Words from the Woods March 2016

20th March 2016

How lovely to see the sun and the snow in the last few weeks. There's lots going on in the woods, trees are budding and flowers popping up. We're really excited about the next few months with lots of camping out and exploring the woods... . best wishes Gareth and Ro

Question of the Month...We've been coppicing at Low Park Gunpowder works. What did they mix with charcoal to make gunpowder? (Answer at the bottom of newsletter!)

Come and camp in the woods with us

We really love spending time in the woods with people teaching interesting skills, how to make things from natural materials, how to cook on fires, connecting with Nature and learning about the plants and animals.

This spring/summer there's plenty of opportunities for you to enjoy a bit of woodland living.

  • Family Bushcraft Camping - Sat 21 - Sun 22 May / Sat 1st - Sun 2nd Oct
  • Woodland Hammock Camp - Sat 7-Sun 8 May / Sat 25 - Sun 26 June
  • Woodland Explorer 8-14yrs (only 3 places left!) Sat 28-Mon 30 May
  • Click here for more info and to book

Schools too!

Several schools are bringing their whole classes to camp out in the woods for a couple of days with us next term. Click here for more info of our school sessions.

Royal Forestry Society Award Entry

Fingers crossed for the Full Cycle project that has been put forward for the 'Education and Learning Award' category of the RFS Excellence in Forestry Awards. As many of you know Woodmatters has partnered with Campaign for National Parks Mosaic Project and Lake District National Park Authority to run this exciting project over the last year as part of Rusland Horizons.

The Mosaic Champions (17-25yrs) who took part were presented with beautiful leather sheathes made byTony Morgan for the knives they had forged using the charcoal they made from the coppice they cut. Well done everyone fingers crossed!

"I met lots of awesome people, got to see the beautiful country side. made a positive effect in my local area, travelled the country, learned lots of skills and helped me realize what I want to do for the rest of my life.” (Mosaic Young Champion)

Frogs a hoppin'

Woodmatters have been running the pond restoration project at Ghyllside school this week. During the floods the liner got damaged and as the rainy days have subsided its become apparent that the liner was leaking risking the pond drying out. Children and parents have been helping, with the highlight so far being when we re-homed the burgeoning frog population in their new pond having spent the night in a temporary pond...150 adult frogs were counted..quite a noise... croak croak

Willow Spaces

We've been having fun at St Thomas's Primary. Ro and Debs have created two sweeping willow play spaces for the children. Commissioned by the PTFA with the aim of encouraging creative play. It's been so rewarding watching as the willow structures have become dens, meeting spaces, and even spaceships in the children's imagination.

Bushcraft Skills course at Watchtree

Watchtree Nature reserve near Wigton has started to run events and courses. Woodmatters have been comissioned to run some adult Bushcraft Skills days. This course will also be running at the Footprint, nr Windermere. Watchtree also has a rather cool cycle club with lots of adaptive bikes to enable anyone to be able to ride around the reserve check out the Watchtree Wheelers.

Beanpole Day at Sprint Mill

Sunday 10th April - Celebrating National Beanpole Week, using locally coppiced pea sticks, beanpoles & stakes in your garden is the obvious choice. Plants love to climb up the native wood, the sticks don’t have to travel across the world or through a factory to get to your garden (unlike bamboo or netting) and when you buy them you’ll be supporting sustainable woodland management and local businesses. Plus some might say your garden will be more attractive for it. Sprint Mill Gallery is just 2 miles north of Kendal. (click for directions).

Cumbria Woodlands training courses and events

  • Charcoal Production
  • Chainsaw Maintenance, Cross Cut and Felling Small Trees up to 380mm
  • Hazel Hurdles
  • Practical Coppicing
  • Tool Sharpening

Click here for more info.

Coppice Association Weekend in the Woods

Sat 14th-Sun 15th May - Each year, the Coppice Association North West runs a weekend of traditional craft workshops aimed at both beginners and improvers. Workshops are led by experienced, professional tutors and run from 10am ‘til 4pm each day. Click here for more info

Energy Fairs and much more

Following on from the Energy Fair this Saturday in Kendal there are more planned for Sedbergh and Windermere. Advice on DIY draughtproofing, fuel bill comparisons, upcycling, grow your own and a repair workshops.


The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

See the Woodmatters Course Programme and bookings

Question of the Month Answer:

Gunpowder, is a simple mixture of saltpeter, sulphur, and charcoal. At Low Park (nr Sizergh) they used the hazel coppice to make charcoal. They also used the hazel to make the barrel hoops so there was no risk of a spark being created when two barrels of gunpowder rubbed together during transport.

Please feel free to send in anything you think may be good for the next newsletter

Father and son
Woodland explorer group
Mosaic champions
Pond restoration
St thomas primary willow