Nov 01 SWOG visits Sylva By Judith

It was a wet day and initially the introductions threatened to become bogged down in talk of SWOG bogs, or woodland loos, which are probably worth a whole workshop of their own. However, we were at Sylva to learn about woodland mapping, specifically the benefits of Sylva’s free myForest woodland management planning system. It assists anyone who want to plan management work in a woodland, or to formulate a management plan. It’s an incredible resource that will process raw information about a woodland and output data compliant with Forestry Commission grant application requirements. It helps to provide an overview of different areas and plots within a wood, so owners can organise their management work.

For those interested in wildlife and conservation the Woodland Wildlife Toolkit is another amazing resource. Tap in the post code of your woodland and the toolkit will produce a list of the flora and fauna which may be found in the locality, especially rare and declining species. Detailed species factsheets summarise the needs of each species and provide notes on how to improve habitat for them.

Having guided us through Sylva’s virtual resources, Paul Orsi followed it with a tour of the Sylva Centre – a walk across the three-year old ‘Future Forest’ to the replica Anglo-Saxon longhouse, the House of Wessex. We were lucky to encounter Alan the thatcher, a man with encyclopaedic knowledge of medieval construction techniques, who could answer questions about the building’s construction. We ended with a visit to the Sylva Wood Community, an area of workshops for small timber business and craftsmen, with space for their work and for various courses.

In the words of one participant, it was a ‘superbly informative day which was of huge help. Really enjoyed it’.  Huge thanks to Paul Orsi and the team at Sylva for organising it.

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