News & Events

Butterflies at Flatropers | 29th Jul, 2018

The White Admirals were out in force in the glorious July weather, when Alice Parfitt, Reserves Manager of the Sussex Wildlife Trust guided a group of SWOG members round Flatropers Wood Nature Reserve. She described the work that Sussex Wildlife  has carried out to encourage butterflies and birds in the woodland. Flatropers is managed by the Trust with the help of volunteers, who record wildlife and work to keep paths and tracks clear for visitors.

Bent to their will | 29th Jul, 2018

Sue and Andy Malleson needed a bit more seating in their wood, so took themselves off on a bentwood chair-making courses at Hanwell Wine Estate with John Hollins.  His courses are incredibly popular and you’ll need to book several months in advance to secure a place. John is a very talented tutor and guides a small groups step-by-step to make their own beautiful bentwood chairs from green hazel

Sue said, ‘Our two- day chair-making course proved to be a lot harder work than I’d imagined. We chose our own materials from hazel bundles provided by our tutor and we had to cut them to size and nail them in place. Working with green wood sounded much easier than it actually was. But the hard work and aches were certainly worth it. The chairs now grace our woodland and are surprisingly comfortable.’

Butterflies Flutterby | 25th Jul, 2018

Many thanks are owed to Martin and Marilyn Garwood of  Crow Wood, part of the Old Park Wood in Goudhurst.  They hosted a wonderful afternoon of butterfly ID and general ‘woodie’ type chat in their wood in July.  They are passionate about wildlife and passed on some valuable  nuggets about how they’ve been managing their wood to attract more butterflies, birds and reptiles, which plants to encourage and how to maintain the light levels for each.  Martin and Marilyn have created a wonderful oasis of wildlife and keep a blog here which you can subscribe to:

At the same time the Big Butterfly Count was on so we had our downloaded ID charts to hand and managed to spot a good variety of species including:

Small and Large Whites, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Commas, Common Blues, and the turbo-charged Silver Washed Fritillaries all made an appearance.

More photos from the day, including Martin’s neatly constructed method of seasoning firewood, each log is carefully placed and sheds water whilst allowing the air to circulate through the stack.


Gimme Shelter – Building a Simple Woodland Shelter | 17th Jul, 2018

Once you’ve spent any amount of time in the woods, you’ll probably discover that you need some kind of protection from the elements.  Or as Mick Jagger once sang “If I don’t get some shelter …Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away” .   Well hopefully and despite the recent hot weather, it won’t come to that, but making a comfortable area where you can rest, brew a cup of tea and make a simple meal will probably be quite a high priority for you.

We have looked at sheds before and their role in providing  shelter and a safe place to store tools for forestry purposes.  This is not an article about sheds or more permanent structures which may or may not need permission of some kind from the planners, for more detailed information on this, see our leaflet:

This article is intended as a guide to putting up a simple tarpaulin type shelter, using one I built earlier this spring as an example.  It will be temporary, but may last a few seasons depending on what kind of wood you have available and the skills and techniques you are able to muster.

Read more …

Birds and butterflies in Flatropers Wood | 09th Jul, 2018

Flatropers Wood, Rye, Sussex  14 July 10.30am-1.30pm
A guided walk with Alice Parfitt of the Sussex Wildlife Trust through Flatropers Wood, 37 hectares of mixed woodland, rides and paths. Refreshments will be available next door in the wood of SWOG members Dominic and Wendy Eldred-Earl. Alice will discuss the successful management of Flatropers for butterflies and birds and provide advice for woodland owners. Email [email protected] to book a place.

In search of the Purple Emperor | 27th Jun, 2018

About 20 people met up in Cotgrave Forest to hear about managing woodlands for butterflies from Ben Driver, Southern Conservation Officer with the Notts Wildlife Trust. Read more …

Sarah Walters | 03rd May, 2018

We received news of the death of Sarah Walters with great sadness on 8 April. Read more …

Torthworth’s trees | 01st May, 2018

Tortworth Churchyard in South Gloucestershire is home to one of Britain’s most ancient sweet chestnut trees, so old in fact, that the first commemorative plaque about the tree is itself 200 years old. Read more …

Culverts – a soggy story | 30th Apr, 2018

Woodland owners in Waste Wood have a proud history of working together to tackle shared woodland tasks. Richard Cooper has written in to tell us about the ‘fun’ he and his partner Fi had while unblocking their culvert. Read more …

Woodfairs 2018 | 29th Apr, 2018

Read more …

Confor and small woodland owners | 02nd Apr, 2018

Confor is a membership organisation that promotes sustainable forestry and timber production through political engagement, market promotion and supporting members. Read more …

Culverts – keeping them clear | 30th Jan, 2018

For many of us, the first time we encounter a culvert is when we fall in the ditch around it, and notice the pipe before clambering out. Read more …

Launching the Tree Charter | 07th Nov, 2017

It was great to celebrate the launch of the Charter for Trees Woods and People at Lincoln this week. More than 70 organisations have worked for two years under the leadership of the Woodland Trust to create a new tree charter that aims to put protection for trees and woodlands at the heart of government environmental policy and to celebrate the role that trees play in all our lives. Read more …

Building a new ‘old’ barn – Part I | 19th Oct, 2017

As a tiny acorn can eventually lead to much bigger things, so has the seed of an idea I had of building a new barn to season my wood and store my forestry equipment.   I have been managing two small woodlands on the edge of the High Weald AONB of  East Sussex for 3 or 4 years now.  Both have been neglected and both have been in a transition from working coppice to a high canopy of crowded oak and hence a suffering understory. Read more …

Memories of the Great Storm of 1987 | 13th Oct, 2017

Britain went to bed on the night of 15th October 1987 having heard weather forecaster Michael Fish reassure the nation that it might be a bit windy, but there was certainly no prospect of a hurricane engulfing the country. Read more …


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