Archive for 2014

Seeing Butterflies – Book review by Heather Martin | 13th Dec, 2014


When I first opened ‘Seeing Butterflies’ I was so enthralled by the superb photographs of butterflies and moths that I kept turning the pages treating the volume initially as a picture book, a visual experience further enhanced by the entire contents being printed on yellow, orange and green paper as opposed to the more traditional white.

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December 2014 Newsletter | 04th Dec, 2014

Dec coverFed up with Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers?  The SWOG newsletter has none of them, but we do wish all our members a very merry Christmas. Escape the madness and read about

  • Dan Gould, arborist and recent convert to horse-logging
  • Living with a log-fuelled biomass heating system
  • Book reviews – Oliver Rackham’s The Ash Tree and others
  • News of a SWOG meeting in Yorkshire in 2015

European Coppice Conference 2014 | 01st Dec, 2014

Coppice courseKentish woodlands and the traditional way they are managed were the focus of an international conference hosted by the University of Greenwich. Visitors from across Europe, as well as from South Africa and Turkey took part in a three-day conference in the heartland of the British coppice industry to learn new techniques, share experiences and compare practices.

Speakers from the Forestry Commission, High Weald, and the coppice industry explained how and why coppice remained a strong tradition in Kent and Sussex. With contributions from woodland owners – including a presentation on behalf of SWOG about how small woodland owners manage their woods – the final words were left to forest workers themselves. Professional coppice managers explained how modern power equipment has made them more efficient, while Chris Letchford of the Surrey and Sussex Coppice Group urged the audience to give traditional craftsman the respect that that their skills deserve.

The SWOG presentation about how small woodland owners manage their woods is available to view here.

Irreplaceable Woodlands – Book Review | 27th Nov, 2014

I was delighted to get hold of a copy of Charles Flower’s Irreplaceable Woodlands. The book is a glorious reference to his 30 year custodianship of a 25 acre ancient woodland – Mapleash Copse. The title is a reminder that woodlands such as these are under threat.
Read more …

November 2014 Newsletter | 31st Oct, 2014

Nov NL 2014Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness . . . time for the SWOG November newsletter.

Just in time for Halloween, Rich demonstrates how to make a simple bat box, while Kerry Caldock describes her first year as a woodland owner. We also have important news about the next round of RDP grants, which are open to woodlands of all sizes.

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 [email protected] 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.

Habitat for Bats | 28th Oct, 2014

Here’s a quick and easy project, ideal for kids wondering what to do with themselves at half term and ideal for bats who will no doubt appreciate their efforts!

Read more …

October 2014 Newsletter | 03rd Oct, 2014

Oct coverAutumn is approaching and with it the season of serious work in the woods. The October newsletter features

  •    New tree identification app from the forestry Commission
  •    Reports from the APF show and Bentley Woodfair
  •    Managing your woodland for climate change
  •    Grown in Britain week 2014

Forest Seedlings – Forestry Commission App | 19th Sep, 2014

New app solves problem of identifying young trees and shrubs

A new app-based field guide, Forest Seedlings, from the Forestry Commission has been launched to help identify almost 100 tree and shrub seedlings under one year old that are commonly found in British woods and forests.
Read more …

Observatree – coming spring 2015! | 14th Sep, 2014

News from the Woodland Trust:  Observatree is an exciting conservation partnership project, harnessing the power of citizen science to establish a new tree health early warning system. Working together with the public, and networking with related projects, we will detect new threats and track movement and spread of existing pests and diseases.  More details on the Woodland Trust website.

Game Management Workshop | 11th Sep, 2014

deer image

Matt Pitts, Woodland & Cultural Landscape Officer at the High Weald AONB has emailed us with news of a free game management workshop.  For more details and to  book a place, vist the Eventbrite page.

Read more …

September 2014 Newsletter | 03rd Sep, 2014

sept2014 coverIt was good to meet some of you at Westonbirt (between the showers!) and we’re looking forward to seeing even more members at Bentley on 26-28 September. Rich is polishing the rocket stoves for the tea and we will be selling new and very attractively priced SWOG polo shirts.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter, which contains

  • News of the SWA AGM and the National Woodfuel Conference
  • Win a woodland with Dorset Cereals and
  • A Hebridean woodland –  Bryan Macpherson’s dream
  • Discounted entry to the Bentley Woodfair

Wilderness First Aid Courses | 22nd Aug, 2014

Andy Sullivan from ELST as been in touch with dates for this years two day wilderness first aid courses.  I refreshed my first aid skills on this course last summer and actually needed to use them in a real life emergency the very week after.  So you never know when you are going to need it and  it is something you really need to do if you spend anytime in remote or difficult to get to locations.  Even if you don’t, everyone should have these basic skills.  You can  read my report in the July 16 news letter.

Vist their  website at for  more information. SWOG members will get a 20% discount, put in the code SWOG999  when you book online or mention SWOG when you contact them.

More details of the courses and  testimonials can be found here:-

9th & 10th February 2017

23rd & 24th March 2017

20th & 21st April 2017

22nd & 23rd April 2017

18th & 19th May 2017

20th & 21st May 2017

8th & 9th June 2017

10th & 11th June 2017

13th & 14th Juley 2017

15th & 16th July 2017

21st & 22nd September 2017

23rd & 24th September 2017

12th & 13th October 2017

14th & 15th October 2017

16th & 17th November 2017

18th & 19th November 2017

Read more …

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 [email protected]

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

National Wood Fuel Conference | 14th Aug, 2014


Thanks to Jeanette Hawkins from the Forestry Commision for sending us news of the wood fuel conference coming up.  Full details and how to get  tickets below.

Read more …


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