Archive for July, 2008

Managing woodland for biodiversity course at WoodNet | 31st Jul, 2008

Dr Patrick Roper– consultant ecologist is leading us on a 4 day course at WoodNet, outlined below. Cost approx £260 for all 4 days – to be confirmed. This course is nearly full, so please let me know if you are interested,([email protected])  so I can book a second series with Patrick as needed.  If we have enough people who prefer week days we could look into doing another series on Fridays

Thanks, Tracy

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see below for course outline

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SEEDA Free workshops | 31st Jul, 2008

As mentioned in the EVENTS section of the forum, I  have uploaded the information on SEEDA’s free business workshops which may interest some of you


Moth Survey | 24th Jul, 2008

If you are anything like me, the thought of hundreds of moths flapping around you, fills you with dread!

This week we had a moth survey done in our wood, arranged by Steve Wheatley of the Rother Butterfly Consevation group. It was one of the most fascinating evenings we have spent in the wood so far. The team of 6 could name every one of the hundreds of moths flapping about.

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Woodland Birds | 22nd Jul, 2008

On the SWOG day in July we heard a talk from Nigel Symes RSPB woodland advisor. Here is a short summary of his talk.

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Nigel Symes, RSPB Woodland Advisor and author, told us about the disturbing loss of species of birds known as “woodland specialists” – i.e. they only live in woodland. These included the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Hawfinch, Redstart, Willow Warbler, Woodcock, Lesser Redpoll, Willow Tit and Tree Pipit. These species have all declined significantly, some drastically, since about the late 80s or early 90s. As far as the RSPB can tell, the main reason for their decline is the progressive cessation of woodland management since the 1940s, with a time delay before the effects became apparent. Read more …

SWOG Meeting 19th July | 19th Jul, 2008

Fantastic day today – thanks to everyone who came and made the day such a success.

Thanks especially to Alan, David and Nigel who brough such informative and interesting talks and pictures.

I will be doing a write up of the day, and would love you to contribute! Things you learnt section started on the forum for you to add to.

More to come when I am not so sleepy!


Red Band Needle Blight of conifers in Britain – by Hugh | 16th Jul, 2008

Red band needle blight (RBNB) is an economically important disease affecting a number of coniferous trees, in particular pines. RBNB causes premature needle defoliation which results in the loss of timber yield and, in severe cases, tree mortality. Read more …

What’s up with Oak? | 15th Jul, 2008

A Forest Research Seminar on Oak and the Pests and Diseases attacking it

Recently, oak has been in the limelight with alarming media coverage about Sudden Oak Death and the Oak Processionary Moth. But how accurate are these reports and what does the future hold for our oaks?  This focused seminar will highlight some of the disorders suffered by oak and describe some of the emerging pests and diseases that are being seen on woodland and urban oak trees.  The day will include a “hands on” session in the woods to look at the general health of oak and discuss the pests and diseases that can attack it.

The seminar on the pests and diseases of oak will be on Tuesday 30th September, 10am – 3pm, at the Dean Management Training Centre (postcode GL16 7JY), near Coleford in the Forest of Dean. The event is run by Forest Research and the Forestry Commission.

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Small Woods Association Members Weekend | 11th Jul, 2008

Small Woods Association

Sustainability Centre Members Weekend

Nr East Meon, Hampshire.

6.00pm Friday 1 August to 2.00pm Sunday 3 August 2008.

With an exciting programme of speakers and local walks this weekend will provide an opportunity for members in the south of the country to get together to share ideas and problems about their woodlands. SWA has booked the Wetherdown Hostel at the Sustainability Centre, for a residential weekend. The cost will be £60 for members, £80 for non members.  All meals are included, except for Friday night when we will visit the local pub, which has a good range of food available.

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Making Charcoal by Mike Pepler | 08th Jul, 2008

As we’ve been coppicing our wood I’ve been wanting to make charcoal for some time, but wasn’t ready to go and buy a large kiln, as I didn’t know whether I’d really make use of it. Having read about small kilns made using oil drums I managed to get hold of a couple of drums from a farmer friend.

I started off making one of them into the traditional style oil drum kiln, where you pack the drum full of wood, light it through holes in the base, and gradually close the top during the burn, sealing it at just the right point to make sure you end up with charcoal rather than a pile of unburned wood or, worse still, a pile of ash! However, before I had finished making this kiln I met Gervais Sawyer at an open day at the Woodland Enterprise Centre, and he gave me a better idea, which is what I want to tell you about now.

Step 1: cut the top off an oil drum. Make sure you leave the end with no holes in it intact. When I did this I also had to drain out the dregs of oil left behind. This can be taken to the dump for disposal or burned – don’t pour it on the ground. I cut the top off using a drill to make a few holes side by side to get started, then tin snips to cut round.

Step 2: cut some slots in the walls near the base of the drum to let air in for the fire to burn with. I chose to make four slots, again using the drill and tin snips to make them. One I had them done, I made a fire in the drum to burn out any remaining traces of oil:

Step 3: get a smaller drum, cut the top off it, and pack it as tight as you can with dry wood. I used a 20l veg oil can, but something larger would be better. As long as it fits inside the big oil drum you’ll be fine.

Step 4: put the small drum upside down inside the large drum, and light a fire round it, keeping it going for a few hours (I need to experiment to find out the minimum time…)

Step 5: leave it all to cool down (ideally overnight), then get the smaller drum out. Here are the results!

Take a look at for many more useful tips and news of what is happening in their wood.

Wood Fair – ticket discount | 01st Jul, 2008

Hi Everyone

The administrator of the Bentley Weald Woodfair has kindly offered a discount for  SWOG members to the woodfair- Sept 12 – 14th.

We will shortly be sending you an invitation to the woodfair which you will need to show at the gate to get your discount. If you would like to be sure that I have an up to date postal address for you, you could email me your postal address and I will check my records.

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