What's going on?

This season has been a real challenge with lots of variables making session planning interesting to say the least! I’m glad to say that through the efforts of the committee we are now set fair to complete the season well and indeed next season should be a great deal smoother.

The felling licences for Foxley Wood and Edwards Wood are now fully authorised by Forestry England and see us through the next 5 years.

The grant claims for this season have been submitted and the grant applications for next season are already agreed with the National Forest team.

We fully intend taking a long hard look at how the season has gone this winter. Increased membership numbers and session attendances has become a serious consideration so we will take a look at that as well. If you have any views on any aspect of the group please feel free to let us have your ideas. We have an annual strategic review which will be carried out in the "closed" season - you are welcome to contribute.

We will issue the end of season stats as soon as we wrap-up the last sessions, so you can get a feel for how we have done.

Kevin Banton - Heartwood Chair


What's In this Woodfueler

Nether Hall Wood

Nether Hall Wood, Meeting with Derbyshire Bat Group

Heartwood HQ

Charnwood Heritage Education Project

Training


Nether Hall Wood 

A meeting took place on the 21st Feb with the leaders of Hartshorne Scout Group to run through the work we are planning at Nether Hall Wood and to look at how the various age groups could potentially get involved. The meeting was very positive and left both the Heartwood team and the scout leaders with lots to think about.

The following weekend the group were off on a weekend camp, so we provided them with half a dozen bags of logs from the stock at HQ.

Their weekend was a success with a number of the group making nest boxes. The scout leaders asked me to pop into their evening meeting to talk through Nether Hall and opportunities for involvement with the youngsters. I spent a lovely 40 minutes talking with the group about all aspects of woodland management and conservation outlining how they can earn a number of their badges from the engagement they can have with us. They presented me with the nest boxes they had made, so as soon as we get a reasonable spell of weather we can arrange to meet them at the wood put up.

As always with these type of projects let me know if you would like to be involved This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Kevin Banton - Nether Hall Wood Chair


Nether Hall Wood, Meeting with Derbyshire Bat Group

On the 26th of February, Zoe Sewter of the National Forest Company, Helen Bralesford and Dave Barker both from Heartwood, met with Steve Roe the Vice Chair Derbyshire Bat Group at Nether Hall Wood on the edge of Hartshorne. The aim of the walk around the woodland was to establish what aspects Heartwood and The Woodland Trust should consider when planning and executing the next phase of the management plan for the woodland to improve it as bat habitat.

Although of a modest size and maturity, Nether Hall was stated by Steve to be a potentially good site for several species of bats. Of special note was the presence of some mature boundary trees, the streams on the site and also the wetland which can provide good feeding opportunities. An example of the other things Steve asked us to consider were the planting / encouragement of understory, (smaller trees and shrubs) which are mostly absent at the moment, as it is very important to slow down air flow to allow bats to hunt for food, but also as habitat for the insects which bats feed on.

Steve suggested that as a next step two sets of studies be conducted this year to establish what species of bat are currently present. The first in May and the second in August / September. The two studies were suggested as different species are active at different times of the year. Heartwood would then be given feedback on the species of bats present and advised on any specific steps we should consider in plans for the site. If you would like to get involved in helping to make Nether Hall more "batty", please get in touch This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Kevin Banton - Nether Hall Wood Chair


Heartwood HQ

The February days at HQ have been productive, there is a demand for the charcoal with another 62 boxes sold. If you would like to have a go and learn how to make charcoal book onto Saturday 26th March where we have 3 spaces left for a dedicated ‘How to’ session.

It was great to see a good attendance at the chainsaw skills session with David Gravett where he offered advice about tool maintenance, PPE, safety, and other skills. Watch the calendar for the next one if you missed this one.

"It really has helped de-mystify, what I felt was, the dark art of sharpening the chain.", Jeff T.

Coming up:

26th March - Planned activities with Greenwood crafts, interactive session with some of our members showing their craft skills, and how to make charcoal.

Plus a regular day at HQ if you just fancy time in the woods with lunch by the fire.

8th April - Planned activities include besom making – have a go at making a ‘broom of twigs’ from the wood we have all cut down in the local woodlands.

As the felling season comes to an end remember you can sign up to the HQ days to have some time in the woods. If there is a craft that you would like to do we may have the tools for you to have a go.

Chris Adams - Heartwood HQ Chair


Charnwood Heritage Education Project

Heartwood have been working with a small team from the National Forest and Loughborough University on a specific part of a larger project across Charnwood Forest

https://www.nationalforest.org/about/projects/charnwood-forest

We have been asked to work on a heritage education project looking at charcoal making as an industry in Charnwood and together with Susan Kilby of the National Forest have developed an educational package for delivery to local schools. Myself, Simon Starkey and Andrew Bellamy attended a trial run of the package on a rather wet day at the beginning of March, where we operated the charcoal retort whilst going through the educational material. The package is very professionally put together and may present a funding stream for the group when complete. If you would like to know more please let me know.

Kevin Banton - Heartwood Chair


Training

First Aid Courses. The group cannot operate without a bank of first aiders and each year we train or refresh up to 24 people on funded courses. The training is a one day course, starting at 9am and finishing at 4pm ish and covers a range of skills and topics. In particular, it includes major bleeds which for operating in the woodlands is essential. The certification lasts for three years. Two courses have been booked for Thursday 25th August and Saturday 17th September and you can register your interest in attending by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Robin Barber - Training Coordinator