Our History

Small Woods are experts in the field of sustainable woodland management and social forestry, developing to meet the needs of these growing sectors, and work in partnership with other organisations.

In the beginning

  • 1988 - National Small Woods Association (NSWA) established aimed at supporting woodland practitioners, raising the profile of the UK’s under managed small woodlands and networking best practice amongst woodland projects. With strong support from the then Department of the Environment (DOE).
  • 1994 - NWSA and Green Wood Trust (GWT) create a woodland college in Coalbrookdale near Ironbridge
  • 1997 - NWSA Ltd becomes a company limited by guarantee and extends work to input on national and regional policy, while increasing the range of woodland management courses on offer.
  • 1998 – Increasing public concern for sustainable management of local and ancient woodlands

Small Woods Association becomes a charity

  • 2000 – NWSA change direction and Small Woods Association (SWA) is established as a registered charity ‘to further education in the conservation of small woodlands’
  • 2001 – SWA are asked to host ‘Herefordshire Sustain Project’ - a partnership of woodland sustainability projects and policy context, following a seminar hosted by HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchy of Cornwall
  • 2001 – SWA establish Heartwoods Ltd - to re-link the timber supply chain, requested by the Forestry Commission as a follow on to the Marches Woodland Initiative.
  • 2002 – SWA host a new Woodland Initiatives Co-ordinator role, funded by the Forestry Commission and Countryside Agency (now Natural England), to support a network of woodland initiatives.
  • 2005 – SWA and GWT merge based at the newly re-named Green Wood Centre in Coalbrookdale, and become a focus for the coppice and greenwood sectors.

Coed Lleol (Small Woods Wales) is born

  • 2002 – Coed Lleol (Small Woods Wales) established to run a support network and events for community woodlands in Wales.
  • 2010 – Coed Lleol launches a successful woodland health and wellbeing programme, Actif Woods Wales, specialising as experts in the field of Social Forestry across Wales.
  • 2010 - Llais Y Goedwig established as an independent charity to manage the community woodland network.

Small Woods moving forward

  • 2012 – SWA rebrands to adopt a new public facing name, Small Woods
  • 2019 – Today Small Woods has a wide range of sustainable woodland management and social forestry projects, courses and events across the UK, and offers advice and support through our Small Woods membership scheme.