If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to accept all cookies on the Sylva Foundation website.
However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.
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.
Oxfordshire Artweeks 2016 at the Sylva Wood Centre was a great success, attracting about 1000 visitors during the nine days, plus a day dedicated for local schools to visit.
We had many very positive comments about the future development of the site and the work of the charity. We launched two regular giving schemes connected to plans for start improving the local landscape: a community orchard cropshare scheme, and Future Forest Friends scheme.
We are grateful to all the exhibitors for their time and contributions. Also to the Woodland Trust for the Wandering Tree, which wowed visitors and introduced the Tree Charter.
We are delighted to welcome our latest tenant to the Sylva Wood Centre, particularly as it heralds a new level of collaboration with a local further education college.
Rycotewood craftsperson-in-residence Pete Burns, moving into the new unit at the Sylva Wood Centre
Rycotewood Furniture Centre, part of City of Oxford College, has appointed a Craftsperson-in-Residence. Pete Burns, who also runs his own small business Pete Burns Furniture, will be based at the Sylva Wood Centre. He will be facilitating collaboration between Sylva Foundation and the college, and will supervise students while working among the community at the Wood Centre.
Drew Smith, Learning Manager, Rycotewood Furniture Centre said:
“Rycotewood is very excited to be building a rewarding relationship with the Sylva Foundation. The initiation of the Rycotewood Craftsperson-in Residence role, and the opportunity to exhibit our students’ work at this year’s Artweeks, confirms the start of an ongoing collaboration.”
Rycotewood and Pete Burns will be exhibiting at the Sylva Wood Centre during ArtWeeks 2016, alongside other artists and craftspeople. Why not come along between 14-22 May, including both weekends. Read more
It’s just two weeks to go until we open the doors of the Sylva Wood Centre for Oxfordshire ArtWeeks.
Following the inaugural opening of the Wood Centre last year, for 2016 we will be showcasing even more tree and wood-focussed arts and craft to fascinate and delight members of the public.
We are open every day from 14-22 May from 11am-5pm, except Weds 18th when we are closed to allow school visits. Entry is free.
Address (for SatNavs navigate 100m west of result):
Sylva Wood Centre, Little Wittenham Road, Long Wittenham
All businesses we host at the Wood Centre will be exhibiting — including outdoor furniture, fine furniture, upholstery, woodworking masterclasses and more — plus we have some great invited artists including photography and art. We will also have the Tree Charter Wandering Tree onsite, where you can pose for a photo. During weekends we will have tasty food and drink for sale. You can see the full list of artists and find out more in our ArtWeeks online gallery here.
We will also be launching two exciting schemes to allow everyone to support local tree planting by getting actively involved in a Community Cropshare Orchard, and a Future Forest.
Finally, we have a few tickets remaining to our inaugural WoodWords™ literary event on the evening of Saturday 14th. Book now to avoid disappointment.
Last Saturday we hosted our first woodworking course at the Sylva Wood Centre. The course was organised on behalf of the Oxfordshire Natural Beekeeping Group.
Course tutor Matt Mercy uses locally-grown western red cedar and larch for his hives, so the course chimed perfectly with Sylva’s principles of using more sustainably-grown wood products. Matt helped 14 students to make Warré hives. These types of hives are favoured in ‘natural beekeeping’ for their high level of insulation and a ‘chimney effect’, which keeps the bees warmer than some other hive types. Also the hive boxes have shuttered window inserts which allow for non-intrusive observations of bee colony activity and health.
Oxford Natural Beekeeping Group workshop at the Sylva Wood Centre, April 2016
‘Natural beekeeping’ covers a spectrum of approaches to keeping bees which encompass bee-centric, low intervention, chemical-free methodologies. This is a holistic approach that facilitates natural bee behaviours and promotes bee health through providing healthy hive environments and allowing for natural selection of robust ‘hygienic’ gene pools.
Matt Mercy, course Tutor, said:
“I was very impressed with the facilities provided and would highly recommend the Sylva Wood Centre to other tutors”.
Paul Honigmann on behalf of the Oxfordshire Natural Beekeeping Group said:
“many, many thanks for organising our course at the Sylva Wood Centre. Everyone left happy and smiling and with something physical they’d made – and for several, the event was their first face to face meeting with other natural beekeepers – a great day for all”.