The Future of Forestry was this week’s theme on the BBC Radio 4 flagship environmental programme Costing the Earth.
BBC Costing The Earth
The main question posed was whether Britain could revive its forestry and provide for more of its own needs.
BBC reporter Tom Heap came to interview Sylva’s CEO Gabriel Hemery at the Sylva Wood Centre. He also spoke with one of our resident furniture makers Jan Waterston, our current craftsperson-in-residence in partnership with Rycotewood Furniture Centre. The programme also featured Stuart Goodall from Confor, and Matt Larsen-Daw from the Woodland Trust.
Stunning fine furniture
Bespoke items for your home and garden
Live demonstrations and workshops
Children’s area and activities
Food and drink (weekends only)
Enjoy the new Future Forest and Community Orchard
Meet the beekeepers And more . . .
If you would like to print a poster to help us advertise the event please download it here. Thank you!
Buy your loved one a present with a difference this Christmas, or treat yourself. Book a one-day course to learn how to work with green wood using simple hand tools, and make a ‘basic’ three-legged stool.
Greenwood workshop 25th February 2017
Course date: 25th February, 9.30am – 4.00pm
Learn about different tree species and understand why different woods are suitable for different tasks, how growth effects its use, and look at wood suitable for cleaving.
Learn how to cleave wood.
Learn basic axe work to rough shape the stool legs.
Use a shaving horse, drawknives and spokeshaves to shape three stool legs.
Shape a simple stool seat using planes, inshaves, travishers and spokeshaves.
There will also be a pole lathe for participants to ‘have a go’ at turning as time allows.
As part of the continuing development at the Sylva Wood Centre we have opened a new facility to allow wood-based craftpersons to rent bench space by the week.
Called Start-Up, this flexible ‘hot-benching’ system is aimed at people of all ages who would like to try their hand at setting up a wood business without the burden of taking on a long-term lease.
Hot-benchers have access to a shared machinery workshop which means they don’t have to spend large amounts of capital to get started. Machinery includes a state-of-art Martin panel saw, plus planer, thicknesser, and bandsaw.
Machinery Workshop at the Sylva Wood Centre
Users will join a vibrant and friendly community of wood craftspeople and benefit from companionship, informal advice, inspiration over shared cake and coffee, and opportunities to take part in our growing programme of public exhibitions.
There are currently five benches available to rent by the week. If you want to find out more and to discuss terms and booking, please email email@example.com or call 01865 408018.
The UK currently consumes more than 0.5M cubic metres of hardwood timber every year but less than 10% of this is grown in the UK. Yet sustainable home-grown timber production could be doubled by 2050, reducing timber imports by 50,000 cubic metres. This would underpin investment in innovation both in the utilisation of our woodlands and their management. These are the dramatic findings of the Grown in Britain WoodStock report published this month.
Some opportunities for UK hardwood
An increase of 20% in hardwood timber production is achievable in the short-term, reaching 100% increase by 2050.
For the next 40 years 400,000 cubic meters could be brought to market sustainably, without reducing the overall growing stock in our woodlands.
If timber specifications are altered, to reduce the specification of oak in favour of other species, and with improvements to infrastructure, then there is significant scope to increase production eight fold over the long term.
Timber imports could be reduced by approximately 50,000 cubic metres per year.
A gap in the supply chain was identified, similar to consolidation yards run by timber exporters in other countries, supplying licensed timber direct to wholesalers. Grown in Britain WoodStock could fulfill a role in providing this licensed timber at a competitive price.
An online timber buying platform could help organise stocks and help with marketing, possibly linking right back to woodland owners who have access to their own processing facilities.
The research project consortium was led by Grown in Britain and included Sylva Foundation alongside BRE, English Woods Timber, Forestry Commission, Sustainable Construction Solutions, and Wilmott Dixon. Partial funding was provided by Innovate UK.
A design for a cutting-edge timber structure, inspired by nature, scooped the honours and the £3,000 top prize in TRADA’s National Student Design Competition, which this year was hosted by Sylva Foundation at the Sylva Wood Centre.
This year’s competition – dubbed Arboreal – challenged student designers to explore the science of timber as a modern construction material for a design for an exciting Sylva Wood Centre run by tree and forestry charity, Sylva Foundation.
Sylva Foundation Chief Executive Gabriel Hemery said:
“We are very grateful indeed to TRADA, sponsors and judges for making this competition such a huge success. It was exciting to the competition entrants that the brief was a real one. Now we would like to move forward and consider how we could build a structure like this at the Sylva Wood Centre. We would welcome any expressions of interest.”
The winning design – dubbed The Leaf – was created by students Laila Alawneh and Yliana Cristova from Aalborg University in Denmark. The judges were unanimous in their choice of the winner, which blended the performance characteristics of timber with a highly decorative aesthetic.
Laila and Yliana beat off strong competition from students from the University of Coventry, Wolverhampton University, University of Strathclyde and Edinburgh University, although the judges were so impressed by the standard of entries this year they awarded not one but two ‘Highly Commended’ prizes. University of Coventry’s Piotr A Bieluga and Adam Cross, from Wolverhampton University, both picked up Highly Commended awards, while students from Edinburgh University won Best Use of British Timber for their entry, entitled Group 9.
The design brief included creating a new two-storey timber structure to serve as a multi use building, housing offices, seminar space, exhibition space and a field laboratory. In the new design students had to reflect the ethos and vision of the charity. At the same time, they needed to incorporate cutting-edge materials and technologies throughout to act as inspiration to visitors and users and create a sustainable building both with the materials they propose and long term usage of the new building.
Charlie Law, from Sustainable Construction Solutions Ltd, was one of the judges:
“The winning entry was one of the most striking entries, using CLT (or Glulam) to produce a church-like structure that really caught the judges’ eye.”
“The detail the students had gone into to find the best orientation for the natural lighting of the exhibition space, and modelling of various forms to ensure it would work structurally, was admirable. A very well worked entry, and a unanimous winner from the judges.”
Commenting on their winning entry, Laila and Yliana said:
“The most challenging part [of the brief] was to provide a cutting-edge timber structure that was not only high in performance but also decorative. We wanted to take the design to a height where it would challenge the plasticity of timber with a creative design solution that shows the beauty of natural forms.”
“We clearly understood that this structure was required to stand out as a showcase of how flexible it is to use timber in construction, one that would break the traditional conception most people have of buildings made of timber.”
We are pleased to offer a half-day workshop designed for Forest School Leaders and any educators interested to learn new skills with wood. It will be run by Simon Clements, Wood Carver based at the Sylva Wood Centre, supported by the Sylva Foundation.
knife whittling workshop
During this workshop you will:
Learn to make your own whittling knife with a wooden handle (blades provided)
Learn how to care for knives including sharpening
About the tutor:
Simon Clements is a Wood Carver based at the Sylva Wood Centre, and is keen support Forest School Leaders in developing their skills with wood. He trained as a potter and came to carving via boat building and has a background in education.
The Sylva Wood Centre, Long Wittenham, OX14 4QT (see map)
The course will be run on:
Thursday 6th October 4pm – 7pm
£30.00 per person
This cost includes all materials, tuition and tea/coffee.
TRADA has announced the shortlist for this year’s National Student Design Competition, which challenges student designers to explore the science of timber as a modern construction material for a design for the Sylva Wood Centre.
Students from University of Coventry, Wolverhampton University, University of Strathclyde, Edinburgh University and Aalborg University in Denmark will be presenting their designs in the final round of judging at Sylva Foundation on July 5.
The design brief included creating a new two-storey timber structure to serve as a multi use building, housing offices, seminar space, exhibition space and a field laboratory.
In the new design students had to reflect the ethos and vision of the charity. At the same time, they needed to incorporate cutting-edge materials and technologies throughout to act as inspiration to visitors and users and create a sustainable building both with the materials they propose and long term usage of the new building.
The judges were impressed with the quality and breadth of this year’s entries. There were plenty of positive comments about the structural concepts presented, use of materials and quality of the models.
Presentations by those shortlisted, final judging and the Awards ceremony for this year’s competition takes place at the Sylva Wood Centre, Oxfordshire on Tuesday 5th July.