Celebrating 350 years of John Evelyn’s Sylva

posted on March 13, 2014
Nature - In Retrospect: Sylva

Nature – In Retrospect: Sylva

Sylva CEO Gabriel Hemery has written an article celebrating the 350th anniversary of John Evelyn’s 1664 Sylva. It was published today in Nature, the international weekly journal of science.

Read the article here

Hemery, G (2014) In retrospect: Sylva. Nature, 507, 166–167, (13 March 2014), doi:10.1038/507166a

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Good Woods project film released

posted on March 27, 2013

A film about the B&Q Good Woods project has been released. It features Sarah Greenaway from B&Q and Pooran Desai from our partners BioRegional who explain the ideas behind the project and our work objectives during 2013. They visit brickmaker Jim Matthews of H. G Matthews who uses timber to fire his kiln, harvested both from his own woodland and from an increasing number of local woodlands. The film is narrated by our Media Associate, and presenter of the 2012 BBC hit series Tales from the Wild Wood, Robert Penn.

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Read more about the B&Q Good Woods project at


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Bringing local woodlands back to life in partnership with B&Q and BioRegional

posted on October 16, 2012

The Sylva Foundation will be working in partnership with B&Q, an operating company of Kingfisher PLC, and BioRegional to deliver a ground-breaking scheme to support local woodlands. Kingfisher’s CEO Ian Cheshire announced the partnership as part of the launch of their Net Positive strategy yesterday. The partners will be releasing more news on the details of the scheme in the coming weeks.

Read the Press Release by Kingfisher

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BBC4 – Tales from the WildWood & myForest – 17th October – 8.30pm

posted on October 2, 2012


Presenter – Robert Penn

Tales from the Wild Wood is a new six-part series about British woodlands broadcast on BBC4 this autumn. Presented by writer and wannabe woodsman Rob Penn, the series explores the great British love affair with trees.

A year ago, Rob took over the management of Strawberry Cottage Wood, 50 acres of abandoned broadleaf woodland at the entrance to the Llanthony Valley, in the beautiful Black Mountains, south east Wales.

Through managing the wood, the series explores the issues affecting British woodlands today: is man good for woods? Can woodlands pay? How can we value them in non-economic ways? Will our woods survive into the future?

Each episode looks at the day to day management of a woodland – keeping pigs, trapping squirrels, coppicing, horse logging, the economics of our native timber industry, planting trees, future proofing woods, making and selling charcoal, improving biodiversity and encouraging public access. Using fascinating archive, the series also examines our historical relationship with woodlands, recalling the time when the woods employed thousands of people and provided the backbone of rural industries, industries that sustained the countryside over centuries.

Alistair from Sylva demonstrates how myForest can help Robert market woodland products to local forestry businesses.

Rob was an amateur when he took over Strawberry Cottage Wood. To help him, he called upon a delightful army of expert woodsmen and eccentric foresters – Wyndham Morgan helped Rob make the wood safe, Iliff Simey explained the virtues of ‘natural forest practice’, Pablo Sanchez helped fell the big ash trees, Kate Morgan brought an 850-kilo Ardennes horse in to extract timber and Pooran Desai OBE advised on the nuances of making and selling British charcoal.

To understand some of the issues affecting our woodlands, Rob periodically left Strawberry Cottage Wood and journeyed round Britain, to Westonbirt to see a successful coppice restoration project, to Carmarthenshire to scrutinize a new type of wood fuel, to Whitney

Robert will be speaking at the British Woodlands 2012 Conference at the University of Oxford on the 11th December

Sawmill and even to a cricket stadium, to see ash stumps from his wood used in an international match. The British people have an innate affinity with trees: they touch us deeply in ways we don’t completely understand.

Our woodlands are the least valued, sustainable resource we have left – yet we have abandoned over 500,000 acres of them. Tales from the Wild Wood is a gentle call to arms – to manage more of our woods, and manage them better. Above all, it is a celebration of a fundamental and very beautiful part of the British landscape.

Tales from the Wild Wood is directed and produced by Will Lorimer for Indus Films (The Fisherman’s Apprentice with Monty Halls, Arctic with Bruce Parry, Amazon).

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Telling tale of how tree lives on

posted on May 8, 2012

One of our OneOak Makers, Philip Koomen, was featured last week in an excellent article in The Oxford Times. Also, our CEO Dr Gabriel Hemery gave a talk at Philip’s workshops last weekend as part of Oxfordshire Artweeks.

You can read The Oxford Times article here

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OneOak interviews on BBC Radio

posted on June 24, 2011
BBC Radio Oxford

Wesley Smith of BBC Radio Oxford visited the OneOak exhibition at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden (OBG) earlier this week.  He enjoyed looking around the exhibits and talking with our CEO Gabriel Hemery and volunteer curator Jane King.  He also spoke with Emma Williams from OBG.

You can listen to the programme this Sunday 26th June between 1300-1330.  We understand that there will be two separate features. If you miss it or live outside of the area you can listen again online for one week only.

The OneOak exhibition is open until 4th July at OBG.  After a short break, during which we are holding a major exhibition at Art in Action (more of which soon), the exhibition returns to OBG for the whole of August.

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BBC Radio Oxford interview

posted on May 8, 2011

Sylva’s CEO Dr Gabriel Hemery was interviewed on BBC Radio Oxford earlier today.

He talked about our latest initiative TreeWatch and our OneOak exhibition currently open at Oxford Botanic Garden.

Listen again (from 1 hour 16 minutes) for one week only.

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CEO interview on BBC Radio this Sunday

posted on February 18, 2011

Sylva’s CEO, Dr Gabriel Hemery, will be interviewed on BBC Radio Oxford this Sunday 20th February.  The major topic is likely to be the Government’s recent withdrawl of their proposals to sell the public forest estate in England.

Category: Media Coverage

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CEO interview on German world radio

posted on

Our CEO, Dr Gabriel Hemery, was interviewed recently for the Living Planet programme on German world radio Deutsche Welle.  The topic for the interview was the UK Government’s proposals, which have now been dropped, to dispose of the public forest estate in England.

Listen to the Living Planet programme.

Category: Media Coverage

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Oxfordshire’s children celebrate life of a mighty oak

posted on February 1, 2011

The planting of a new oak forest in our OneOak project was featured in the Oxford Mail, on Tuesday 1st February. Oxfordshire’s children celebrate life of a mighty oak.

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