Season Summary

As mentioned in last month's newsletter we completed all of the work committed through the grant applications. With this done we were able to claim the final stages of the grants which have now been paid into our bank account. We will give the overall summary of our financial position at the AGM in September, but I'm pleased to confirm we are in good health and just where we wanted to be in preparation for next season.

This leads us into next year's work and grant applications. After discussions earlier in the year with the senior team at the National Forest we are planning to expand "Heartwood" by around 50% during the next year. Again I will give more detail at the AGM, but there are a few important points to note.

We have entered into a formal contract with the Woodland Trust for two seasons work at Woodcote near Smisby - this will provide enough thinning work to supply the group and support growth as it happens. We have been more ambitious with the amount of work and the potential number of sessions we want to achieve next year - this will mean more income, more leaders and more members. Exciting times indeed for Heartwood!


Owl Boxes installed at Willesley Wood completed the grant work for the season

Owl Boxes installed at Willesley Wood completed the grant work for the season

Heartwood Growth

The use of voluntary resource across the National Forest is vital in achieving the objectives of bringing woodlands in management. Heartwood have been a leading light in the use of volunteers and as such we have been asked to work with the National Forest over the coming years to grow the concept, initially in the Heart of the Forest. To this end we have started making plans on how we can achieve this. The National Forest and Black 2 Green are providing further funding to ensure we have the tools and equipment to run more sessions and even look at parallel sessions on the same date.

When it comes to volunteers we are planning to actively look to recruit new members. To date word of mouth has provided a steady flow of new members, but we are now using other means to tell our story and seek new people - if you know of any potential members please pass on our details and ask them to get in touch. We have already had an article published in the "Making Local Woodlands Work" newsletter and the TIMBER festival will be a great shop-window for HCWG.

TIMBER Festival Update

We met with the organisers just over a week ago to discuss our involvement in the TIMBER festival. There are some great opportunities for us, so the plans will be that:

  • Heartwood will supply firewood for two camp fires to be ran on all three evenings
  • Heartwood will be running the brand new charcoal retort (see other article) on three evenings adjacent to one of the discussion/story telling areas to provide a talking point, atmosphere and a demonstration of how charcoal can be produced
  • Chainsaw demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday morning
  • Running a corporate day with Lex Autoleasing in one of the weeks leading up to the festival to assist the NFC with site preparations.
  • Supplying bagged firewood from our stock at CEEP - this is now at 16-18% moisture content so is seasoning very well
  • Supplying bagged charcoal from our own retort (and potentially working with CEEP and Darren Abell to ensure demand can be met

Wild Rumpus are very excited about our involvement and although they are not able to give forecasts of volumes of firewood and charcoal they are happy that we use this year as a learning exercise for future events.

Wild Rumpus are still looking for event volunteers for all sorts of roles if anyone is interested please follow this link to register and find out more

Heartwood Charcoal Retort

The National Forest and Black 2 Green have kindly agreed to fund the purchase of a charcoal retort for Heartwood. It will initially be used and demonstrated at the TIMBER festival, but will be a valuable asset for the group. The unit is a "Hookway Charcoal Retort" which is a magnificent stainless steel charcoal burner and can be seen demonstrated on the Hookway website. The retort should be delivered in around 4-5 weeks when delivery will include a demonstration "burn" by James Hookway. If you would like to come along to that session This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - how can you resist!!

Hookway Charcoal Retort

A Hookway Charcoal Retort

End of Season Event

As you should be aware the end of season BBQ will be held on the 5th May between 10:00 - 14:00. We plan to have the food available around midday, but you are welcome to come along at any time to meet other members of the group and have a general chat about last season and the coming season. The BBQ will be held at Donisthorpe Woodland Park. It's the usual parking area we use for Woodfuel session - Church Street, Donisthorpe, DE12 7PY. Vehicular entrance is shared with the Donisthorpe Miners’ Welfare Centre. We'll hold the event just inside the park near to the picnic area.
If you haven't let us know if you can join us yet, please respond to the mail you received or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Data Protection Legislation

I'm sure most people will have heard of the new data protection laws that become effective in late May of this year (GDPR). You may have received notification from organisations you are part of asking for explicit permission to retain your data or even continue to keep your contact information on mailing lists. HCWG has to comply with this legislation so the committee are working to ensure we take the correct actions. As a result of this we will be contacting everyone to ensure you give us your permission to use your information as part of being a member of this group. At present the "membership" is very informal, but we are reviewing this so again you will get more information. There are no plans for membership fees, but we may need to provide a formal application and membership cards. We will keep you updated.

Shortheath Farm Woodland Management Plan

As part of the grant application and the working relationship with Pete and Mary at Shortheath we will be creating a woodland management plan for their site. This is another new venture for the group, but is a service we would like to offer to land owners. A number of the group have undergone training in this discipline, but we are looking to form a small focussed team who can become skilled for future bids. Anyone interested please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Interesting Sites you may want to take a look at - A great source of information for Greenwood and Woodland Crafts - Free magazine packed with useful information and articles - Joint organisers of the TIMBER festival.