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Become a Patron of the House of Wessex

posted on October 9, 2018

The House of Wessex is a unique reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon house of significant importance in English history. The faithful reconstruction of the building, working with dozens of volunteers, and an associated programme of learning, is part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Sylva Foundation needs help to raise funds to realise the project’s full potential, and establish a legacy fund.

House of Wessex banner

House of Wessex banner

BRONZE  *  £250

Your donation will help us create and manage a unique historical reconstructed building — thank you.

  • We will write to you personally to thank you, recognising your significant contribution.
  • A personalised certificate recognising your contribution.
  • Your name will be appear in an online Patrons Board.

SILVER  * £500

Your support will mean we can build a better future for the House of Wessex, and our education programme.

Everything in BRONZE, plus . . .

  • Your name will be displayed in the building on a Patrons Board.
  • An invitation to a unique evening of Anglo-Saxon activities.

GOLD  *  £1,000

In recognition of your significant support, we offer some very special perks.

Everything in BRONZE and SILVER, plus . . .

  • Your name hand-carved in a beam or post. You can even learn to carve some of your own letters with a master craftsperson.
  • Invitation to a VIP opening of the building in autumn 2019.
  • Limited edition print of the building and reconstructed scene by a leading archaeological reconstruction artist.

 

Every pound we raise will go directly to the House of Wessex project. Thank you.

 

Find out more and pledge your support via Charity Checkout

Find out more and pledge your support via Charity Checkout

If you would prefer to talk with someone in the Sylva team, please call 01865 408018.

 


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WoodWords 2018

posted on June 1, 2018

We hosted a fabulous WoodWords 2018 event at the Sylva Wood Centre last week. Thanks to the generosity of the authors, who freely gave their time to support the event, and the one hundred or so ticket purchasers, we raised some very welcome income for the charity.

WoodWords2018 authors. Photo Tuc Ahmad

WoodWords 2018 authors (left to right): Gabriel Hemery, Ruth Pavey, Jon Drori, Fiona Stafford, and Neil Ansell. Photo Tuc Ahmad.

The event took place on 24th May, set among the ongoing Artweeks exhibition so guests were able to tour the workshops and speak with our resident craftspeople during the intervals.

 


About the Authors and their books

Around the World in 80 Trees

Jonathan Drori, a former documentary film maker and executive producer at the BBC, has been a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Woodland Trust. He is on the board of the Eden Project and is an Ambassador for the WWF. Around the World in 80 Trees (Laurence King) celebrates trees as one of humanity’s most constant and most varied companions. They offer us sanctuary and inspiration and of course the raw materials for our lives. Jon uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human endeavour, from the romantic to the regrettable.

The Long, Long Life of Trees

Fiona Stafford is a professor of English language and literature at the University of Oxford. In 2014 she wrote the text for the Charter of Trees, Woods, and People. Fiona’s book The Long, Long Life of Trees (Yale University Press) is a lyrical tribute to the diversity of trees, their physical beauty, their special characteristics and uses, and their ever-evolving meanings. Each of its 17 chapters is dedicated to a common British tree, drawing on folklore, natural science, literature, cultural history, European art, ancient mythology and modern medicine to illuminate each trees’ central place in western civilisation. The book was formerly Sunday Times Nature Book of the Year.

The Last Wilderness

Neil Ansell is a writer and award-winning television journalist. The Last Wilderness: a journey into silence (Tinder Press) explores the experience of being in nature in the context of a series of walks that Neil takes into the most remote parts of Britain. He illustrates the impact of being alone as part of nature, rather than outside it. In the book, Neil explores the coastal oakwoods, northern birchwoods and relic pinewoods of Scotland, and as he walks he reflects on his past, including years spent as a forestry worker in Wales and Sweden. As a counterpoint, Neil also writes of the changes in the landscape, and how his hearing loss affects his relationship with nature as the calls of the birds he knows so well become silent to him.

A Wood of One’s Own

Ruth Pavey is a gardening journalist and writer based in London. After years spent living amid its urban thrum, Ruth yearned to reconnect with the British countryside and she endeavoured to realise her long-held dream of planting a wood. Touring to the West Country in the late 1990s, she found herself in the Somerset Levels. On seeing this expanse of reclaimed land under its wide, soft skies she was struck by its beauty and set-out to plant a wood, tree by tree. She bought four acres, and over the years transformed them into a haven where woodland plants and creatures could flourish an emblem of enduring life in a changeable world. A Wood of One’s Own (Duckworth) is the story of how Ruth grew to understand and then shape this derelict land into an enduring legacy a verdant landscape rich with wildlife.

Green Gold: the lost journals of John Jeffrey

Gabriel Hemery is co-founder and Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation. His first book The New Sylva (Bloomsbury) was published to wide acclaim in 2014. His latest book Green Gold (Unbound Publishing) is a fictional biographical novel based on a true story. In 1850, young Scottish tree-hunter John Jeffrey is despatched by an elite group of Victorian subscribers to seek highly-prized exotic tree species in North America. Three years after setting out, after traversing British Columbia, Oregon and California, John Jeffrey disappears without a trace. Was he lost to love, violence or the Gold Rush? The discovery of his missing journals finally reveals the truth behind an extraordinary adventure. www.unbound.com/books/green-gold


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A journey into silence, alone with nature

posted on April 28, 2018
The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell

The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell

BBC Countryfile described Neil Ansell’ s book, The Last Wilderness, as:

‘A gem of a book, an extraordinary tale. Ansell’s rich prose will transport you to a real life Narnian world that C.S.Lewis would have envied. Find your deepest, most comfortable armchair and get away from it all’.

WoodWords 2018

WoodWords 2018

Neil Ansell is one of five top environmental authors talking about their books at our unique WoodWords 2018 event.

Tickets limited and selling fast – buy yours now!

24th May: 6.30pm at the Sylva Wood Centre (Ox14 4QT)


Neil Ansell is a writer and award-winning television journalist. The Last Wilderness: a journey into silence (Tinder Press) explores the experience of being in nature in the context of a series of walks that Neil takes into the most remote parts of Britain. He illustrates the impact of being alone as part of nature, rather than outside it. In the book, Neil explores the coastal oakwoods, northern birchwoods and relic pinewoods of Scotland, and as he walks he reflects on his past, including years spent as a forestry worker in Wales and Sweden. As a counterpoint, Neil also writes of the changes in the landscape, and how his hearing loss affects his relationship with nature as the calls of the birds he knows so well become silent to him.


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Artweeks at the Sylva Wood Centre

posted on April 26, 2018

We’re looking forward to opening the doors to the Sylva Wood Centre during Oxfordshire Artweeks. This year we will be open from 10am to 5pm on the weekends of 19/20 and 26/27/28 May.

Artweeks at the Sylva Wood Centre

Artweeks at the Sylva Wood Centre

The Sylva Wood Centre in Long Wittenham is a community of small businesses and woodworking professionals who design or make in wood and related crafts, run by Sylva Foundation. Meet the resident designers alongside invited craftspeople, and marvel at the fine furniture, unique woodcarving, traditional wooden boats, small pieces in beautiful woods, original soft furnishing, outdoor furniture, screens and buildings in oak, prints and pieces made in mixed media combining wood, metal, resin and textiles.

Meet the makers, tour their workshops, buy gift vouchers for craft courses, and buy or commission individual pieces. Watch live demonstrations during the day, and enjoy the pop-up HardWood Café. Visitors can take a stroll outside in the developing Future Forest and Community Orchard.

Oxfordshire ArtWeeks

Oxfordshire ArtWeeks

For more details about our group exhibition, and to explore a veritable colony of other wonderful galleries nearby in Oxfordshire, visit Oxfordshire Artweeks.


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Trees play a role in every part of human life

posted on April 25, 2018
Around the World in 80 Trees

Around the World in 80 Trees

In his latest book Around the World in 80 Trees Jonathan Drori CBE — trustee of the Eden Project, Ambassador for the WWF and former trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew — uses plant science to illustrate how trees play a role in every part of human life; from the romantic to the regrettable to the downright ridiculous.

WoodWords 2018

WoodWords 2018

Jonathan Drori is one of five top environmental authors talking about their books at our unique WoodWords 2018 event.

Tickets limited and selling fast – buy yours now!

24th May: 6.30pm at the Sylva Wood Centre (Ox14 4QT)


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Shapes of Trees – an evening of music

posted on November 9, 2017

Tickets are still available for The Shapes of Trees event – an evening of music at the Sylva Wood Centre on 16th November. The event is part of our Winter Festival of Trees, Woods and People which is promoting the launch of the ‘Tree Charter’.

Event profits to Sylva Foundation. Read more and purchase tickets

Shapes of Trees - 16th November 2017

Shapes of Trees – 16th November 2017

WOOD FESTIVAL & SYLVA FOUNDATION present

an evening of music inspired by Trees, Woods and People

featuring

DANNY GEORGE WILSON

JACKIE OATES & MEGAN HENWOOD

ROBIN BENNETT (The Dreaming Spires, Wood Festival)

with readings from FIONA STAFFORD

and photography by GABRIEL HEMERY

THURSDAY 16th November, 7.30-11pm

at the Sylva WOOD centre, Little Wittenham

Tickets £12.50 advance.

Licensed bar.

Event profits to the Sylva Foundation.

Read more and purchase tickets


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Sylva Foundation joins with The Goodwill Partnership

posted on October 24, 2017

Trees and woodland take a lifetime to mature so changes we make now to the way we plant and look after them will benefit both current and future generations. That’s why leaving a gift in your Will to a charity like Sylva Foundation could be a wonderful, enduring demonstration of your commitment to the environment, wildlife and sustainable living for generations to come.

Our first legacy gift is currently helping us offer workshop and educational facilities at the Sylva Wood Centre in Oxfordshire so people of ages can develop woodworking skills. As a small charity each new legacy would make a transformational difference to our education, science and forestry project work – helping us meet our objectives; to bring 5% of privately owned woodland into management by 2021, to train 2,000 more Forest School leaders to get children out into the woods to learn, and involving over 3,000 citizen scientists in research to influence forestry policy and practice.

Making a Will allows you to decide how your assets are divided among your family, friends, and causes that are important to you. Surprisingly, two-thirds of the adult population in the UK don’t have a valid Will, leaving the courts to take these decisions on their behalf. There are several ways to make your Will:

  • Talk to your own solicitor
  • Find a local solicitor through The Law Society
  • Make a simple, fixed-priced Will in the comfort of your own home through The Goodwill Partnership which works with a number of national charities.
The Goodwill Partnership

The Goodwill Partnership

Sylva Foundation has recently joined with The Goodwill Partnership – the largest distributor of home-visit solicitor-provided Wills in England and Wales, to offer a Will writing service that lets Sylva Foundation supporters and volunteers leave a legacy gift if they wish. In return, The Goodwill Partnership will provide Sylva Foundation with a monthly report of legacy donations made, as well as the monetary value of the donation (if permitted by the donor).

The Goodwill Partnership guarantees the lowest price for a home-visit Will, which is checked and provided direct to you by a panel firm of solicitors who can also provide legal advice and storage of your signed Will. A simple single Will is £98 + VAT*, and a partner Will is £96 + VAT – no matter where you live with no hidden costs or attempts to upsell other products.

The process of making your Will is made extremely simple. You do not need to visit a solicitor; a professional trained counsellor comes to your home free of charge to take your instructions at a time convenient to you, whether daytime, evenings or weekends. You can find out more and make an appointment online or telephone them directly on 0844 669 6148.

If you are considering making a legacy gift to Sylva Foundation and you’d like to talk to us before doing so please contact Dr Gabriel Hemery directly on legacy@sylva.org.uk.

Find out more about The Goodwill Partnership


*There may be additional charges for discretionary trusts or complex wills.

 

 


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Sylva Foundation launches Roots Fund

posted on August 22, 2017

All of us who work with and care about trees and woodlands need to work together — intelligently and sustainably — to support these vital resources. That’s why we’ve launched the Sylva Foundation Roots Fund.

Sylva Foundation Roots Fund

Sylva Foundation Roots Fund

Largely invisible, underground and spreading way beyond the canopy of the tree itself, they work out of the limelight. Sylva Foundation does the same. We collect vital evidence about what’s actually happening in our woods and share it collaboratively with around 50 other forestry and environmental organisations to support their work. We develop and provide unique, online tools that thousands of woodland managers and outdoor educators use to do their work more effectively, and we provide bespoke facilities for designer-makers to build new wood-based, rural businesses.

We urgently need people like you, who share our belief in the potential of British woodlands and support our often unusual and creative approach, to invest in our unique work and make that potential a reality.

The Sylva Foundation Roots Fund will provide a vital foundation of regular support to underpin our unique work:

  • £10/month could help us manage our inspiring Education work. Together we can train over 2,000 teachers and educators to work with 6,000 young people per year – learning to appreciate and care for woodland
  • £25/month could make sure our regular British Woodland Survey continues to explore what’s really happening in our woodlands and what woodland managers need to care for them better
  • £50/month would help fund the experts who create and maintain our unique myForest service. Together, through myforest, we can help bring 110,000ha (or 5%) of woodland in the UK into active management by 2021 (that’s equivalent to 110,000 international rugby pitches!)
  • £100/month would fund essential project management as we develop the Sylva Wood Centre – more people designing, innovating and making in home-grown wood.

Any donation, whatever the size, is extremely valuable. Your contribution will support work that, like the roots of trees, is far-reaching and resourceful, quietly underpinning sustainable forestry in Britain.

Please consider making a regular commitment to the Sylva Foundation Roots Fund today.

 

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Future Forest springs to life

posted on April 23, 2017

From a bare field in January to a new growing woodland in April boasting 7,500 trees and a wildflower meadow, we reflect on four amazing months of activity with our new Forest Friends.

To the south of the Sylva Wood Centre lay a small arable field. It was too small to manage efficiently with modern farm machinery and was a relatively sterile landscape with no public access. With our passion for trees it shouted out to be planted! As we write, the first trees are coming into leaf and the wildflowers are peeping up between the grasses, and a network of paths have been created through the woodland. None of this would have been possible without help from our funders, volunteers, donors and of course all our new Forest Friends

With support from four main funders we were able to turn our vision for a demonstration ‘Future Forest’ into reality. We are very grateful to:

  • Woodland Trust
  • Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE2) with funding from Grundon Waste Management
  • D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust
  • Finnis Scott Foundation

The forest was divided into more than 250 plots of 25 trees, each of which was made available to sponsor by our new Forest Friends. Most of these were individuals and families who wanted to make a difference to the environment and create a lasting legacy to be passed down through generations.

Some plots were sponsored by corporate partners and we were very grateful for support from Forest Holidays, Grown in Britain, Kubota UK, North Oxford Property Services, and Rokesmith.

Thanks to additional support from TESCO and the Ernest Cook Trust we were able to dedicate an area of the Future Forest especially for schools. We invited more 700 primary school children, plus young adults from local youth groups, to each plant a tree. The funding enabled us to build a shelter and fire pit, erect a fence to exclude dogs, and pay a subsidy to help the schools recover transport costs.

We look forward to working with all our new Forest Friends to care for the Future Forest over the years to come.


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Grown in Britain sponsors a grove in the Future Forest

posted on February 17, 2017

Grown in Britain (GIB) have generously supported the Sylva Future Forest by sponsoring a cluster of plots now known as the Grown in Britain grove.

GIB planting team

GIB planting team. Left to right John Weir (Forestry Commission England), Laura Sceal (GIB), Judith Millidge (Small Woodland Owners’ Group), Helen Bentley-Fox (GIB), Dougal Driver (GIB). Tom Barnes (Vastern Timber), Gabriel Hemery (Sylva Foundation), William Jackson (Certainly Wood), and Jen Hurst (Sylva Foundation). Behind the camera, Matt Larsen Daw (Woodland Trust).

Last Friday a team assembled by GIB got to work planting a wide selection of trees from our pallet of 40 species. In between the tree planting they enjoyed hot drinks, soup, tea cakes and marshmallows on the open fire, naturally burning GIB firewood (kindly provided by Certainly Wood). In fact they enjoyed planting so much that Tom Barnes (MD of Vastern Timber) generously sponsored an additional two plots (50 trees), which were planted after lunch.

Matt Larsen Daw, project lead for the Charter for Trees Woods and People helped ‘Show the Love’ for trees (see photo above). The Future Forest has been part-sponsored by the Woodland Trust and it is fitting that its creation is taking place during the year of the Tree Charter.


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