SWOG Events

Say trees – SWOG’s big picture competition | 01st Dec, 2016

cleared-at-last  gregory  building-eeyores-house

We’d like to see the best pictures of your family and friends enjoying time in the woods.

Show off the wood’s best side, and make sure you include people in the shot: climbing, running, hiding, strimming, chopping, eating, sleeping, making a fire, or just smiling. Don’t forget to say ‘trees’.

There will be a prize for the best photograph: Phil Hopkinson of Malvern Coppicing has kindly donated a place on one of his two-day coppice course in Worcestershire. There are two runners’ up prizes: a subscription to Living Woods Magazine and a Storm Kettle.

Entries close on 17 January 2017. The competition will be judged by the distinguished photographer Graham Wood, formerly of The Times.

There are some tips for winter woodland photography here.

Full terms and conditions are here.

The winning entries can be seen here.

SWOG meeting Tortworth Arboretum 23 April | 15th Mar, 2016

SWOG meeting 2pm Saturday 23 April, Tortworth Arboretum, South Gloucestershire

PrintTortworth Arboretum is a 20-acre site near Wooton-under-Edge, which was once owned by the Ducie family and forms part of the original Tortworth Estate. From the time he inherited the estate in 1853, the third Earl of Ducie, Henry John Moreton, complemented the existing ancient trees by planting new and exotic speicies brought back to England by the great Victorian plant hunters. By the time of his death in 1921 at the age of 95, Tortworth rivalled the collection at Westonbirt Arboretum just 30 miles away.

The arboretum’s collection of over 300 rare and champion trees hosts an amazing and unusual ecosystem including wild flowers, deer, bats, butterflies and dragonflies, as well as many bird types. It has suffered from serious neglect in recent decades, but the new owners, Woodlands.co.uk, have offered the Tortworth Forest Centre a unique opportunity to restore and open it for education, wellbeing and enjoyment. The team at the Forest Centre, led by Rebecca Cork, is working with volunteers to gradually clear the undergrowth, create paths and make the arboretum sustainable.

SWOG meeting 23 April 2016 2pm­–5pm

Bec will show us around the arboretum and talk about her work with community groups, volunteers and local conservation groups. There is still a great deal of work to be done: Bec and her team spend a lot of time clearing brambles and rhododendron, so there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion about many aspects of the work of small woodland owners, as well as the chance to appreciate some magnificent trees and habitat. Tortworth is not open to the public (although the website is) and places on this free visit are limited. If you would like to attend, please email judith@swog.org.uk.

SWOG Meeting, Catterick, 12 September | 20th Jul, 2015

SWOG Meeting, near Catterick 10am-1pm 12 September 2015

Following the popular meeting in Yorkshire in March, we can look forward to another on Saturday 12 September. Two SWOG families have kindly agreed to jointly host a meeting in their woods near Catterick in North Yorkshire. These two woods, which were once part of the Kiplin Hall estate, are slightly different. One has a mix of broadleaf and conifer and is geared towards amenity ownership; the other, with its mix of coppice with standards, is a valuable source of wood fuel. It promises to be a SWOG meeting full of interesting discussion. Ben Scotting of Rural Development Initiatives will be on hand to answer any questions and talk about (Planting on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWs) and Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW) issues.

More details will be available nearer the time, but if you would like to attend, please email Judith@swog.org.uk

Axe-making course, Sweden, summer 2015 | 02nd Jun, 2015

Ken Hume of the Oxfordshire Woodland Group is looking for fellow enthusiasts to join him on an axe-making course in Sweden.

Participants have the opportunity to make their ‘dream axe’ under the expert tuition and guidance of Lars Enander and Ulrika Stridsberg.

Lars and Ulrika are expert blacksmiths, and Lars is the author of Swedish Blacksmithing, a book on tool forging.

Lars and Ulrika can be seen in action forging an axe here.

The viability of the course would require that about 10 people attend, with full accommodation and meals being provided.

For an idea of what a blacksmithing course in Sweden is like, take a look at this account: www.dryadbushcraft.co.uk/bushcraft-how-to/damascene-knife-making-with-lars-enander

If you are interested, please contact Ken by emailing  trustees@oxfordshirewoodlandgroup.co.uk

Woodfairs 2015 | 02nd Mar, 2015

Together with Woodlands.co.uk, the SWOG team will be attending Woodfest Wales, Treefest and Bentley.

South Downs Show and Hampshire Woodfair 15–16 August 2015
Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Hampshire

Treefest at Westonbirt Arboretum 29–31 August 2015
Tetbury, Gloucestershire

Stock Gaylard Oak Fair 29–30 August 2015
Sturminster Newton, Dorset

National Forest Woodfair 31 August 2015
Beacon Hill Country Park, Leicestershire (early bird ticket discount until 5 May)

Wychwood Forest Fair 6 September 2015
Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Confor Woodland Show 10–11 September 2015
Longleat Estate, Wiltshire

European Woodworking Show 12–13 September 2015
Cressing Temple Barns, Essex

Bentley Weald 20th Anniversary Woodfair 18–20 September 2015
Lewes, East Sussex

Surrey Hills Woodfair 3–4 October 2015
Birtley House, Bramley

Cranborne Chase Woodfair 3–4 October 2015,
Fordingbridge, Hampshire

Belmont Woodfest  10 -11 October 2015
Belmont House, Throwley, Faversham, Kent ME13 0HH

Peebles Wood Market 24–25 October 2015
Tweed Green & Community Hall, Peebles, Scottish Borders)

Witherslack Forestry & Woodfuel Fair Saturday 28 February | 17th Feb, 2015


Witherslack Forestry & Woodfuel Fair – Saturday 28 February

Come and join us at Halecat House, Witherslack on Saturday 28th February, 10:00 – 16:00 for our latest Forestry and Woodfuel Fair.

There will be plenty going on in the woodlands of the estate throughout the day including:
·         Various felling and extraction demonstrations
·         Community Coppicing workshop
·         Burning Wood Well workshop
·         Wood boiler demonstration
·         Business Development workshops and seminars
·         Cumbria LEADER seminar and 1:1 support
·         Butterfly Conservation

horseloggerRed Radish catering will be on site selling a variety of delicious local pies including venison, pork and roasted vegetable.
This is a FREE event funded by the Morecambe Bay Nature Improvement Area through Defra, Natural England and Morecambe Bay Local Nature Partnership with support from Forestry Commission.

Visit www.cumbriawoodlands.co.uk for more information

Meeting in Yorkshire 28 Feb 2015 | 07th Jan, 2015

There are still a few places available for the SWOG meeting in Bill and Shan Rigby’s wood in North Yorkshire, 28 February 2015, 10am-1pm .

Rigby woodRelative newcomers to the world of woodland ownership, Bill and Shan own a 5-acre wood just 20 miles from York. They’re keen to chat to fellow SWOG members and to discuss their plans for their wood. The meeting will consist of a walk and talk through their woodland, which is mainly a mixture of beech and pine, and is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna. We are also hoping to have a talk about PAWS restoration.

The woodland floor is relatively flat and easy to walk across. Vehicular access is more limited, so we suggest meeting at a local pub and car-sharing the remaining couple of miles to the wood. The Old Black Bull in Raskelf offers a hearty lunch menu and looks like a good venue to warm up and refuel after the meeting. This promises to be a really fun event – and one of the first for some time in the north!

If you are interested in attending, please email judith@swog.org.uk for further details.

Rural Development Grants | 31st Oct, 2014

AFSThe new Rural Development Programme opens in 2015 which will include a scheme to improve Farming and Forestry Productivity.

This package will probably include support for:

  • Timber harvesting, extraction and primary processing equipment (woodfuel and timber)
  • Storage to dry woodfuel
  • Venison processing
  • Training
  • Business support
  • Co-operation, collaboration and advisory services

Forestry Commission England have teamed up with businesses across England to show how previous European Union funding has enabled them to grow and improve their efficiency. The events will give attendees the chance to speak to those who have been through the funding process. A Forestry Commission officer will also be available to answer your questions. Events will take place between September 2014 and January 2015.

As there will be limited capacity, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible to register your interest. To register: Please call Amy or Jude at Lantern on 07502 985921 or email them at events@lantern.uk.com. For more information see the Lantern website.

Essex Wednesday 5th Nov 2014
Only a few places left!
Moat Wood, Stisted, Nr Braintree.

West Sussex Friday 7th November 2014
Balcombe Estate, Stonehall, Balcombe, Haywards Heath.

Buckinghamshire Tuesday 18th November 2014
HG Matthews, Chesham Brickworks, Bellingdon, Chesham.

Cambridgeshire Friday 21st November 2014
Chopsticks, New Gant Farm, Swaffham Prior.

North Yorkshire Wednesday 26th November 2014
Farmoor Forest Services, Swithinthwaite, North Yorks.

Hampshire Thursday 27th November 2014
Brockwood Park Farm, Bramdean, Alresford, Hampshire.

Gloucestershire Tuesday 2nd December 2014
Guiting Manor Farms, Nr Cheltenham.

Dorset Wednesday 3rd December 2014
Travellers Rest Farm, Durweston, Blandford Forum.

Cheshire Friday 5th December 2014
Anderton Boat Lift, Lift Lane, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 6FW.

Exmoor Thursday 18th December 2014
Kitchen Wood, North Molton Estate, Exmoor.

Cumbria Wednesday 21st January 2015
The Yard, Halecat Estate, Witherslack.

SWA Skill Share & AGM 13 September 2014 | 19th Aug, 2014

smallwoodsOur good friends in the Small Woods Association (SWA) are holding their AGM alongside a very comprehensive programme of speakers, workshops and demonstrations on 13 September at the Woodland Enterprise Centre at Flimwell, East Sussex.
SWOG members are warmly invited to take advantage of the discounted rate of £48 for the day, which includes lunch and refreshments. (Members of the SWA pay £42.) If you would like to attend, please download the form attached here and email it to Phil Tidey, the Membership Services Manager philtidey@smallwoods.org.uk

The programme includes:

9.15 am Arrive, tea/coffee
10am Welcome and brief introduction – Mike Bentley, Small Woods CEO
10.05am Alison Field (South-East Regional Director, Forestry Commission) Alison will look at the future for the Forestry Commission and woodlands in the south east in the light of changes to grants, tree diseases and climate change.
11.00am Small Woods Annual General Meeting
12 Noon Tim Rowlands (Future Trees Trust) Tim will tell us about the work of the Future Trees Trust in maximising the benefits of our broadleaved woodland by promoting the benefits of improved planting stock for timber production.
1.00pm lunch
2pm Workshop sessions, each running three times to maximise opportunities to attend-

  • A Mike Bentley – Timber marketing,
  • B Graeme McVittie – Woodland management – problems and solutions
  • C Richard Ely – Chestnut Hurdles/pole lathe,
  • D Matt Beech – Tool Sharpening,
  • E David Hooton (Deer Initiative) – Deer Basics: how do you know you have got them, and what can you do about it,
  • F Vince Thurkettle (author of The Wood Fire Handbook) – Logs: production, storage and use.

5.30pm Foresters’ Question Time
6.15pm Finish

Free ash dieback seminars 14 July, Kent | 04th Jul, 2014

The Kent Resilience Forum, in association with Jonathan Harding of the Forest Commission, is running  two free events on 14 July (one morning, the other in the afternoon) on identifying ash dieback on. Each event will last about 2.5 hours and will be held at Brockhill Country Park, near Hythe in Kent. There are still some places available.  If this is of interest you can book a place by using the links below.

Morning session:

Afternoon session:


  • Introduction and plant health overview – Jonathan Harding, Forestry Commission
  • Managing ash in Kent’s woodlands and urban environment – Jonathan Harding, Forestry Commission and Dan Docker, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
  • Bio-security and identifying Chalara – Helen Carter, Forestry Commission
  • Question and answer session
  • Practical identification within Brockhill Country Park
  • End of training session

Free tree health seminars, East & East Midlands | 03rd Jun, 2014


The Forestry Commission is holding three Tree Health Seminars in July for those with an interest in forestry. Each indoor seminar will be led by Forest Research scientists, who will provide the latest findings on a range of current tree pests and diseases, as well as horizon scanning some potential threats. The seminar will cover: Untitled

  • Acute Oak Decline
  • Chalara ash dieback
  • Sweet Chestnut blight
  • Phytophthora ramorum (Bakewell and Oakham)
  • Dothistroma needle blight (Horringer)
  • Oak Processionary Moth
  • Asian Longhorn Beetle
  • Bronze Birch Borer
  • Emerald Ash Borer

Dates and venues are as follows:

Tuesday 8th July – 0930 to 1630hrs  
Venue:  Agricultural Business Centre, Bakewell, Peak District
This event is supported by the Peak District National Park Authority.
Note: Teas and coffees will be supplied. There is a café on site for the purchase of lunches or bring your own. Car passes will be issued on registration.

Thursday 10th July – 0930 to 1630hrs  
Venue: Victoria Hall, Oakham, Rutland
This event is supported by CONFOR
Notes:  Teas and coffees will be supplied  and food for lunch may be purchased in Oakham.
Long-stay Public Car Parks available at Burley Road LE15 6DH, South Street LE15 6BG, Westgate LE156BH, Catmose LE15 6HP see link: Oakham Car Parking

Thursday 17th July – 0930 to 1630hrs   
Venue: Horringer Community Centre, Horringer, Suffolk
This event is supported by the Norfolk & Suffolk Working Woodland Group
Note: Teas and coffees will be supplied – please bring a packed lunch

Heartwoods – bringing woodlands into management | 30th May, 2014

2013-10-11 12.56.50

Will Tomkins from the Small Woods Association has sent us information on a scheme which would help owners of unmanaged wood in the West Midlands.

For more detals contact the number below directly.

Read more …

Meeting at Marston Vale – 2nd March 2014 | 29th Jan, 2014

Marston Thrift is a community ASNW woodland on the borders of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. It has been worked by a dedicated group of volunteers since 1973 and it is thanks to them that the woodland has been brought back into management and now thrives. The Wardens of Marston Thrift, Clive and Angela Bucknall, have kindly offered to show SWOG members around the wood to demonstrate what they have achieved over the years.

Clive and Angela lead a working party that meets on the first Sunday of every month between October and March – and they are keen for more help.

The timetable for the day is as follows:
11.00 am meet at Marston Thrift car park. Guided walk through the wood with Clive and Angela.
12pm Meet the volunteers for a chat and coffee. After this, members might like to join the working party or are free to explore the wood further.
1.00 pm Drive to Marston Vale Forest Centre for lunch and a talk about the regeneration of the Forest of Marston Vale.

Email judith@swog.org.uk to book a place.

You can find out more about the Forest of Marston Vale here

Directions Follow signs for A421 Bedford from M1 Jnt 13. Leave the dual carriageway at Marston Moretaine. Go right at the first roundabout, straight over the second, then right again at the third one, signposted Houghton Regis. After about half a mile, there is a right turn signposted to Wood End. Drive along this narrow road for a mile and half until you reach the small carpark for Marston Thrift.

Click on the map to enlarge.


See the woods from the trees at Plumpton College | 18th Oct, 2013

flimwellThe Wood Enterprise Centre is hosting a free day of information and advice around the subject of woodfuel on Tuesday 29th October at at Plumpton College at Woodland Enterprise Centre, Flimwell, East Sussex,TN5 7PR.

There will be speakers from the woodfuel industry, and advice on how to apply for grants, as well as demonstrations of  wood fuel and wood chipping machinery.

Places are limited, so please phone  Claire Gammon  01580 879547 or email gammonc@plumpton.ac.uk

There is more information on the Plumpton College website here.

Deer Management Course | 22nd Aug, 2012

Matt Pitts, the woodland office for the High Weald AONB has sent us news of a deer management workshop in November in the Bedgebury Forest Centre.  Anyone who has woodland in this area will be aware of the large number of deer.  Download the flyer for full details of the programme for the day, and  how to book a place.

Deer workshop event

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