Kubota UK supports the Sylva Future Forest

posted on April 18, 2017

Kubota UK, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of agricultural, construction, groundcare equipment and industrial engines, has teamed up with Sylva Foundation, an environmental charity, to support the local community and its surrounding landscape.

Kubota launched its partnership with the charity by taking part in an ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’ event at the Sylva Foundation Wood Centre, situated in the South Oxfordshire countryside.

Kubota employees planted 25 trees throughout a 10×10 metre plot as part of the Sylva Foundation Future Forest scheme, which allows people to build a lasting affinity with a growing woodland by sponsoring their own plot. The new initiative spans over three hectares and contains 325 individual plots that can be sponsored by individuals, families, schools and businesses.

Speaking of the partnership, Candice Dillingham, HR Manager for Kubota UK, said: “Working with the Sylva Foundation is such a natural and organic fit for Kubota as the charity’s commitment to the safekeeping of the natural environment and creating a sustainable future is very similar to our own.”

“The Earth, Wind and Fire event was a fantastic experience for all of the Kubota employees involved. As we are one of the biggest employers in Thame, we are dedicated to giving back to the local community, so being able to support and develop the region’s natural landscape allows us to do just that.”

Throughout the day Kubota employees planted a range of trees, including Japanese red cedar and wild cherry to name but a few. Employees were also offered the opportunity to explore the 14 operational wood-based businesses located on site, allowing them to meet with different experts and craftsmen. Here they could see how versatile the various types of wood are and how their applications can vary exponentially.

Gabriel Hemery, Chief Executive of Sylva Foundation, said:

“At Sylva we help people and trees grow together. Being able to work alongside Kubota UK to help fulfil this mission has already been a great experience for all involved. The newly-planted trees demonstrate the beginning of a working countryside that will help to connect local people to the natural environment around them.

“As both organisations have so much in common, it’s fantastic that we can work together to support good countryside management throughout Oxfordshire.”

The event marks just the beginning of the partnership between Kubota UK and the Sylva Foundation, with Kubota employees being able to tend to their trees and watch them develop over the coming years.

To find out more about Kubota and its market-leading range of agricultural, construction and groundcare machinery solutions, visit and to find out more about the Sylva Foundation and its range of sponsorship opportunities, visit

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Businesses back the Future Forest

posted on February 9, 2017
Forest Holidays planting team Feb2017

Forest Holidays planting team Feb2017

This week we’ve welcomed more business Forest Friends to plant their trees and learn more about the work of Sylva Foundation. We’re looking forward to meeting several more over the coming weeks. If you are looking for an usual team building event for staff and a lasting legacy in sponsoring a plot of 25 trees in the name of your business, we have a few opportunities left. If you’re interested we recommend you don’t delay, but read more about our Earth, Wind & Fire event.

Our thanks to Forest Holidays and Woodworking Masterclasses for their fantastic support (and tree planting efforts!).

A business sponsor helps plant another tree. Photo Rokesmith.

A business sponsor helps plant another tree. Photo Rokesmith.


Woodworking Masterclass Planting Team, February 2017

Woodworking Masterclasses Planting Team, February 2017

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Earth, Wind & Fire business sponsorship offer

posted on January 10, 2017
Earth, Wind & Fire flier

Earth, Wind & Fire flier

Do you run a business? Get the new year off to a great start with a unique, outdoor team-building event that’s good for business and the environment.

Sylva has a unique offer that could help you and your team shake off the Christmas excesses and provide your business with an original opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the local community and to environmental sustainability.We’re planting a new woodland at the Sylva Wood Centre in Long Wittenham – just a few miles from Oxford, Wallingford and Didcot. The new Sylva Future Forest is a unique project – a ‘demonstration woodland’ that will help discover which tree species will thrive in the future.

Your business can be one of just 20 sponsors to have a woodland plot dedicated in its name. Each sponsoring company can bring a group of up to 25 people, complete with wellies and gloves, for a truly memorable outdoor team experience. They can choose which trees to plant (subject to availability) and help plant them.  This authentic Earth, Wind & Fire event will end with teacakes, marshmallows and hot drinks around an open fire. You can find more details on the flyer.

Your company will receive an exclusive dedication certificate and hand-carved ‘leaf key’ to your chosen plot. We’ll provide you with a team photograph to use in PR and social media as you wish. You’ll also have an open invitation for team members and their families to visit the Future Forest whenever they wish. How many other team building events offer such a lasting investment in your team, their families and your business?

Local business North Oxfordshire Property Services and national leisure company Forest Holidays are already on board. Before their event NOPS Director Robin Swailes said, “We’re really proud to be supporting the work going on at the Sylva Wood Centre – both the new Future Forest, the wood-based businesses and the Start-Up benches for young people just getting their career in design and woodworking off the ground. We’ve never had a team-building event outdoors, so we are looking forward to planting trees and sitting round an open fire and really getting close to nature!”

If your last team-building event involved death by Powerpoint, or creating the Eiffel Tower out of Lego, consider this refreshing alternative and help to create a living legacy for your team, their families and your business. To arrange business sponsorship, choose a plot and arrange your Earth, Wind & Fire event please contact or call 01865 408018

Download the flier

Our thanks to North Oxfordshire Property Services for the great photos

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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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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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Bags of Help for Future Forest Education

posted on September 13, 2016
Tesco Bags of Help

Tesco Bags of Help

Sylva Foundation calls for votes to bag a share of £12.5million carrier bag charge fund. The charity is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

The supermarket has teamed up with Groundwork on its Bags of Help initiative, which sees grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to environmental and greenspace projects.

Three groups in each of Tesco’s 416 regions have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and this month shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant. Sylva Foundation has been shortlisted for its local region.

Big Future Forest Plot Project

Big Future Forest Plot Project

The Big Future Forest Plot Project will see over 300 children from 10 primary schools local to the Sylva Wood Centre in Long Wittenham choose and plant trees on 10 plots this winter. As the Future Forest grows schools will be offered the opportunity to use it to Forest School sessions and children and their families can visit ‘their’ school plot to see its progress and enjoy the new green space.

Dr Gabriel Hemery, CEO of Sylva Foundation explains:

“We’re so delighted to be chosen as one of the region’s projects to be funded by TESCO Bags of Help. The grant means hundreds of local children can get involved in creating and learning from this wonderful new sustainable woodland. On planting days they’ll get their hands dirty, out in the fresh air, choosing and planting many different species of new trees. And they can come back with their schools and their families for many years to come to see how the Forest grows. This is a project with a long legacy.”

Shoppers visiting Abingdon Extra, Didcot Superstore and Faringdon Metro will be able to vote for Sylva’s project: voting is open from 31st October to 13th November. Customers can cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

This is the second round of the initiative: the first round saw approximately eight million shoppers vote in stores up and down the country earlier this year.

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco, said:

“The first round of the Bags of Help initiative was a fantastic success.

“In total 1,170 community groups were awarded £8,000, £10,000 or £12,000 – that’s a massive £11.7 million being invested into local projects.

“We are already seeing some great results from groups transforming their own environmental and greenspace areas.

“We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for round two. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see them come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s national Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said:

“Bags of Help is giving our communities both the funding and the support to create better, healthier and greener places for everyone to enjoy.

“We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between. They’re all fantastic projects that make a real difference in our neighbourhoods.

“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

Read the full Press Release



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New community orchard funded

posted on June 22, 2016
People's Postcode Lottery

People’s Postcode Lottery

We are delighted that funding has been awarded to help us create a new community orchard on our land at the Sylva Wood Centre.

The Wittenhams Community Orchard will be planted this coming Winter at the heart of the village of Long Wittenham, near to the church and primary school. It will serve as a new entrance to our land for the local community, with free access provided all year round.

Three separate trusts have provided funding that will support the creation of the orchard — including the trees, all-ability path and signage — while we hope to attract a number of ‘cropsharers’ to invest to help ongoing maintenance and in return receive an equal share in the products of the orchard. Fifty apple trees will be planted, alongside a few pear, cherry, walnut, medlar, quince and filberts.

A major grant from the Postcode Local Trust was received, funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Our project received over £14,000 from the Trust to establish the orchard.  Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery can find out more how, by playing the lottery, they can support more charities.


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Future Forest Friend scheme launched

posted on May 25, 2016

We are excited to launch a new scheme that will not only help support our charitable work through regular giving, but allow supporters to build a lasting affinity with a growing woodland by sponsoring their own plot: the Future Forest Friend scheme.

Future Forest at the Sylva Wood Centre

Future Forest at the Sylva Wood Centre

The new woodland has an original theme and aims to be a demonstration site. When we plant a tree we hope it will live and be healthy for many years – perhaps even beyond our lifetime. But, with climate change, pests and diseases threatening our woodlands, which tree species are best equipped to thrive and stand the test of time? We hope that the “Future Forest” at our Wood Centre in Oxfordshire will help find some of the answers and demonstrate best practice.

The new three hectare woodland will include a range of species in three categories:

  • Natives: old and bold (e.g. birch, oak, field maple, beech, London Lime) from local sources
  • Natives with new genes: from sources matched to our future climate (2-5 degrees South)
  • Exotics: “outlandish, rare, and choice” – trees from far away that may do better than the Natives in future (e.g. tulip tree, Japanese red cedar, deodar, paulownia, Italian alder)

Coppice areas will also be planted including hazel, sweet chestnut and robinia. These shorter trees will produce wood that can be used within five years for products such as walking sticks, hurdles, pea sticks, fencing stakes.

How you can I get involved?

By becoming a Future Forest Friend. Your support will help us plant and maintain one of 325 plots – each measuring 10 × 10m each and containing 25 trees. And you can choose the trees in your sponsored plot, help plant them, and then access the woodland whenever you wish.

You can support the Future Forest by:

  • donating £5/month for three years
  • dedicating a plot as a wonderful unique gift for a new baby, a wedding, a special birthday, a business milestone or CSR project or in memory of a loved one – £180 one-off payment.

Find out more about the scheme and how to become a Future Forest Friend


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WoodWords™ 2016

posted on May 19, 2016

The very first WoodWords™ event at Sylva Wood Centre last weekend was sold out! 150 people were inspired by our enthralling speakers, all of whom passionate advocates for trees, woodland and the process of making in wood.

The speakers

We owe a huge thank you to authors Richard Fortey, Gabriel Hemery, Rob Penn and Paul Sellers for so generously supporting this fundraising event.

Gabriel Hemery
The New Sylva

Paul Sellers
Essential Woodworking Hand Tools

Richard Fortey
The Wood For The Trees

Rob Penn
The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees


With thanks to Gabriel Hemery, Jezella Piggot, Paul Sellers, and Rokesmith for the photographs.

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