Online AGM and Skills Share success

12 Nov 2020

One Tree One Chair by John Lewis

One Tree One Chair by John Lewis

Small Woods annual meeting was held in the last week of October. Unsurprisingly, this year was a bit different, as it was a completely online event. It’s the first time we have put on such a major online event and, with 90 sign-ups, you can imagine we were slightly nervous. Luckily, the day went off without a hitch, and without a single dropped connection.


Members and staff were treated to talks from four main speakers.

Patrick Barkham extolled the virtues of a wild childhood, and advocated one that is “stung, slung and scratched”.

Simon Leatherdale took us on a trip around the coastline of Britain to look at our coastal woodlands, including some of the more bizarre examples to be found. Under-appreciated and under-researched, Simon is looking to change that.

Professor John Healey, from Bangor, discussed woodland resilience in an informed and engaging way. His opening phrase that “no two people who use the term resilience mean the same thing” grabbed attention from the start. Members also heard from

Sir Harry Studholme, offering a comprehensive (and challenging) view of our ancient woodlands, where they have come from and where they are going to next.

Annual Report

The formal business of the day introduced the Annual Report 2019-2020, which can be found here.


The afternoon featured an exciting line-up for our online audience:

Amie Andrews led a workshop on Health and Wellbeing in the woods;

John Morris led a discussion on the ELMS project and our approach to the new schemes in the longer term;

Mary Lewis, Endangered Craft Officer from the Heritage Crafts Association, led a very well-received workshop on Heritage Crafts; and Ian Baker led a session on the Succession project. All have given valuable insights for our work in these areas.

Growing our Membership

Although we don’t get as much opportunity for member interaction with an online event, (there are no chats in the lunch queue and there was no woodland walk), the lines were kept open at lunchtime and there was opportunity to communicate, including appreciation of the e-Newsletter. Taken together with the other online events held over the past six to eight months, there has been a roughly four-fold increase in member engagement. This is an amazing development for us all and we hope it will help SWA grow together as a community.

Photography Competition

One of the highlights of the event was a celebration of members’ pictures in the photography competition. The focus of the challenge was to send in a picture of something you have made, or something you treasure that has been created by a craftsperson. Entries were judged by Mary Lewis, Endangered Crafts Officer at the Heritage Crafts Association, who selected John Lewis as the winner for his beautiful composition, One Tree One Chair, featuring ladder and spindle-back chairs made from the wood, in the wood. Mike Taylor was runner-up in the competition with this photograph of exquisitely crafted shrink pots. First prize was a chopping board and second place earned a carved spoon.

Read the Small Woods Annual Report 2019 - 2020 in English and Welsh.

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