SWOG Events

Butterfly Workshop 23rd July | 24th Jul, 2017

If our last workshop at Plattershill proved to be the perfect conditions for spotting and identifying butterflies, this weekends event was almost exactly the opposite.  It was promising sunshine as I drove along the bottom of the South Downs to the event at a woodland close to the village of Small Dole in  the Adur Valley, however as soon as we got out of our cars it was rain jackets on as it started to drizzle, then fluctuated between a light rain and heavy mist for the rest of the afternoon.

All was not lost however!  Leading the meeting was butterfly expert Neil Hume from Butterfly Conservation.  His special interest is in Fritillaries and we visited one of the areas where work is in progress to create a perfect habitat for the rarely seen Pearl bordered fritillaries.  According to Neil these were in abundance when he first became interested in the subject in the 1970’s, it was the much larger Silver washed which  were a rareity then, but now common to this and many other woods in the area.

Neil is a very enthusiastic proponent of any woodland management.  He maintains that even the smallest tweaks can make a difference.  The felling of  a carefully selected Oak or Ash standard or some coppicing and scalloping  can  allow enough light in to make a huge difference not just  to the butterfly population but for wildlife in general.

He has produced a useful ID chart and information sheet to help understand the kind of flora which will encourage certain species to your wood.

Many thanks are extended to him for his enthusiasm and making a rather drizzly day sparkle with interest.

SWOG Guide to Woodland Butterflies

More Pictures From the Day

Butterfly Workshop 2nd July | 06th Jul, 2017

Last Sunday saw the first of a series of SWOG and Butterfly Conservation joint workshops.   About a dozen SWOG members, owners and other interested parties joined us at Plattershill Wood in West Sussex on a close to perfect day for spotting butterflies.  It was warm and sunny with a very light breeze.  If  anything it was a little too hot early on, but as the afternoon went by, it cooled slightly making it ideal for spotting and identifying butterflies.

Among the 13 or so species we identified and probably the most abundant was this Silver-washed Fritillary.  Others included White and Red Admirals, Meadow Browns, Commas, Grizzled Skippers and Large and Small Whites.

This was one of the woods included in the track and ride improvement scheme last year.  The ride was cleared of imposing and overhanging trees, letting in the light and encouraging new growth and new species to thrive.

New species of ground and shrub layer flora is one of the major drivers in encouraging butterflies into your wood and it was great to see the benefits of the work carried out so quickly. Read more …

The Butterfly Effect | 15th Jun, 2017

Managing your woodlands for butterflies

There are over 50 species of butterfly in the UK, along with more than 2,000 species of moth. Sadly, they have all been in decline for the past 40 years, but woodland owners are in a unique position to help support butterfly populations. With just a little work, woodland owners can ensure that their woodlands include areas that favour butterflies and moths.

We are delighted to be running workshops in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation to discuss managing woodland for butterflies.

23 July Longlands Wood (part of Tottington Wood) near Small Dole

Award-winning expert Neil Hulme will lead a walk around this beautiful Sussex woodland to find butterflies and discuss their habitat need.

30 July Coombewell Wood Lamberhurst

Distinguished specialist Steve Wheatley will lead this workshop, explaining how woodland owners can encourage butterflies in their woodland and help increase butterfly populations.

Each event will be from 1.30–4.30pm.

Take a look at our leaflet on managing woodlands for butterflies, for some general hints and tips.

Please email judith@swog.org.uk if you would like to attend.

Horse-logging demonstration 13 May | 05th May, 2017


Join us for the visit to Karen Moon’s 9-acre wood at High Stoop in County Durham. SWOG members can enjoy a day in the woods, watching a demonstration of horse-logging and learning about the advantages of this traditional, low-impact aspect of woodland management.

The free event will start at 10.30 am and Charlie the horse logger will be present all day, either demonstrating or available with advice and to answer questions. There is hard standing in the wood for parking and space available for a limited number of caravans. The Brown Horse Hotel/Pub is close by, either for refreshments or accommodation. If you would like to attend, please email judith@swog.org.uk as soon as possible.

Woodfairs 2017 | 04th Apr, 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

Malvern Coppicing – a review | 30th Mar, 2017

Thanks to Annie Vincent for this review of a course at Malvern Coppicing.

splittingThis course is a must for all those starting out in their woods and for those that want to learn how to manage and maintain it while ensuring that the wildlife is encouraged , too.

The course was full, that says something straight away, but with just six attendees, we found that we were able to learn skills without being left alone in the crowds! We started with a walk around some of the 50 acres of woodland at Ravenshill Woodland Reserve, while learning how to identify trees in winter.

And to the business of coppicing – we learnt how to choose a site to coppice, with details about compartments, coupes and coppice rotation. How to arrange stacks of produce such as pea sticks / bean poles / steaks/ hedge posts –the list is endless. We built the stacks which then gave us ample opportunity to identify the species and stack them into piles of hazel / ash / oak or whatever. Phil supplied all the tools and I had great fun with the froe while splitting posts. We coppiced complete stools and created windrows for insects and birds.

stackWe layered the  hazel that we hadn’t coppiced to create more stools throughout the compartment that was looking a little bare. We made pegs to hold the layered hazel in place and then selected hawthorn to protect the growth.

We had a great time and have come away from the course with a re-kindled enthusiasm to get coppicing on our own woodland. I now look at coppiced wood in a totally new light: I understand why you coppice, the financial gains (if that’s what you’re interested in) and the benefits for your woodland and the habitat.

owlWe had lunch, cooked by Rae Wood – hot piping soup and pheasant casserole – all tea and biscuits and fruit included in the price and Rae even gave me some private tuition on traditional Split Peg making using a willow kosht.  We also met Nelson the Tawny Owl , who has been rescued and lives on site.

You can stay on site – we didn’t camp as it was cold wet and storm Doris was still blowing. We did stay on site in our motorhome with the kind permission of the local woodland owners.

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.

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
www.southdownsshow.co.uk

Treefest at Westonbirt Arboretum 29–31 August 2015
Tetbury, Gloucestershire
www.forestry.gov.uk

Stock Gaylard Oak Fair 29–30 August 2015
Sturminster Newton, Dorset
www.stockgaylard.com

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

Wychwood Forest Fair 6 September 2015
Charlbury, Oxfordshire
www.wychwoodproject.org

Confor Woodland Show 10–11 September 2015
Longleat Estate, Wiltshire
www.confor.org.uk

European Woodworking Show 12–13 September 2015
Cressing Temple Barns, Essex
www.europeanwoodworkingshow.eu.

Bentley Weald 20th Anniversary Woodfair 18–20 September 2015
Lewes, East Sussex
www.bentley.org.uk/events

Surrey Hills Woodfair 3–4 October 2015
Birtley House, Bramley
www.surreyhills.org

Cranborne Chase Woodfair 3–4 October 2015,
Fordingbridge, Hampshire
www.woodfair.org

Belmont Woodfest  10 -11 October 2015
Belmont House, Throwley, Faversham, Kent ME13 0HH
http://www.belmont-house.org/events/

Peebles Wood Market 24–25 October 2015
Tweed Green & Community Hall, Peebles, Scottish Borders)
www.forest-festival.com/wood-market

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

cumbria

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.

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