High Weald

L 048844Learn how to create wonderful woodland crafts using sustainably sourced materials in one of three beautiful High Weald locations. With a background in woodland management, expert woodsman Alan will be on hand to guide you through the steps needed to make something truly special in a way that doesn't bear a negative impact on our precious environment.

There are a number of workshops available, depending on what skills you would like to hone. The Wattle Hazel Hurdles course will highlight how to split and weave hazel into a sturdy and practical hurdle to take home; while in the spoon carving session you will master different carving techniques and tools to form spoons from locally cut timber. For those keen to step into the woodland, why not spend the day in Sparkes Gill Wood trying your hand at a spot of coppicing? The act of coppicing native broadleaf trees in winter is a traditional form of woodland management, while also bringing positive benefits for wildlife biodiversity. This insightful course will leave you with basic skills using hand tools and you will discover the different products that can be conjured from freshly cut wood.

As the High Weald is one of the most wooded areas in England with trees populating over 24% of the area, it is the perfect location in which to base woodland crafts workshops. The various trees and materials found in the woods which Alan manages all have varying properties making them suitable for different things. The season is also a factor affecting which activities can be carried out; hedge laying and coppicing courses take place in Winter and Spring while other craft workshops are best enjoyed in the warmer months. With his experience in sustainable woodland management, Alan will be sure to impart some of his well cultivated local knowledge on how to combine art, the natural landscape and sustainability issues.

Alan is eager to portray the fact that what you will make during a workshop with him is not just a product; it is more than that. It is utilising the natural environment and landscape to create something unique.  The fact that Saxon shepherds previously drove their pigs from the Downs into the High Weald to fatten them on the acorns falling from the abundant oak trees in the area provides a glimpse into the area's rich past. A hand carved item can encapture a climate, a group of people, a place's history and tradition.....

People notice special things and being able to tell a tale about its origins makes it all the more interesting. 

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