Many members find that courses are a very useful way to get started in their wood, or to develop specific skills or interests when they are more established woodland owners.

Woodland management courses range from short introductory level to more advanced courses over several days, and are highly recommended for new owners. Other options include essential safety courses such as chainsaw use; practical courses on coppicing, hedge laying or scything; making useful woodland products such as charcoal; learning green woodworking skills (eg. spoon or stool making); and other woodland crafts such as basket weaving.

Natural history courses are great for learning to identify the wide variety of plants, fungi, lichen, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals that may be living in your wood, and how to record them using wildlife recording apps. Animal tracking and bushcraft courses can help you discover the hidden world within your wood and how to get the most enjoyment from it.

As well as benefitting from the expertise of the course leaders, much can be gained from interactions with like-minded fellow participants, often in inspiring woodland locations. As an alternative, online events and courses remove geographical barriers and let you learn at more flexible times from the comfort of your own home.

A few of the main course providers are given below, for a more detailed list of course providers recommended by SWOG members please see here.

Small Woods Association Introduction to Woodland Management and woodland craft courses run from The Green Wood Centre near Telford in the West Midlands, plus projects with courses in other locations.

Royal Forestry Society ‘Forestry for Non-Foresters: Management Plans and Practices’ two day training course for people who own or manage woodlands but have limited woodland and forestry knowledge, in various locations in England and Wales.

FSC Natural History Courses The Field Studies Council’s range of online and in-person courses cover everything from identifying fungi and moths to discovering amphibians, botanical folklore, using iRecord, and field recorder days in various locations.

Based in north Wales, the Woodland Skills Centre runs courses ranging from traditional crafts to hedge laying, safe chainsaw use and social forestry.

Broadleaf Wales runs courses on small woodland management and grey squirrel control in their regenerated 20 hectare broadleaf woodland at Bron Haul Farm.

Cumbria Woodlands Online training courses on woodland management, ancient woodland restoration, and ground preparation for woodland creation, plus in-person woodland management and archaeology courses.

The Arboricultural Association run online and in-person training events for non-professionals as well as for arborists and tree surgeons.

Centre for Alternative Technology Online and in-person courses on woodland management, composting toilets, beekeeping, renewable energy and green buildings.

Plumpton College run a 3-day Woodland Management Planning course in East Sussex, in addition to a range of other land & environment courses.

Craft Courses Directory An advertising and booking service for course providers across the UK covering rural skills, woodworking, beekeeping, basket making, and much more.