News & Events

Woodfairs 2017 | 06th Mar, 2017

The Arb Show  12–14 May 2017 Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire

Weird and Wonderful Wood 13–14 May 2017 Stowmarket, Suffolk

The Bushcraft Show 27–29 May 2017 Beehive Farm, Rosliston, Derbyshire

Devon County Show 18–20 May 2017 Clyst St Mary, Exeter, Devon

Royal Bath & West Show 31 May – 3 June 2017 Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Weald and Downland Living Museum Show 17–18 June 2017 Chichester, West Sussex

Royal Highland Show 2–25 June 2017 Edinburgh, Scotland

Great Yorkshire Show 11–13 July 2017 Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate

Royal Welsh Show 24–27 July 2017 Builth Wells, Wales

New Forest and Hampshire County Show 25–27 July 2017 Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Woodfest Wales 29–30 July 2017 St Asaph, Denbighshire

South Downs Show 19–20 August 2017 Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Petersfield, Hampshire

Wilderness Gathering 16–20 August West Knoyle, Wiltshire

Stock Gaylard Oak Fair 26–27 August 2017 Sturminster Newton, Dorset

Wychwood Forest Fair 3 September 2017 Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Confor Woodland Show 7–8 September 2017 Longleat, Wiltshire

Belmont Woodfest & Country Fair 9–10 September 2017 Faversham, Kent

Bentley Weald Wood Fair 15–17 September 2017 Lewes, East Sussex

European Woodworking Show 16–17 September, Braintree, Essex

Surrey Hills Wood Fair 30 Sept–1 Oct 2017 Birtley House, Guildford

Low Impact Extraction Ideas – Milling in the Wood | 27th Feb, 2017

IMG_20170105_120220If I look back at the woods I’ve worked and managed over the last few years a common theme emerges. They all seemed to have valuable timber in them, timber that desperately needs felling. Sometimes it’s on an overstood chestnut or ash stool in danger of falling over because of it’s enormous weight. Sometimes a crowded canopy of oak standards which is shading the rest of the coppice and woodland floor. Usually, but not exclusively, it has been in difficult-to-get-at places without an obvious or substantial ride to bring in heavy lifting and moving equipment. As I remarked to one woodland owner the other day, “If it was easy and it paid well, someone else would probably have already done it!”

Even where it is possible to bring in heavy equipment, one of the biggest considerations, particularly in small woodlands is the impact that this would make especially to the woodland floor. IMG_20160226_133937This method of hauling big trees out, usually to a static sawmill somewhere , seemed to me expensive in terms of equipment and the environmental impact that this equipment makes. I started looking at different systems, systems which meant turning things around and bringing the sawmill to the tree. This has lots of advantages especially for the smaller-scale operation in small woods where care and precision is much more of a consideration.

There is an assortment of products out there which range from a small jig and guidebar adaption of a standard chainsaw, to a full blown trailer mounted band saw with hydraulic lifting and turning abilities. They each have their place, but all have their pros and cons. I will briefly outline my musings on the subject and explain why I came to purchase a swing arm portable mill manufactured in New Zealand, by Turbosawmill

Pros and Cons

Once you start moving away from a static mill and towards a portable mill, compromises become necessary. Components need to be lighter and easy to dismantle, service and reconfigure. The Turbosaw model I have is a fairly good compromise.

Portability

The beam which the carriage runs on is 5.6m and made of aluminium, it also has an extension piece of 1.8m. It is light enough for two people to carry, but because it is made of aluminium there is a degree of flex. In practice, this is not usually noticed, but it does mean that when the saw carriage is midway along the beam, it can be 1mm or 2mm lower than at the ends … within acceptable tolerances, at least I’ve never needed to, or been asked to mill a piece of wood with greater accuracy than this!
The power source which runs the 16″ circular blade on this model is an adapted off the shelf Stihl 120cc chainsaw. The sprocket is replaced with a pulley system connected to a fairly standard car fan belt which runs a driveshaft to the blade. It is very easy to change it back to the original sprocket and guidebar configuration, and this was one of the reasons I went for this system. I like the idea of having more than one use for each bit of kit.
The carriage itself is made of steel and though not particularly heavy, again requires two people to manhandle it on to the beam. This is mainly because of it’s awkward size and shape. The chainsaw is easily bolted on and connected to the fan belt after the carriage is mounted.

Field serviceability

If you’ve used a chainsaw to rip boards either freehand or with a jig like the Alaskan Mill or Logosol systems, you’ll know how important it is to keep the chain tip-top sharp and also how quickly it can dull. This is a big time consideration with these systems. Sharpening the circular blade in comparison is a doddle. There are only 4 tungsten teeth on the blade and these are easily sharpened with a 12v grinder connected to your vehicle or if you’re not able to get close enough, I guess carrying a battery to the mill would be the easiest solution. Fan belts are easily changed and you should keep a couple of spares. Apart from that, check all the bolts and fixings for tightness on each use, grease and lube the moving parts and you’re away.

In use

This system will handle anything from 6″ or so in diameter to large 30 or 40″ plus butts. Usually the smaller lighter logs can be moved to the mill. I use a Logrite logging arch for this. The ‘junior’ model will handle anything up to 16″. But somewhere along the line you will come to point where you decide that it is easier to move the mill than the log. This decision becomes easier to make the longer you have had the mill and the more oversized logs you have attempted to move! Don’t try moving anything that will damage you! It’s far better and safer to move the mill! Having said that you can make things easier for yourself and try to set up the mill at the lowest point possible, this will put gravity on your side and gravity is fairly relentless and doesn’t tire so easily. With the bigger trees, obviously you will need to build the mill around the tree. Even then you will have limitations, milling an 8″ x 8″ post or beam anything more than 2 or 3m long is still going to require some kind of mechanical extraction or if you’re lucky gravity to get it to your extraction route.
The swinging arm is the greatest asset of this system, horizontal cuts are made by pushing the carriage forward it then swings 90 degrees and you pull back to cut vertically. The 16″ blade means in practice it can handle cuts up to 8″ and produce lumber of any dimension up to this limit. There is a way of extending this using a double cut method or turning the wood over. However, as I have quite lot of large diameter oak, I have added an Alaskan Mill cradle running another chainsaw and ripping chain to the same beam. This means I can mill squared-off lumber with the swinging arm then when I reach the middle of the log, where the wood is most stable, I change over to the Alaskan Mill and  can cut wide slabs for table tops or other products that need oversized boards.

Conclusion

Just over two years after buying the machine, I’m very pleased with how it has performed, though I am continually thinking of ways to improve it. Currently I’m trying to adapt the logging arch to carry the carriage and the beam. I understand its limitations but as part of an overall woodland management system I think it opens up many more possibilities for harvesting valuable but difficult to get at timber as well as a method for improving the health and viability of the woodland with the least amount of disturbance and impact to the wood.   To find out more, follow the links below.

www.keeperscoppicing.co.uk
http://turbosawmill.com/
http://www.turbosawmilluk.co.uk/
http://www.logrite.com/store/Item/Junior-Log-Arch

Video Links:
http://keeperscoppicing.co.uk/videos/
http://turbosawmill.com/instructionalvideos/

Gallery

And the winners are . . . | 03rd Feb, 2017

Thank you to everyone who entered the SWOG Big Picture competition. All the entries were wonderful and it is great to see everyone enjoying their woodlands. Our judge, Graham Wood, faced a difficult choice, but finally selected three clear winners.

Congratulations to Jane Thompson, Rob Elliott and George Smith for their winning entries. Jane wins a place on a coppice course at Malvern Coppicing.

Our thanks to the judge Graham Wood and to Phil Hopkinson of Malvern Coppicing for the wonderful first prize.

Red Squirrel Training Day | 31st Jan, 2017

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Holly Peek a  Red Squirrel Ranger for Anglesey and Gwynedd has contacted us with some information that  North West Wales members may find interesting.
She writes:

“Red Squirrels Trust Wales have successfully removed grey squirrels from the isle of Anglesey as well as brought a population of 40 red squirrels up to 700. This conservation success story would not have been possible without the input from local communities and businesses.

Over the next 3 years we want to spread this success over to the mainland. We are aiming to remove grey squirrels from a 90km2 area surrounding Bangor and reinforce the current red squirrel population and we need the help of local people.

I understand that woodland owners can have terrible problems with grey squirrel destroying property, damaging trees, destroying native wildlife and even causing fires from chewing electrical wiring. Red Squirrels Trust Wales would like to offer a FREE workshop to your North West Wales members on the 18th of February. These workshops will train people in grey squirrel culling and red squirrel monitoring. If any of your members decided to volunteer for RSTW we can provide them with the tools necessary to carry out these tasks. We are also looking for permission from woodland owners to trap and monitor squirrels on their land.”

If anyone would like to get involved, please contact Holly directly, details on the flyer above.

How do you feel about pests and diseases? | 06th Dec, 2016

Dr Julie Urquart from Imperial College is running a project about ash dieback.

She is trying to better understand how the public feels about ash dieback, a disease of ash trees that is currently quite widespread in East Kent. The findings from our project will provide useful feedback to government agencies in order to improve the way they communicate to the public about plant pests and diseases, and other environmental or public health risks.

Sylva-persistent-ash-leaves-due-to-ChalaraOur research involves asking respondents to sort a series of statements about ash dieback (and tree health more generally) according to how much they agree or disagree with the statements. This will help us to identify particular ways of thinking around these issues and whether ash dieback is affecting the way that people enjoy the countryside near where they live or how they manage their land.

We are currently seeking woodland owners in the East Kent area to take part. The process should take no longer than 30-45 minutes and takes place in your home or a location that is convenient for you. Most respondents find it quite enjoyable!

In the meantime, if you would like more information about the UNPICK project, please visit our website: www.imperial.ac.uk/unpick

Ride Improvement Scheme – Update | 05th Dec, 2016

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Ride Clearance Work Party – Plattershill, West Sussex

The track improvement pilot scheme in the South East is now nearing its end.  It was an initiative instigated by woodlands.co.uk to help owners with shared tracks maintain and improve the utility, structure  and biodiversity of their tracks and rides.  There were applications from about 15 groups of owners in the area and woodlands were able to fund work in about half of these.  See the March edition of the newsletter for more details.

We will shortly be gathering some feedback from owners who have been  directly involved in the scheme and we will post this in the new year.  Apart from the physical improvements to the rides, one of the greatest benefits of the scheme in my view has been that of  bringing owners, who may rarely meet, together to collaborate.

Well maintained, functional rides are important for all owners and wildlife.  It is inevitable that if nothing is done, over the years the trees will close in, shade the tracks and their usefulness will be lost.  Hopefully this scheme will have highlighted the issues and given everyone involved an idea of how to go about tackling the problem.  As with most projects, the hardest work is usually necessary at the beginning, but if  plans are in place and  works are scheduled each year, the job will become easier and the benefits obvious to all involved.

Many hands make light work –  Owners and contractors clearing the main ride at Plattershill Wood in West Sussex. December 2016

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National Tree Week | 28th Nov, 2016

treeweek

The 41st National Tree Week begins on 26 November, and kicks off with a series of events to bring trees to the forefront of public consciousness. This year the Tree Council are encouraging us all to get involved with Tree Dressing Day on Saturday 3 December, and in support, the Woodland Trust and Forest Charter team have released a free tree dressing pack.

The Tree Council has also published the press release from the very first tree week in 1975. It is interesting to see both sides of the political establishment becoming involved, with the Prime Minister Harold Wilson planting a young holme oak at Chequers. Not to be outdone, Leader of the Opposition Margaret Thatcher characteristically helped to plant a mighty 30-ft lime tree in Lisson Grove.

thatcher

Source: Getty Images

History does not recall the fate of either tree, but let’s hope they’re both flourishing.

New Forest Land Advice Service Working Woodlands Project | 03rd Nov, 2016

Tom Murphy has been in touch, he is the  project co-ordinator for the Working Woodlands Project which is run by the New Forest Land Advice Service  part of the bigger, forest-wide “Our Past Our Future” initiative.

Read more …

Grown in Britain Week Special Offer | 11th Oct, 2016

giblogo-locopyThere is a 10% discount to anyone placing a booking on a Grown in Britain training course this week. Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.

The aim of the course is to provide potential applicants and/or auditors of the Grown in Britain Standard with an introduction to the Standard, its general requirements and the different categories of the Licence and how these should be complied with.

The course is designed for owners and managers of woodlands to find out how the Grown in Britain Standard can help complement existing management strategies, and is also designed for those in the timber and timber products supply chain to learn how Grown in Britain can help to support the marketing of compliant products.  We also introduce the new woodfuel standard and how obtaining a Grown in Britain Woodfuel Licence can help you to stay compliant with RHI and Biomass Suppliers List requirements.

Courses are delivered by RDI Associates in partnership with Grown in Britain.  RDI Associates is a registered training provider and courses are taken by qualified and experienced instructors.

The following dates and locations are now confirmed:

DATE VENUE
Friday 21 October 2016 Forestry Commission Offices, Alice Holt, Surrey
Friday 11 November 2016 Cumbria Local Enterprise Centre, Redhills, Penrith
Tuesday 15 November 2016 Woodland Trust Offices, Grantham, Lincolnshire

Each course costs £210.00 per person (exc VAT) which includes the course handbook and catering and refreshments for the day. Don’t forget your 10% discount if you place your booking this week!

You can book a place by either:

If you have any questions or queries on the content of the course, please contact the instructor, Will Richardson, by e-mailing him at will.richardson@ruraldevelopment.org.uk or calling him on 07957 184978.

Oak Processionary Moth – research | 30th Sep, 2016

thaumetopoea-processioneaWe have been contacted by Dr. John Fellenor who is part of a project team looking at the public perception of risk with regard to specific tree pests and pathogens, one of which is the oak processionary moth (OPM).

Their project webpage provides an overview of what the work aims to achieve

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/unpick/

Read more …

Reasons to adapt to Climate Change | 24th Aug, 2016

The river Thames flooding at Wallingford, Oxfordshire due to exception rainfall. June 2003.

The river Thames flooding at Wallingford, Oxfordshire due to exception rainfall. June 2003.

Dr Suzanne Martin,  Research Liaison Officer with the Forestry Commission at Alice Holt has written to us with news of the recently published LWEC Report Card covering forestry.  The card provides an accessible and authoritative summary of the latest scientific evidence about the impact and future risks/opportunities of climate change for forestry in the UK.  It is aimed at anyone who works with, or has an interest in, agriculture, horticulture & forestry. It aims to improve understanding of the scale of possible change and to help inform land management decisions that will help us to better cope with climate change.

Reasons to adapt to climate change

What does the latest scientific evidence tell us about the climate change impacts for forestry?
In July an Agriculture & Forestry Climate Change Impacts Report Card was published by the Living with Environmental Change Partnership (LWEC). It is the latest summary of the scientific evidence of how climate change is affecting agriculture and forestry in the UK. It also explains how climate change might affect these land uses in the UK in the future.
The Report Card is based on the findings from nine detailed peer-reviewed papers prepared by leading experts, including those in Forest Research (who also acted as the lead author for the forestry sector).
The Report Card highlights:
• New and emerging pests and diseases as particular risks.
• In the next 20-30 years timber yield potential is likely to increase in the cooler, wetter uplands and the north and west of the UK but in drier areas, on lighter soils or for species that are sensitive to drought, there will be reduced growth.
• In the longer term reduced water availability and more frequent extreme weather events are likely to reduce both growth and yield potential in many areas.
• Biodiversity in semi-natural and managed woodlands is expected to adjust as a result of a changing climate.
• The range and quality of the other ecosystem services that forestry provides and relies on will also change. These include climate control, flood regulation, pollination and nutrient cycling.
What does this mean?
It highlights the importance of actively managing woodlands to help them cope with our changing climate, for example by improving forest structure, diversifying tree species, and increasing their ability to cope with greater weather variability and extreme events such as drought, wildfire and wind storms.

Free PAWS workshop | 03rd Aug, 2016

Jim Smith Right Wright from the Woodland Trust has written to us with news of free woodland event for woodland owners and managers.  To find out more and book a place, please contact Jim directly, details below.

The Woodland Trust, in association with the Small Woods Association, hereby invite you to a day’s workshop in Goudhurst, Kent looking at the restoration of plantation on ancient woodland sites (PAWS).

The day is aimed at owners and managers of Ancient Woodlands that have been planted on, but also those with invasive species such as Rhododendron or Laurel. The day will focus upon techniques for bringing your woods towards a more natural state, the theory behind this important work, and its many benefits.

We will spend time within several different woodlands within Old Park Woods looking at the various challenges the owners face in managing their woods and bringing them into restoration. The day will also include talks from local industry experts on related subjects such as woodland archaeology, deer management, timber, wood fuel and woodland management plans.

Tickets are free and will include lunch and refreshments at the Peacock Inn, Goudhurst.

Date: 30th September

Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm

To book, or for more information, please email jimsmith-wright@woodlandtrust.org.uk. We hope to see you there.
This event is open to all owners and managers of threatened ancient woodland in the Weald area: please feel free to share this invitation with anyone else who may be interested

Permaculture wood fuel and home heating workshop | 21st Jun, 2016

firewood

The Brighton Permaculture Trust is putting on a one day wood fuel and home heatingworkshop. Suitable for beginners, it will cover the basics of wood fuel home heating. The course will include the possible benefits of fuel autonomy, carbon, local economies, and sustainability. These topics are woven into the fabric of the course in such a way as to connect the theory with the practicality.

The term wood fuel now encompasses several technologies; traditional split logs, woodchip and wood pellet. Each of these systems will be discussed during the course with focus put on those of most interest to the group. There will be plenty of time to ask questions during the sessions and at the end where an Ask Andy session is programmed.

By the end of the course participants will have gained an understanding of:

  • Woodlands and firewood production, buying firewood and conversion
  • Woodsheds and storage, moisture content and drying, and continuous supply management
  • Types of stove and technologies
  • Pellet and chip systems and hot water systems
  • Integration with other renewables
  • ….and more

For more information and to book a place visit their website.

Tree Disease Research Project – Survey | 17th Jun, 2016

We have had a request from Oleg Sheremet who is a research fellow at the University of St. Andrews.  He is working on a project to find out how woodland owners and managers arrive at decisions, based on their knowledge of tree disease risks.  They have a short online survey which I have taken, it took about 15 – 20mins, it did take some thinking about, but it obviously a very worthwhile project to get involved in.  Please follow the links below to take the survey.


How will the risk of future tree diseases affect the decision making of woodland owners and managers? A request for your views.

In recent years, pests and diseases from around the world have severely affected several tree species in Britain, and others are likely to arrive in coming years. Many woodland owners and managers have started to think about how to move beyond just responding to each disease after arrival and instead plan for longer-term resilience of woodlands to a range of possible threats. Such choices are the focus of the research project FOREMOD (http://www.forestresilience.net/) being carried out by a consortium of universities and Forest Research, funded by the UK government.

Here we introduce the project and request your views.

The focus of the project is to improve understanding of the decisions which woodland owners and managers make in the light of their knowledge of tree disease risks, and their particular objectives in management. The information generated by this research will help woodland owners understand the economic consequences of different management options. It will also inform policy makers about how different incentives would best encourage woodland owners to make the decisions that most reduce future tree disease risks.

We hope many woodland owners and managers will be willing to participate in this research as this will help us get the strongest possible evidence on which to base this advice. Participating will not take long, will entail no long-term commitment and will be strictly confidential. We are asking you to take part in a “choice experiment” to find out your preference between pairs of management options that differ in their conditions. The more people who take part, the stronger will be the evidence.

To take part in this survey you simply need to click on http://tinyurl.com/forestmanagementsurvey.

Please also get in touch if you would like to participate in the project in other ways, for instance by advising on what woodland management alternatives we should compare in our economic modelling.

Contact Oleg Sheremet (ois2@st-andrews.ac.uk) for more information about the choice experiment or Morag Macpherson (mfm@cs.stir.ac.uk) about any other aspect of the project.

Chris Quine, Head of Centre for Ecosystems, Society and Biosecurity, Forest Research

John Healey, Professor of Forest Sciences, Bangor University

Forest Charter – unique opportunity for small woodland owners | 16th Jun, 2016

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More than 50 organisations, co-ordinated by the Woodland Trust, are leading UK society in a call for a charter that will ensure that people and trees can stand stronger together in the future. This charter, strengthened by support from all corners of society, will provide guidelines and principles for policy, decision-makers, businesses, communities and individuals. SWOG is pleased to be supporting a consultation, hosted by the Sylva Foundation, that will enable woodland owners and custodians across the UK to help define the 2017 Charter for Trees, Woods and People.

This consultation is the only activity specifically aimed at ensuring the views of woodland owners or custodians are reflected in the charter. More than two-thirds of woodlands are held in private hands, so it is vital that the voices of woodland owners/custodians, like yours, are captured. We would like to record your hopes and fears for the future to ensure that the charter speaks for you, and supports you in your vital role as custodian of the nation’s woodland heritage.

Gabriel Hemery, the Chief Executive of Sylva explains more about it in this blog, Woodland ownership in the 21st century

To take part visit: sylva.org.uk/myforest/charter.

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