What's going on?

On behalf of the committee I’d like to wish you and your family a very happy Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year.

Heartwood has had another fantastic year and despite the prevailing circumstance we’ve gone from strength to strength.

Your support as a member underpins what we do and how we do it, building strong friendship bonds that makes the whole Heartwood experience a positive and enjoyable “hobby”.

We have become a highly respected organisation that manages itself in a business like manner recognised by the landowners we work with, whilst remaining a fun place to spend time. Every member contributes to making all of this possible.

I hope you have a well deserved break and get quality time with your family and friends, but don't forget to get that wood processed so you are ready to resume in early January.

Kevin Banton | Heartwood Chair

What's In this Woodfueler

Wood fuel sessions


Nether Hall Wood

Heartwood HQ


Active Together

Timber 2022

Website Updates

Wood fuel sessions

There are still some spaces available on sessions in January.


  • Available from 6pm on the 1st January to all members.


  • Available from 6pm on the 15th January to skilled members, 10 spaces, no waiting list.
  • Available from 6pm on the 1st February to all members, increased spaces and a waiting list.

Skilled members get early access to ensure the sessions are viable. Skilled members are those members who have a skill that is required to run a session, i.e. Session Lead, First Aiders, ATV Driver, Clearing Saw, Chainsaw Operators, etc. When the sessions are available to skilled members there will be no waiting list available. When the required skilled spaces have been filled other skilled members will need to wait until the sessions have been released to all members. The waiting list will then be available. If the session you want is full please book on to the waiting list, as this allows the team to assess the demand for places and add sessions as required (if possible).

David Gravett - Membership Coordinator


In order for us to understand the demand for training and identify those who would like further skills training please complete the following form. Whilst Heartwood will endeavour to deliver the training you request, there will be a degree of selection based on the needs of our group and your availability to perform the trained skills

Please consider the following points when requesting training:

  • Will I be able to commit to sufficient sessions to use and maintain my new skill?
  • Am I physically fit enough to undertake the training and the role?
  • Some of the courses are only available on weekdays so I can take time off work / or other commitments?

Heartwood normally pays for the training, with the assistance of grants from the National Forest.

You can register your interest for training by logging into the Heartwood website and using the training link from the members menu or by using the following link, Heartwood Training

Robin Barber - Training Coordinator

Nether Hall Wood

Our contract with the Woodland Trust has now been signed by both parties so we are now formally managing the woodland. A keen group of members have met virtually a couple of times over recent weeks to start forming the outlines of a plan for how we go about managing the site.

We have been successful in our application to the Woodland Trust for a “Community Woodland” grant. The £1000 will be used to deliver a plan which will use the initial 12 months of our tenure of the site to carry out a “Discovery Year”. The objectives of the discovery plan are:-

  • To manage the site in a sensitive manner which is sympathetic to the woodland/wildlife whilst providing a community asset
  • To carry out a year of “discovery” for all involved, including members of Heartwood, the general public and the local community. This will ensure the resultant plan meets everyone aspirations for the woodland
  • To investigate every aspect of the woodland including
    • Understanding and recording the existing flora & fauna
    • Understand and record the health of the woodland
    • Research the history of the woodland, including any previous community engagement e.g. planting objectives
    • Provide a community asset which is engaging for everyone
    • To manage the woodland in line with the management plan
    • To increase the knowledge and skills of everyone involved (Heartwood members and the community)
  • To engage site neighbours, including Nether Hall care home and its resident

Anyone who would like to be more involved please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Kevin Banton - Nether Hall Wood Chair

Heartwood HQ

We have been very busy up at Heartwood HQ this year making the place ours.

To name a few things that were completed: a shelter and workbench, a composting toilet, a cooking fire, two Norwegian log stack and lots of woodsheds to house the wood for making the charcoal.

During 2020/21, timber was gathered from the woodlands by the group to enable us to carry out all our work at HQ. Some enjoy splitting and stacking wood, others enjoy learning how to use the retort, everyone there makes a difference.

Over this year we have sold over 400 boxes of charcoal all made by our members, in addition to this we made and sold 16 besoms for Halloween, 31 reindeers and 30 snowmen for Christmas.

We have also welcomed people from outside the group with the ladies from Ashby WI making bird nesting boxes and the NWLDC health and well-being team joined us to spend time in the woods, woodland thinning and each making a nest box to take home..

Chris Adams - Heartwood HQ Chair


This is to tell you a little of what happens behind the scenes to ensure the woods are ready to run wood fuel events. If any of what follow is of interest please get in touch with me by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or speak to me on events as there are opportunities to get involved.

Season planning
The wood fuel event season runs from October to March, however the planning begins by January, when decisions are made about which parts of which woods we’ll be working in. That timing is largely driven by the National Forest Company and their Woodland Management Grant (WMG) timetable. The part operations plays in that planning is to work with landowners and Kevin to produce a detailed list of work, supported with maps, that the WMG is based upon. The number of events are needed to deliver the plan are estimated and the year planner populated accordingly.

The main driver for wood fuel events is to ensure members get good boot loads of firewood in return for their efforts.

Preparation for events boils down to making sure sufficient suitable trees are marked up in the right areas so that the felling teams have plenty to go at and are appropriately separated. The key words being “sufficient”, “suitable” and “right” and it’s the decision making behind those that’s the interesting bit.

After events, progress is monitored so we know where we are against plan and can make any adjustments needed.

Forward planning
Heartwood will be applying for felling licenses in the future and right now work is happening to make the necessary measurements to calculate the amount of timber that has to be declared on the felling license.

Graham Bowers - Operations Chair

Active Together - Kevin Banton

Active Together is part of Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport (LRS) Active Partnerships Team for physical activity and sport across Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland. Helping the people of Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland to get moving a little more, in their own way.

I was approached by the team through the links we already have with the well-being team at NWLDC to ask if I would consider being a “Get Active Champion” so I could demonstrate the benefits both to health and well-being of the activity we are all doing. I agreed, so things are now moving on with 11 other “champions” who represent their hobbies and sports. Please follow the Facebook Page where you can see the marvellous work this team is carrying out. I’m also doing a regular BLOG along with the others to explain further what the health benefits can be of doing what we do.

Active Together Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/ActiveLLR

Here are the Active Together Champions ATC

Up to you if you use this link, could be setting myself up for some grief - https://www.active-together.org/meet-kevin

Timber Festival 2022

We have been contacted already as part of the planning for next years festival. So far the festival has been a joint venture between the National Forest Company and Wild Rumpus, but from next year Wild Rumpus will be taking full management of the event. 

The NFC and Wild Rumpus will still be working closely together to create a bold and enriching celebration of the National Forest and the natural world more broadly. The programme will continue to present an expression of core National Forest work that NFC lead on, such as Green Social Prescribing, Community Woods Network and Creating a Forest for Learning, as well as some of the projects supported by both National Forest Arts Grants and Forest Society Grants. In addition to this, Timber will also still celebrate and share the wider woodland culture and many of the fantastic initiatives, enterprises and creative practices developed here in the Forest. 

We're not sure what impacts this will have, but we do have a very good relationship with the directors of Wild Rumpus so expect us to continue being involved as previous years. As plans evolve I will keep everyone updated.

Website Updates

You may notice when you visit the website that we have made some improvements. The News articles now appear on the homepage and we are adding sections for the sub-committees (HQ, Nether Hall Wood etc). If you would like to become more involved in these areas please visit the website to see what activities are planned or contact the relevant sub-committee (addresses on the website) to register your interest.

David Gravett - Membership Coordinator