives. Jon uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human endeavour, from the romantic to the regrettable.

The Long, Long Life of Trees

Fiona Stafford is a professor of English language and literature at the University of Oxford. In 2014 she wrote the text for the Charter of Trees, Woods, and People. Fiona’s book The Long, Long Life of Trees (Yale University Press) is a lyrical tribute to the diversity of trees, their physical beauty, their special characteristics and uses, and their ever-evolving meanings. Each of its 17 chapters is dedicated to a common British tree, drawing on folklore, natural science, literature, cultural history, European art, ancient mythology and modern medicine to illuminate each trees’ central place in western civilisation. The book was formerly Sunday Times Nature Book of the Year.

The Last Wilderness

Neil Ansell is a writer and award-winning television journalist. The Last Wilderness: a journey into silence (Tinder Press) explores the experience of being in nature in the context of a series of walks that Neil takes into the most remote parts of Britain. He illustrates the impact of being alone as part of nature, rather than outside it. In the book, Neil explores the coastal oakwoods, northern birchwoods and relic pinewoods of Scotland, and as he walks he reflects on his past, including years spent as a forestry worker in Wales and Sweden. As a counterpoint, Neil also writes of the changes in the landscape, and how his hearing loss affects his relationship with nature as the calls of the birds he knows so well become silent to him.

A Wood of One’s Own

Ruth Pavey is a gardening journalist and writer based in London. After years spent living amid its urban thrum, Ruth yearned to reconnect with the British countryside and she endeavoured to realise her long-held dream of planting a wood. Touring to the West Country in the late 1990s, she found herself in the Somerset Levels. On seeing this expanse of reclaimed land under its wide, soft skies she was struck by its beauty and set-out to plant a wood, tree by tree. She bought four acres, and over the years transformed them into a haven where woodland plants and creatures could flourish an emblem of enduring life in a changeable world. A Wood of One’s Own (Duckworth) is the story of how Ruth grew to understand and then shape this derelict land into an enduring legacy a verdant landscape rich with wildlife.

Green Gold: the lost journals of John Jeffrey

Gabriel Hemery is co-founder and Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation. His first book The New Sylva (Bloomsbury) was published to wide acclaim in 2014. His latest book Green Gold (Unbound Publishing) is a fictional biographical novel based on a true story. In 1850, young Scottish tree-hunter John Jeffrey is despatched by an elite group of Victorian subscribers to seek highly-prized exotic tree species in North America. Three years after setting out, after traversing British Columbia, Oregon and California, John Jeffrey disappears without a trace. Was he lost to love, violence or the Gold Rush? The discovery of his missing journals finally reveals the truth behind an extraordinary adventure. www.unbound.com/books/green-gold


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Health and Harmony – what does the future of the environment look like to you?

posted on May 1, 2018

The deadline of 8th May is fast approaching for responses to government’s public consultation about the future for food, farming, and the environment. We urge everyone with an interest in trees, woodlands, and forestry to respond.

Defra 25-yr plan

Defra 25-yr plan

Following the launch of Defra’s 25-year plan for the environment, this public consultation is seen as critically important element in shaping government plans for the environment. Strategies, policies and funding mechanisms are being designed to account for life after Brexit and the Common Agriculture Policy. Meanwhile, Defra is increasingly focussed on ‘public money for public good’.

Anyone with an interest in trees, woodlands, forestry, and timber will soon realise that the public consultation is significantly skewed towards farming and food production. We encourage everyone with an arboricultural and silvicultural interest to have their say. Whilst you are steered towards completing an online questionnaire, which can be found at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/farming/future-of-farming, given the bias towards farming you may find it more rewarding to write a separate response outlining your views. Government has made it clear that it is prepared to receive a standalone response, or alternatively you could write a letter to append to your questionnaire response, which should be emailed to agricultureconsultation@defra.gsi.gov.uk .

If you would like to back-up some of your personal views with the latest evidence among the woodland and forestry sector, you may want to read the latest British Woodlands Survey report, which contains a wealth of facts and figures on priorities and issues that hundreds of respondents provided last year, see www.sylva.org/bws. If you are a member of Confor, Royal Forestry Society, Small Woods, Institute of Chartered Foresters, CLA, and others, if may be worth checking their membership pages for advice on key issues these bodies would you like you to raise.

Deadline for responses is 11:45am on 8th May.


Read more about the consultation, including various appendices, by visiting:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-for-food-farming-and-the-environment


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