charitable object: advancing education and business enterprise in the design and production of home-grown wood products for the public benefit

The Sylva Wood Centre is an exciting new hub for small businesses and craftspeople who design, innovate or make with British wood – and those who want to learn the skills to do so. The Centre provides dedicated space, equipment and an inspiring community of woodworking professionals (see list below).

Following the generous gift of farm buildings and land in South Oxfordshire in 2013, the Sylva Wood Centre opened its first business incubation units in April 2015. In 2016 we completed fit-out of a Machinery Workshop and launched our Start-Up scheme which provides short-term flexible rental of bench space in an open-plan workshop at the heart of the Wood Centre. Plans for the near future include hosting a sawmilling business, and initiating training in woodworking with some of our businesses and external trainers.

As far as possible we are trying to practice what we preach by refurbishing and building in timber in both traditional and modern structures. We’ve used innovative ash and sycamore thermal cladding (read more) on our first incubator building, and we worked with student designers in a TRADA-sponsored competition (read more) to explore the science of timber as a modern construction material for the new Arboreal building we hope to build in the near future.

We are also transforming the surrounding landscape. In winter 2016 we are planting a community orchard, and nearby an educational ‘Future Forest’ with tree species that can thrive in the UK despite threats from climate change, pests and diseases. We’ll provide a dedicated forest education area with space for children to learn about and enjoy woodland.

If you’d like to get involved please get in touch. Whether you are a designer-maker, a wood business needing space to grow or as someone who shares our passion for timber as a sustainable resource and would like to help fund our projects at the Wood Centre we’d love to hear from you. We are also keen to hear from woodworking tutors who can work with us developing the training venue.

Contact Paul Orsi

our wood activities

Business Incubation

Thinking of starting a wood-based business? We have dedicated incubation space at the Sylva Wood Centre.

We have a limited number of dedicated small units. We also have an open-plan workshop with flexible bench spaces under our 'Start-Up' scheme allowing short-term rental. The business incubation is supported by a fully-equipped machinery workshop.

How to apply for business incubation How to apply for
business incubation.

Wood Centre community

Business Description   Website
Chris Boreham Bespoke Woodwork

A furniture business supported under our Start-Up facilities.

Face North Forestry

A professional forestry contractor offering low impact management of the rural environment.

Jan Waterston

Jan is currently the Rycotewood Craftsperson-in-Residence and is a fine furniture maker.

Mary’s Chairs

A furniture restoration and upholstery business supported under our Start-Up facilities.

Neil Scott Furniture Ltd

An established London-based furniture business which relocated to the Sylva Wood Centre in 2015.

Oxford Oak

Rodas Irving specialises in outdoor furniture and small buildings using home-grown oak.

Jan Waterston Furniture

Jan Waterston is the current Rycoewood Craftsperson-in-Residence and is a fine furniture maker.


A media company specialising in creating educational woodworking material.

Rycotewood craftsperson-in-residence

Rycotewood Furniture Centre, part of City of Oxford College, supports graduates in setting up their businesses at the Sylva Wood Centre via the Rycotewood Craftsperson-in-Residence scheme.

Simon Clements

Simon Clements is a wood carver and sculptor, who also offers training courses.

Ted Dorey

A retired master craftsman, Ted is supporting our education and training activities at the centre.