What's going on?

February and now March sessions are seeing an increase in the number of members go on the waiting lists, which is good as this shows us that there is more demand for sessions that we are currently offering.

February 12th was the first session this season that was split between two venues as there were 10 members on the waiting list at one point and February 19th is the next split venue session.

Even though purchasing more tools, an additional ATV, and Trailer have made splitting sessions between venues possible we are still reliant on having skilled members booked onto sessions. In the Last month Dave Barker has completed his leadership training and Ben Reid is starting shortly.

David Gravett - Membership Coordinator


What's In this Woodfueler

Nether Hall Wood Coppice Training

Nether Hall Wood plan update

Heartwood HQ

Training

Sales And Products

Operations

Publicity and the TV visit


Nether Hall Wood Coppice Training 

The first of two planned coppice training days took place at Nether Hall Wood on the 9th Feb. This was a collaborative event funded by the National Forest with Darren Abell leading the training. There were attendees from a number of groups who form part of the “National Forest Woodland Community”. This is a group of voluntary organisations coming together to share skills, resource and experience.

The training was held at Nether Hall so the efforts of the trainees can contribute towards the work we want to carry out there on ride-side coppice.

The second event will be ran in March and will continue the work on one of the main rides. The course attendees were given the option to take home products from their coppice work, these included bean poles, pea sticks, materials for walking sticks, hedge laying stakes and of course a little fire wood.

Kevin Banton - Nether Hall Wood Chair


Nether Hall Wood plan update

The sub-group working on the Nether Hall plan are making great progress. One of the key aspects of the plan is community engagement, so an approach has been made to the local scout group. The group leaders are very excited about working with us and will be meeting with us on the 21st Feb to run through our wider plan to see which parts of our plan fit with their objectives.

The overall plan can now be seen on the Heartwood Web site, Nether Hall Wood Plan, so please take a look and let us have any comments or ideas. There is also a new email address specifically for the sub-group which can be shared with the public if required - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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

Kevin Banton - Nether Hall Wood Chair


Heartwood HQ

Smoke from the charcoal retort has begun to drift through the Heartwood HQ woodland, a form of quiet beauty. The kettle has been boiling on the open fire and the smell of bacon and sausages invites everyone there to stop for lunch.

The tasks are managed from the job list and in addition this month 40 bird boxes were constructed from kits. This is a great way to do something different, no wood working skills required, guidance is provided. These will then be ready to go up in the other woodlands we work in to complete our grant work.

Already this season we have sold 50 boxes of charcoal. The retort requires wood to fuel it which we are running short of. This wood is usually like wood laths used in roofs, do you know of any local builders where we could source wood like this or do you have any similar suitable wood available. If you do, can you please let us know.

In the last newsletter we said we would be planning craft and skill sessions during the working party days. These craft/skill sessions will take place as well as the usual working party days, if you want to take part in a specific craft activity then please sign up on the specific craft on the events page, we need to know the demand we have for these sessions so we can put them on again or look at others.

26th February – Chainsaw skills with David Gravett – chainsaw use at home and offer advice about tool maintenance, PPE, and safety.

26th March – Greenwood Crafts – interactive session with one of our members showing their craft skills. e.g., spoon carving

Remember these days are for you as members to do other things, it is a great opportunity to get to know other members of the group that otherwise we probably only see briefly at wood fuel sessions. To gauge interest in some of the Craft activities that we could run at HQ we have created a Craft Activities Interest survey on the website.

Chris Adams - Heartwood HQ Chair


Training

Congratulations to Steve Pope on the news he has passed his cross-cutting and felling course, extending our pool of chainsaw operators, many of who have recently refreshed their certificates for another three years.

A big thank you to all those who undertook first aid held in November. Dates are being finalised for this year's first aid courses. More details will follow in due course, but if you are interested in attending the course (it's one day and the group pays for it) then drop an email over to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Finally good luck to Andrew Bellamy who attended his stump treatment course recently.

Robin Barber - Training Coordinator


Sales and Products

The charcoal producing season is well and truly up and running. We have already produced over 50 boxes and we have orders for many more in preparation for the BBQ season (starting at Easter). There are quite a few of the membership who are familiar with running the charcoal burner, so if you have time to run a burn please feel free to go up to HQ.

In order to keep a little control on this we are running a simple diary on the web page, Charcoal Schedule, so anyone can see at a glance if someone is planning to run a burn. Please contact me if you would like a slot on the diary - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you would like to learn how to use the charcoal retort please get in touch or register for one of the working parties, we run the burner at every one and have plenty of quality time to train new users. How can you resist learning how to make the monster breath fire?

Kevin Banton - Heartwood Chair


Operations

25 Woodfuel sessions have been run in four woods so far this season, amounting to 135 cubic metres of timber in boot loads, and approaching 2000 trees. Demand for places on some dates is so strong it’s sometimes become necessary to run two sessions at the same time in two different woods – so called split sessions.

Foxley Wood

The planned work for Foxley Wood is on track to be completed by the end of the season, with the grant work targeted for completion the end of February.

The felling license that is in place for Foxley is due to run out early March and a new license has been applied for. It’s currently working its way through the systems of the Forestry Commission, and it’s hoped it’ll be issued in good time. If not, there is a contingency plan in place such that wood fuel sessions can continue uninterrupted, albeit elsewhere.

Edwards Wood

There’s a felling license application for Edwards Wood in process too, and that’ll be issued imminently. All the necessary due diligence steps have taken place and it’s been submitted for final signoff.

Work has been limited at Edwards due the absence of a felling license, it’s only allowed to fell 5 cubic metres per calendar quarter. The grant work is being done within that limitation and will be completed at the next work party – or possibly at a split session when the felling license comes through.

Woodcote Wood.

The 19th Feb session will be split, with a small team going in to Woodcote to fell the last of the extractable timber.

Donisthorpe Woodland Park

It’s expected the 19th Feb session in DWP will pretty much finish up the tree plot we’ve been working in this season. Plans are in place to move to a new plot, and the beginnings of an extraction route have been marked up in preparation for one team to begin felling on 19th.

The clearings created by the removal of Ash will be replanted, perhaps this autumn. Species being considered are Small Leaved Lime, Red Oak and perhaps other Oak species, Rowan, Field Maple and Crab Apple. It’s anticipated Heartwood members will have the opportunity to be involved.

Graham Bowers - Operations Chair


Publicity and the TV visit

At the time of going to press there are plans for "East Midlands Today" to attend our Woodfuel Session on the 15th Feb at Foxley Wood. The local news team are interested in what we do and how this may help people manage their fuel costs, a “hot” topic at present. I’m sure there will be lots to report back from this.

We have had a busy period with the media of late. The Woodland Trust filmed an interview with a number of the membership at Nether Hall Wood on the 2nd Feb as part of the video diary of our management of the site (they will carry out two further visits over the coming months). There should also be a small article in “Swadstyle” magazine in March about our work at Nether Hall Wood so keep an eye out.

Kevin Banton - Heartwood Chair