Managing Woods for Woodfuel course

posted on November 6, 2016
Ignite training programme

Ignite training programme

We are pleased to announce an Ignite training course to be held at the Sylva Wood Centre on 7th December: Managing woods for woodfuel.

Ignite Managing Woods for Woodfuel focuses on planting, managing and harvesting woodlands for use as woodfuel.  What timber is suited to what type of woodfuel (logs or chips), assessing woodlands, measuring timber, harvesting, extraction, conversion and the economic modelling of timber harvesting and woodfuel conversion are covered in this one day course.  A Lantra Awards certificate of attendance is issued on completion of the course.

The course date and venue is:

  • Wednesday 7th December
  • Sylva Wood Centre, Long Wittenham, Oxford, OX14 4QT

Courses cost £180.00 (including VAT) per person and include Lantra Awards certification fees, handbooks and catering on the day.  A 10% discount is offered to members of Woodsure, the Wood Heat Association and the Confor Woodfuel Suppliers Group.  Please contact the office for more details.

Ignite is an innovative training programme of practical seminars and interactive workshops with a focus on woodfuel. Ignite is designed for those wanting to know more about woodfuel and to equip new and existing woodfuel businesses with the skills and knowledge required to meet the increasing demand for high quality products from this growing alternative market. Compliance with the sustainability requirements for fuel supplied to systems receiving RHI payments are a key feature of all our Ignite courses.


To book, please contact Erica Spencer at RDI Associates by:

Full course details are available on the RDI website:


Comments (3)

Knife whittling workshop for educators

posted on July 8, 2016

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

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.

Please bring:

  • Your own penknife or whittling knife.


Book your place online via Charity Checkout



Comments (0)

Wood Centre abuzz with first woodworking course

posted on April 29, 2016

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

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”.

Read more on the website of the Oxfordshire Natural Beekeeping Group.

Are you a woodwork tutor? Please contact Paul Orsi if you are interested in running a woodworking course at the Sylva Wood Centre.



Comments (0)

Managing Atlantic woodland for lichens and bryophytes: free workshops for land managers

posted on November 16, 2015

Sylva is pleased to promote an important new project that will provide support for owners of Atlantic woodland.

The Atlantic woodlands of south-west England are internationally important for their lichens and bryophytes. However, these often-overlooked lower plant communities face a range of threats from habitat loss and climate change, to impacts from management practices and invasive species. Plantlife’s Make the Small Things Count Project has produced a Habitat Toolkit to provide practical management advice. These one day workshops will be hands-on, practical sessions to launch the toolkit and support land managers to:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of Atlantic woodland ecology and the requirements of lichens and bryophytes;
  • Identify priority areas for management;
  • Identify what management is appropriate in different scenarios;
  • Monitor lichens and bryophytes and assess the impacts of management.

All participants will receive a copy of the toolkit as well as Plantlife’s ID guides for key lichens and bryophytes.

Lobaria pulmonaria (c) Ray Woods-Plantlife

Lobaria pulmonaria in an Atlantic woodland. (c) Ray Woods, Plantlife


Workshop dates:

  • Tuesday 19th January 10am-3pm at Yarner Wood, East Dartmoor NNR TQ13 9LJ
  • Thursday 28th January 10am-3pm at Holford Village Hall, Quantocks AONB TA5 1SD
  • Thursday 4th February 10am-3pm at Piles Mill, Exmoor National Park TA24 8HP
  • Wednesday 10th February 10am-3pm at Burrator Discovery Centre PL20 6PE

Booking essential. Register online here at:

There is a limit of 15 people per workshop. You only need to attend one session. Please book early to avoid disappointment. For further information contact:

In January 2016 a web-link to the toolkit will be created in the myForest resources section.

Comments (1)

Introductory course in woodworking – make a beehouse

posted on June 22, 2015

Join us for our first public woodworking course at the Sylva Wood Centre – on Saturday 10th October.

For people with no or very little experience of woodwork but keen to develop practical hand skills. The course is targeted at people who want to learn woodwork skills with limited equipment.  For example a few hand tools and a portal bench such as a workmate.

What you can expect to learn
Using hand tools – marking out tools and techniques.  Using saws for different tasks; techniques for cutting in straight lines.  Using chisels safely.  Wood joint construction and assembly techniques.  Using drills and screws.  Timber technology


Learn to make a beehouse at the Sylva Wood Centre

What you can expect to achieve
By the end of the course you will have probably completed a bee house, and gained the knowledge and confidence to make similar items.  Many of the skills learnt on this course are transferable and are fundamental to good quality, productive and enjoyable woodworking.

Course Tutor
This course is run by Pete Beckley. He has wide experience in teaching, including secondary schools, FE, HE, and adult classes.  He currently teaches young adults with autism in a specialist environment.  Before embarking on a teaching path, he was employed as a bespoke furniture maker and he occasionally finds time to still make small items in his workshop near Wantage.

Course details
Course Fee:                        £75
Materials Fee:                     £5
TOTAL COST                       £80


  • Arrive                    0900
  • Start by                0930
  • Coffee break       1100
  • Lunch                   1300 (bring your own)
  • Tea break            1500
  • Depart                  1630

Book online today:

We operate on a first-come-served basis. We will contact you to request full payment, to secure your place, in advance of the course. Maximum number of delegates will be 10, minimum 6. The course may be cancelled if insufficient bookings are received.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Wood Centre

This course is administered by the Sylva Foundation, and provided by an external tutor. By providing your details, you agree that the Sylva Foundation may contact you by email with news and information about our activities, events, products and services.

Category: Courses, WOOD

Comments (1)

Join us for a day of talks to discuss the revival of a wood culture

posted on September 18, 2013

Sylva has again teamed up with the Department of Continuing Education at the University of Oxford, to hold a one day course on 30th November.

The day course is designed for anyone with an interest in trees and woodlands. England’s woodlands have provided for our needs for many centuries, leading to a strong culture of appreciating and using wood, however in recent decades their care and management has declined. Additionally our woodlands are now facing unprecedented threats from environmental change, pests and diseases.

Some have heralded 2013 as a turning point for the fortunes of English Woodlands. Join us to hear and discuss how a revival of a ‘wood culture’ in England may lead to sustainable woodlands and greater quality of life.

The New Sylva

The New Sylva – to be published by Bloomsbury in 2014

Speakers include our Chief Executive, Gabriel Hemery, who will talk about the work of John Evelyn in the 17th Century and the writing of The New Sylva book to be published in 2014. A later session by co-author and artist Sarah Simblet, from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, will follow the making of the 200 botanical, tree and forestscape drawings made especially for the book. TV presenter and journalist Robert Penn will talk of his latest project honouring the ash tree in Britain. Nick Brown from Oxford University will explain the vital role of research carried out in woodlands owned by the university. Sylva’s Alistair Yeomans will explain the role of the Good Woods project and how B&Q have injected financial support and enthusiasm into improving the condition of England’s trees and forests.

Book online

Places are limited. For more information about the course and took book your place, click here.



Comments (0)
« Newer Posts