A major gift to Sylva to develop a centre for innovation in home-grown wood

posted on November 15, 2013

The Sylva Foundation has been gifted land and buildings to develop a centre for innovation in home-grown wood.

The generous gift from a private donor was given to help the charity develop its fourth object: advancing education and business enterprise in the design and production of home-grown wood products for the public benefit.

Chair of trustees Dr Nick Brown said: “this incredibly generous donation will help secure a sustainable future for the Sylva Foundation.” He continued, “Our plan is to develop the property as a hothouse for new and innovative businesses using home-grown wood. Oxfordshire has a wealth of skills and ideas and many young entrepreneurs just need a little practical support to get off the ground.” Dr Brown added that “We are very lucky to have received a generous gift to help us set up our wood innovation centre, but we will need other like-minded investors who share our vision to match-fund.”

Sylva's land and buildings in south Oxfordshire

Sylva’s land and buildings in south Oxfordshire

The property in south Oxfordshire, just one mile from our current offices, consists of 8 hectares (20 acres) of land and several large farm buildings. Many of the buildings are in various stages of dereliction, while two large agricultural buildings are in a condition that will allow them to be converted to new use, to support wood-based industry.

The trustees are now looking for partners and funders who share Sylva’s vision to promote excellence and innovation with home-grown wood by:

  • promoting the use of home-grown wood sourced from well-managed British forests to stimulate sustainable forest management and the rural economy;
  • providing skills & enterprise education in designing and making in wood to create successful home-grown wood businesses across Britain;
  • stimulate an innovative culture in the design and use of home-grown wood.

The trustees welcome expressions of interest from partners and funders. Please contact our Chief Executive Dr Gabriel Hemery for further information: development@sylva.org.uk or 01865 408016.



  1. A generous gift and fantastic intiative, bit jealous I’m not closer.
    Best wishes for success.


    Comment by Benjamin Hills — November 22, 2013 @ 11:56 am

  2. Amazing gift! We should think about the string of pearls across the country which could all be building a wood culture in different ways…

    RDPE funding might help from 2015 for some of the developments?

    Comment by Sophie Churchill — November 22, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  3. Thanks Sophie. It would great to link up, with the National Forest and others across the country. What an exciting concept!

    Yes, perhaps RDPE funding may be supportive when it kicks in again.

    Gabriel Hemery, Sylva

    Comment by Gabriel Hemery — November 22, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

  4. Hello Gabriel, Great gift – good luck. If you ever want to know how NOT to do it – I’ve plenty examples of my own and of others in UK/World of give me a call if you would like to discuss.

    Comment by Eoin Cox MBE — November 29, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

  5. What a fantastic gift far better than money. If you need any help with any building services provisions design please give me a shout and of course there will be no charge for this

    Comment by Tony Brunton — November 18, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

  6. Thank you Tony. That is very generous of you.

    Comment by Gabriel Hemery — December 3, 2014 @ 8:46 am

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