Words from the Woods July 2020

19th July 2020

Words from the Woods ... to keep you in touch with all the amazing things happening in the woods and beyond

Hi everyone, hope you are all well in these strange times. We've been keeping busy in a different way to normal during lockdown with all of our normal courses and school groups cancelled. We've had fun diversifying in the face of adversity while keeping connected to woodland life..read on to find out what we've been up to .. . best wishes Gareth and Ro

Nature Bubbles

Since we've been able to gather in groups of 6 people we have been having lots of woodsy fun with our Nature Bubble Home Learning sessions. With so many children not being in full time school we really wanted to offer an opportunity to spend time in the woods.
The days are aimed at enhancing natural living skills and traditional crafts. Exploring things like whittling, fire lighting, nature ID, natural crafts, primitive skills and nature awareness. We are so excited to be getting back out there.
We've been setting our trail cameras out as part of our Nature Bubble sessions and have caught some interesting action including deer, buzzard, fox and a number of sparrow hawk. Trail cameras are a great way of seeing the wildlife that is often so elusive when you are out in the woods with a group. The children have helped set the cameras and choose the sites where they have found evidence of wildlife whilst tracking animals in the woods.

Charcoal with a Smile

Maya has been our chief charcoal delivery assistant during Lockdown. We normally sell our BBQ charcoal to the National Trust Campsites but with all the sites closed until this week we have been making lots of 'black gold' in the woods and delivering to people's houses across South Lakeland. Any cash payments were deftly collected with Maya's 'social distancing stick' (aka a litter picker)...quite tricky if there are coins involved :)

Green wood Carving Courses are back!

We're excited to be able to start running our greenwood carving courses in the woods. Based outside in the beautiful woodland site at NT Footprint, Windermere. The woodland workshop is set up to maintain social distancing with all tools sterilised, individual work areas and covid-secure toilet. (thanks Rachel Hayton for the photo)
New dates coming up...
Bench Making on Mon 20th July
Spoon Carving on Tuesday 21st July
Bench Making on Sunday 26th July

Get in touch to book your place
We've been having fun creating animations during Lockdown...here's one starring some of our spoons and knives from our Spoon and Woody Things Shop

Spoons and Woody Things

Lockdown has given us the time to do lots of spoon carving so we decided to launch our Spoons and Woody Things Shop on our website. The response has been amazing and we've been able to send many of our spoons off to live their lives in various households around the UK. All the spoons are carved jointly by Gareth and Ro so we never know quite how they are going to turn out. Feel free to click here if you would would like a look to either buy a present for a friend or just see the various designs that have emerged for interest if you like a bit of spoon carving yourself.

How to Make Artist Charcoal

We have been experimenting with making artist charcoal in our big charcoal kiln this year. It's been really exciting seeing the results of creating beautiful slender sticks from willow....the sticks are cut and peeled by hand then fired in small biscuit tin 'kilns' in the large kiln for 48hrs.
Click here to watch one of our Stop Motion Animations of how we make it
Quoted to be "Fabulous - rich and dark and consistent." by local artist Gina Farncombe
You can make this yourself in a woodburner or an open fire in a biscuit tin (here's a link with some instructions courtesy of Windmill Community Gardens)

Deep Learning in the Woods

Very proud of these 3 who are coming out weekly as part of our Nature Bubble Home Learning sessions in the woods...they spent 2 hours preparing to light their fire in the pouring rain. The only thing they had was a handful of dry grass, some dry thistle down and a fire steel. They felled standing dead coppice wood, carved shavings and feather sticks, split and prepared kindling, sought out bundles of birch twigs...their faces say it all...such determination

Nature Based Schools Programme - going forward

We would normally be enjoying adventures with hundreds of school children this term and going forward into the autumn term. The new normal of the school experience for children is only just emerging. We'd like to send a message out to all schools about our passion for working with you to enable children to enjoy the much needed connection to the natural world. We are offering to come into school sites to run sessions if its not possible to travel to the woods. We can set up outside and have rolling 'bubbles' of children coming to take part in activities. We can work flexibly around you and incorporate bushcraft, nature based and historical activities to suit any age group

It must be very unsettling in the school world at the moment so hoping you are all OK. Do let us know if there is anything you would like us to do.

Poem Corner

What is a tree?

An oxygen maker,
a flood abater, a carbon absorber,
a climate recorder, a healthy aspect, a place to reflect,
a nest for an owl, where gruffalos growl, a climbing frame,
the fuel for a flame, a soil stabiliser, a picnic sun-visor, a provider of fruit,
winter quarters for newts, the pages of a tome, the heart of a home,
a pollutant filter, a neighbourhood gilder, a treatment for fever,
a stress reliever, an artist’s spark, an ancient landmark,
a noise muffler, a bluetit’s supper’s supper,
a temperature reducer,
a primary producer,
a wind breaker,
a wood maker,
a natural sculpture,
just outside the front door

We love this wonderful poem by Rebecca Neal...hopefully the clever formatting comes out on your screen where the shape of the words makes the outline of a tree.