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.



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

Knife Making

: 06 Mar 2021 - 06 Mar 2021

: The Green Wood Centre, Coalbrookdale, TF8 7DR

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


Hazel Stick Stool Making

: 06 Mar 2021 - 06 Mar 2021

: The Green Wood Centre, Coalbrookdale, TF8 7DR

Learn how to make a traditional stool using hazel rods with mortise and tenon joints and split hazel.


Knife Making

: 07 Mar 2021 - 07 Mar 2021

: The Green Wood Centre, Coalbrookdale, TF8 7DR

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


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

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Knife Making

  • The Green Wood Centre, Coalbrookdale, TF8 7DR
  • 06 Mar 2021 - 06 Mar 2021
Learn the skills of the blacksmith and blade smith and make your own knife. more...

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Heritage Crafts Workshop

  • 21 Jan 2021 - 21 Jan 2021
Founded in 2009, the Heritage Crafts Association is the advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts. Working in partnership with Government and key agencies, it provides a focus for craftspeople, groups, societies and guilds, as well as individuals who care about the loss of traditional crafts skills, and works towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future.
Coppice and woodland crafts are perhaps the perfect example of a ‘heritage’ craft, they are quite literally rooted within the landscape, biodiversity and culture of the UK. They are inherently sustainable, renewable, beautiful and important.
If you are a craftworker why not come along to this workshop and find out more about endangered woodland and coppice crafts - you may be on the list!