Bent to their will | 29th Jul, 2018

Sue and Andy Malleson needed a bit more seating in their wood, so took themselves off on a bentwood chair-making courses at Hanwell Wine Estate with John Hollins.  His courses are incredibly popular and you’ll need to book several months in advance to secure a place. John is a very talented tutor and guides a small groups step-by-step to make their own beautiful bentwood chairs from green hazel

Sue said, ‘Our two- day chair-making course proved to be a lot harder work than I’d imagined. We chose our own materials from hazel bundles provided by our tutor and we had to cut them to size and nail them in place. Working with green wood sounded much easier than it actually was. But the hard work and aches were certainly worth it. The chairs now grace our woodland and are surprisingly comfortable.’

Gimme Shelter – Building a Simple Woodland Shelter | 17th Jul, 2018

Once you’ve spent any amount of time in the woods, you’ll probably discover that you need some kind of protection from the elements.  Or as Mick Jagger once sang “If I don’t get some shelter …Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away” .   Well hopefully and despite the recent hot weather, it won’t come to that, but making a comfortable area where you can rest, brew a cup of tea and make a simple meal will probably be quite a high priority for you.

We have looked at sheds before and their role in providing  shelter and a safe place to store tools for forestry purposes.  This is not an article about sheds or more permanent structures which may or may not need permission of some kind from the planners, for more detailed information on this, see our leaflet:

This article is intended as a guide to putting up a simple tarpaulin type shelter, using one I built earlier this spring as an example.  It will be temporary, but may last a few seasons depending on what kind of wood you have available and the skills and techniques you are able to muster.

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Torthworth’s trees | 01st May, 2018

Tortworth Churchyard in South Gloucestershire is home to one of Britain’s most ancient sweet chestnut trees, so old in fact, that the first commemorative plaque about the tree is itself 200 years old. Read more …

Red squirrels return to the Highlands | 27th Mar, 2018

Few woodland owners relish sharing their wood with grey squirrels, but native red squirrels are a different matter. Trees for Life has launched an appeal to raise £22,000 to ensure a better future for red squirrels in the Highlands of Scotland. Read more …

Building a new ‘old’ barn – Part I | 19th Oct, 2017

As a tiny acorn can eventually lead to much bigger things, so has the seed of an idea I had of building a new barn to season my wood and store my forestry equipment.   I have been managing two small woodlands on the edge of the High Weald AONB of  East Sussex for 3 or 4 years now.  Both have been neglected and both have been in a transition from working coppice to a high canopy of crowded oak and hence a suffering understory. Read more …

Butterfly Notes | 25th Jul, 2017

Thanks to Steve Wheatley and Neil Hulme of Butterfly Conservation for these notes about butterfly species and how to encourage them in woodlands.

Butterflies of Plattershill Woods

Tottington butterflies

Combwell butterflies

Rides Revisited | 13th Jun, 2017

Some of you may have been aware of the ride improvement project  SWOG members in the south east  have benefitted from over the last 18 months or so.  (See articles in last year’s March and June  newsletters, and occasional  updates here). Read more …

Malvern Coppicing – a review | 30th Mar, 2017

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

This 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. Read more …

Low Impact Extraction Ideas – Milling in the Wood | 27th Feb, 2017

IMG_20170105_120220If I look back at the woods I’ve worked and managed over the last few years a common theme emerges. They all seemed to have valuable timber in them, timber that desperately needs felling. Sometimes it’s on an overstood chestnut or ash stool in danger of falling over because of it’s enormous weight. Read more …

A Christmas tree for Stony Stratford | 08th Dec, 2015

Every Christmas Trafalgar Square receives a fir tree from the people of Norway. Market Square in Stony Stratford has a tree from a little closer to home, courtesy of SWOG member Andy Malleson who fells one from his small plantation at Gayhurst. Read more …

Artizans of Wood – Roundwood Timber Framing Course | 26th Jul, 2015

Earlier this month I attended the first roundwood timber framing course run by Artizans of Wood at the Dangstein Conservancy in Rogate. The course showed us how to construct a cruck or ‘A’ frame style building from round and somewhat irregular poles. Read more …

Made from Wood from the Wood | 26th Jul, 2015

I’ve been quite aware that a lot of my woodland craft products have been reaching a stage of functionality which will just about do, then pressure of time and other projects seem to move into my field of vision and take over. Read more …

Planting a New Hedge | 25th Mar, 2015

For many woodland owners especially those with ancient woodlands, our hedges are our boundaries. They may have been planted 100’s of years ago, some still managed as hedges, having been layed, pollarded or coppiced many times, others are unrecognisable as a hedge, more a line of full grown trees which is what all hedges aspire to be eventually!

2013-10-11 12.56.50

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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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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.
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