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WE TEACH PRACTICAL WOODLAND SKILLS


The UK’s small woodlands under 20 hectares in size together add up to 422,000ha of land that makes a vital contribution to biodiversity, to landscape, to people and to local wood products.

These woodlands need care, and they need knowledgeable care. Some small ancient woodlands are often neglected and unmanaged, with declining habitats that are unproductive and poor (especially for ancient woodland flora species, which have declined by 34% in the last 20 years).

They are over looked by many of our environmental authorities and very often by their owners.

 

Why training is important:

It is when these woodlands are neglected and forgotten that three things can happen:

a) They become overgrown, heavily shaded, full of tall spindly trees, less beneficial than they could be for wildlife or people or as productive woodlands for timber. Keep an eye out for these as you drive through the countryside – they are generally easy to pick out.

b) They can disappear, sometimes with agreement of planning authorities as part of new development, road building , for agriculture or industry, or just absorbed into domestic gardens – please keep an eye out for these as well as many have disappeared in the past.

c) Our increasingly urban populations become distanced from seeing woodland as a working environment, and we lose our connections with woodland culture: the woodsmanship of the past.

As well as these direct threats, there is another less obvious threat – the lack of new entrants to forestry and woodland as a career.

Woodland workers are ageing, and few young people are joining the sector*. Many small woodland owners come to the sector from other careers – a good source of new interest, and often giving a woodland new life, yet to help woodlands achieve their full potential needs advice and training, which is where we can help.

Small woodlands also provide an ideal venue for training existing workers and owners, and engaging new entrants through events and short courses.

 

WHAT WE DO TO HELP


We aim to:

  • Raise skill levels and knowledge about woodland management, through advice, skill sharing, our website, our members magazine and training
  • Bring young people into the sector through social forestry and apprenticeship schemes
  • Offer subsidised training for members of Small Woods

  • Seek grants to subsidise training to non members as well.

  • Deliver a suite of accredited woodland management courses, covering many aspects of working in woodlands. See our courses pages for more details

  • Provide a free email advice line on technical issues

  • Organise walks and talks around the country using members’ woodlands and offer free advisory visits in the West Midlands

  • Organise an annual conference often in a beautiful site with a wonderful woodland, at which we encourage people to share their woodland skills with others, and provide workshops by skilled trainers

  • Train forest school leaders and social forestry group leaders

  • We support new entrants to the coppice and sustainable woodland management sector through our apprenticeships: the National Coppice Apprenticeship, offered in partnership with the Bill Hogarth Memorial Coppice Apprenticeship Trust and the Ernest Cooke Trust, and also through the government sponsored apprenticeship working with colleges around England.

 

*Apprenticeships Review Small Woods Association for the Forestry Commission, 2008

 For training opportunities see:

Courses Calendar

Diploma Courses

Apprenticeships & Internships

 

Upcoming courses

View all Courses

Charcoal Making (Ring Kiln & Retort)

: 28 Aug 2021 - 29 Aug 2021

: Westonbirt Arboretum

This is a great opportunity to learn and compare the two key charcoal and Bio-char making techniques using a ring kiln and retort methods.

MORE & BOOKING

Knife Making

: 25 Sep 2021 - 25 Sep 2021

: The Green Wood Centre, Coalbrookdale, TF8 7DR

Learn the skills of the blacksmith and blade smith and make your own knife.

MORE & BOOKING

Tool Sharpening - Billhooks and Axes

: 25 Sep 2021 - 25 Sep 2021

: The Green Wood Centre, Coalbrookdale, TF8 7DR

This course will guide you through the full process of sharpening your tools, from rusty and blunt to shiny and sharp.

MORE & BOOKING

Upcoming Events

15 June

The Emergency First Aid at Work + Forestry is a one-day course that covers the national Emergency First Aid at Work syllabus but goes on to cover the criteria listed by the Forestry Commission /Natural Resources Wales required for workers on their forestry sites.

The course covers severe bleeds, eye injuries, electrocution, Weils disease and ticks, and discusses other challenges for a first aider in the outdoor and forest environment. The training is hands-on and down-to-earth by a very experienced instructor who delivers the course in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Training with Expertise and Integrity

With more than 20 years experience of delivering courses and training, Small Woods courses have gained a reputation for high quality teaching and professionalism.

Most courses take place at the well-equipped Green Wood Centre in

Cyrsiau
Charcoal kiln v2

Charcoal Making (Ring Kiln & Retort)

  • Westonbirt Arboretum
  • 28 Aug 2021 - 29 Aug 2021
This is a great opportunity to learn and compare the two key charcoal and Bio-char making techniques using a ring kiln and retort methods. more...

Digwyddiadau
DSC 3995

Small Woods Association AGM and Skills Share 2021

  • 2nd October Online 10am to 4:30pm, 3rd October Live Walks
  • 02 Oct 2021 - 03 Oct 2021
Following the success of last year, we are once more holding our AGM and Skills Share online. Providing easy access to an exciting range of talks, workshops and demonstrations. Including, new for this year - we are inviting members to host Sunday morning woodland walks across the country for you to book into and attend!

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