What's Going On?

A great deal is the answer to "what's going on". You will see from the content of this month's newsletter that the work continues, the number of members in the group is growing, we've had some fantastic publicity and there is lots to look forward to.

For the first time we are "advertising" roles within the group. This is a great step forward as there is very little known about the skills and experience of the members, never mind what they would like to do within the group, so please contact the committee if you are interested in the roles or any other aspect of the group.
Next month's newsletter will have a summary of the season, not only from a member perspective, but from the people we have been working with.

I hope you enjoy reading about what's happening, don't hesitate to drop me a line with feedback on any aspect of the group.


Publicity and membership growth

Last month it was Radio Derby, this month it's a celebrity musician. David Gray contacted the National Forest to request a low key visit to explore the forest and experience it's development, woodland work and to meet some of the people who manage it. Heartwood together with Peter Wood of Greenwood Days were on hand to spend time with David. The National Forest team gave an overview of the Forest before taking a tour of Feanedock. A small team of Heartwood members were carrying out Hazel Coppicing which was demonstrated to David before he tried his hand. He was a very down-to-earth sort of person with a surprising knowledge of woodlands, wildlife and habitat. It was a great day for all concerned, with an invite extended to David to join us again if he gets the time.....you never know!

Later in the month I hope you will have seen the superb article written by our own member Helen Bralesford which appeared in "Living Woods' magazine. It really is a great summary of what we do and where we have come from as a group. With very little editing by the magazine Helen's writing skills are very evident.

We are also planning to have an article in next months "Swadstyle" magazine, so keep your eyes on their website

David Gray Hazel Coppicing Visit 2019 03

Nest Boxes

Nest box installation team providing 60 homes for birds in Woodcote Wood. These along with Bat boxes and Owl boxes have been build and deployed across the area of wood we have been working in this season

Situations Vacant

We are looking to fill two roles within the group. One is an existing role managing the member training programme and the second a new role to pull together group income as a "business" manager.

The training area has been important to group development and the successful management of sessions. Without Chainsaw operators, leaders, first aiders and many other roles we wouldn't be able to do what we do. We are looking for someone to continue training management, to include assessing what we need, who wants the training/skills and how we book and pay for it.

The business manager sounds rather grand and is important, but certainly initially this is a co-ordination role bringing together the lines of income we already have such as grant funding, timber and other product sales. It does not require the manager to manage each of these, but to bring the whole income picture together to ensure it fits with our vision, mission and strategy. Anyone interested please speak to Kevin or Graham for more details.

We are always looking to strengthen the numbers and provide succession on all roles within the group, so again please speak to us if you are interested.

Other Events

With the season drawing to a close, we are planning plenty of activity during the spring and summer. We hope to have an end of season thank you BBQ. Once the final sessions have completed we will put a date and venue out.

We need to move the remaining felled timber out of the woods and plan to do this on 5th & 6th April. The timber will be transported to CEEP for storage and use for the group. If you are able to spare an hour or two on either of these days please book onto the event in the usual way. We are hoping members will help with use of their cars and vans to transport the timber the short distance to CEEP from Woodcote.

The TIMBER festival is taking place on the 5th, 6th & 7th of July this year. Heartwood is planning to be there again, but this year will be part of a new co-operative being set up with CEEP and Abellto. We will be running the charcoal burner again, helping with the camp fires and generally promoting the group, again we will create events for each day so book if you can help. The co-operative will be focussing on charcoal sales, hopefully campers this year will be able to have BBQs. If you want to know more about helping before you book please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Woodland Skills

Do you use the timber you take home from Woodcote for any other purposes other than firewood? We are hoping to pull together a portfolio of skills and products from our members to share with the Woodland Trust. The Trust are very keen to see their woodlands used for the benefit of everyone. We already work closely with Peter Wood of Greenwood Days and Ian Varley another local Greenwood craftsman. I know we have spoon carvers and stick makers, so make yourselves know so we can get more details and photos of what you can do.

Donisthorpe Community Orchard

The Parish Council and supporters of the community orchard asked HCWG to carry out thinning and removal of a number of larger trees to aid the development of the fruit trees. HCWG members Ted Tann-Watson and Clive Sharples are part of the community caring for the orchard and have already carried out pruning of the fruit trees. Councillor Mark Saunders said "I walked Suzy (his dog) around the orchard this morning and saw the amazing amount of work you’d done"

Another successful project project carried out by the group we can be proud of, benefitting the community and HCWG members.

Heart of the Forest Co-Operative

At last year's TIMBER festival a bursary grant of £500 was awarded to an initiative setting up a woodland co-operative. The concept was presented by Steve Berrill of the CEEP project with input from Darren Abell and Kevin Banton. The aim of the co-operative is to provide a combined source of initially charcoal (potentially other woodland products later) through a single channel into local markets. All three projects (HCWG, CEEP & Abellto) produce varying amounts of charcoal, but singularly find it difficult to provide volume to meet orders - combining resources is the objective.

The bursary will be spent on packaging, labelling and marketing of charcoal. It is hoped that TIMBER 2019 will be a shop window for the co-op and for the product. If anyone has suggestions for local charcoal outlets please let us know. The charcoal will be sold in boxes reflecting it's high quality.