What's Going On?
It's been a few months since the last newsletter and a great deal has happened, so it's time to bring everyone up to date. The AGM in September was a great success with a good attendance and plenty to present and discuss. The committee has grown as a result of the officer elections, making the management of the group a little easier with more hands to share some of the work. The 2017-18 season since the last AGM has seen the group grow, not only in membership numbers, but in stature and capability. Our first formal contract is in place and we are delivering on it. Relationships have been built with other groups & organisations (more of that below) and we have made a start on our strategic direction for the next few years.
We are already halfway through the season, so lets all look forward to a productive and fun winter. Some of the important details of this are outlined below.
In the meantime can I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued hard work and to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Woodland Trust Contract & Operations
It always sounds very grand that we have an "operations" manager within the committee, but with contractual commitments and grant funding targets to hit we need someone in place making sure we achieve what we need to achieve, whilst ensuring we all get our valuable firewood and in the process enjoy what we do. Graham Bowers took on this role last season and is following through again this year. Graham has been pivotal in ensuring the contract we have with the Woodland Trust is in place and meets both our and the WT objectives. We have a two year contract which will ensure Woodcote Woods is brought back into management and the Ash which is overgrowing the Oak is removed as thinning to give the Oak a chance. This together with ride edge work and clearing of Blackthorn scrub should make vast improvements to the woodland and it's health. If you have any questions about the contract and what our commitments are I'm sure Graham will be more than happy to explain or answer questions.
Publicity and Facebook
Our public page has had a great deal of interest, driving new membership, outside interest and a great place to share what we do. Many of the members have already likes and shared the page, but if you haven't please do so to spread the word, like and share our page here with your friends - they may not directly be interested, but the more we spread the word the better the chance of finding people who are.
We have also contacted the new Swadstyle magazine and hope to have a Heartwood article in the publication soon. Helen is also providing an article for "Living Woods Magazine" so let's hope they also agree to publish our article.
Wood Fuel Session Booking
To date we have had around half of the seasons planned sessions and events. We started with Willesley Wood on the 6th October and then again the following week on the 13th. Both sessions were very well attended and good boot-loads of wood taken. We held a prep session at Woodcote Wood (WCW) on the 16th October to clear the access route for extraction of timber, that was completed on the 25th October ready for the very first full session at WCW on the 27th October. Here we use our newly acquired quad for extraction - prior to the purchase we made use of a quad kindly loaned by Robin Brooke which was invaluable in keeping the season going - thank you Robin.
On the 19th October we worked in Grangewood wood and instead of the usual tree felling we carried out tree guard removal as a priority for the landowner, but were still "paid" in logs. This was a roaring success with thousands of guards removed and good boot-loads of timber for everyone - a further session of this type was carried out in November. There will be other sessions at Grangewood that may be of other varied work, but all of interest to us and still with a boot load of logs at the end of the day.
Overall we are just about on target with grant work and the membership timber haul has been excellent. There is lots to do and a number of events outside the "usual" sessions. On the 5th Jan we will be running a chainsaw day to remove timber for sale to a local green woodworker and Graham has been running specific non-fuel days to get ahead of ride edge grant work. Please help us support the ongoing costs of the group by helping with all types of sessions.
Graham Bowers ran a couple of a specific sessions during September/October for anyone interested in running HCWG sessions during the coming season and beyond. We have made this a two stage process where the initial get together involves running through the way the sessions are managed, including important areas around risk and safety. This gave an insight into what we currently do to make the sessions safe and productive. The second stage was leadership shadowing at the sessions in October/November to bring the role to life.
We are increasing the number of sessions this year as the group and our commitments grow, so if you are interested in helping us lead the group please let us know. We already have a number of people who have completed this process and are now leading sessions. Anyone still interested in leadership please let one of the committee know.
Chris Conway, Robin Brookes and Heartwood have been planning to run an event in DWP during the season. The idea is to give local schools and residents first hand experience of what woodland management actually is and how it is carried out, in the process developing a new access route through one of the compartments in DWP. Dates of 9/10 November were pencilled in, but issues engaging schools meant it didn't happen. Dates of 8/9 March have now been agreed and planning of what form the demonstrations will take is now starting. More details will emerge over the next few weeks, but if you are interested in supporting Heartwood and this event please let one of the committee know. An event will be created so anyone can register.
Interesting Sites you may want to take a look at
woodlandantics.wordpress.com- A great source of information for Greenwood and Woodland Crafts
livingwoodsmagazine.co.uk - Free magazine packed with useful information and articles
www.wildrumpus.org.uk - Joint organisers of the TIMBER festival.