A Woodland Management Course organised by Heartwood over two consecutive Wednesdays in June was well attended by members. The course, led by Jim Waterson of Harper Adams University, began with lessons on the planning and design of new woodland and took the group through to an overview of silvicultural systems.

Fifteen Heartwood members attended the course which was a mix of classroom based learning combined with time in the woods discussing real-life management options. Themes included the identification and management of principal vertebrate pests, an introduction to coppice, high forest and wood pasture management and an introduction to management tools such as MyForest.

Willesley Wood

Members of Heartwood Community Woodfuel Group met on Wednesday 21 June for an out-of-felling-season walk in Willesley Wood near Ashby. The walk was guided by Woodland Trust volunteer and warden, Ian Retson, who has been involved with the wood since its inception.

As part of the 25 years celebrations of the National Forest three awards have been given in recognition of achievements in Woodland Creation, Woodland Management and Woodland Communities, Heartwood being nominated in the Community. Ben, Chris and Kev attended the ceremony on the 25th November at Staunton Harold Hall and although we did not win the group, we were able to share the stories and background of the many excellent projects entered in the scheme from across the forest.

The committee is pushing forward on a number of areas vital to the development of the group. We are virtually half way through the funding period originally set-out in the Black to Green project so we are now moving into the phase where we are setting the initial constitution, opening the bank account and seeking independent insurance. This will enable us to run our own sessions without the need for Ben or Chris in attendance, a significant milestone if we are to improve our flexibility to meet new challenges and potential demands of private woodland owners. We already have a couple of potential other woodlands which once we have independence we can consider and share with the wider group. Over the early part of 2017 we expect the group to develop further and will keep the membership engaged through this exciting period.