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February 20 @ 9:00 am - February 21 @ 5:00 pm£95
Spend a whole weekend deep in the wild woods of North Wales. Learn how to manage woodlands sustainably, craft your own charcoal and discover traditional woodland skills.
This weekend course is ideal for anyone who has access to woodland (or dreams of owning one) and wants to learn the skills to manage it better, both for wildlife and for sustainable coppice products such as firewood, charcoal and greenwood crafts. You will be guided through the weekend by an experienced tutor, surrounded by the fantastic Aberduna nature reserve, set in the Clwydian Range (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty)
For Sunday lunch you’ll be sitting around the campfire to enjoy a home-made Welsh Cawl (traditional lamb stew) served with fresh crusty bread and a wedge of mature cheese. Good winter fuel for woodsy-people. Vegan option also available on request.
- Native tree identification
- Traditional coppicing techniques
- Ideas for craft projects using coppiced wood
- How to use brash to improve woodlands for wildlife
- How to make bean poles and pea sticks from hazel
- How to make your own charcoal kiln
- Loading, firing, sealing and unloading the kiln
- How to make your own artists charcoal from willow
- The history of coppicing & charcoal burning
- How to use hand tools safely; axe, billhook & saw
Who This Course Aimed At
- Newcomers to traditional woodland skills
- Owners of small woodlands or smallholdings
- Wildlife enthusiasts who want to better understand how habitats are managed
- Students of countryside management
- Anyone who dreams of owning their own woods someday
This course is aimed at adults aged 18 or over. We can accept students as young as 16 years, but they must be accompanied by an adult.
Your Tutor: James Kendall
James is the Head Bushcraft Instructor at Woodland Classroom, having worked in outdoor education & conservation for over 10 years. James’ approach to teaching steers students toward fostering a deeper connection with nature through understanding the landscape around us; “Bushcraft skills are an effective way to do this as we learn how to make use of natural materials and live lightly with the land, whilst also connecting with our own ancient past by seeing the land through the eyes of our ancestors.”
In 2017 James received the Bushcraft Competency Certificate awarded through the Institute for Outdoor Learning after 2 years of teaching experience and practical study. He is also a member of the IOL Bushcraft Professional Practise Group. The group aims to promote best practice in the growing industry of bushcraft activity providers.
This course is being run in partnership with North Wales Wildlife Trust who aim to increase biodiversity at the site, creating a mosaic of rich habitats for threatened plants and animals. The Trust’s Reserves Manager will be giving us a walking tour of the site to explain how the coppicing work is improving the habitat for wildlife and wildflowers.
Skills you will learn
Over the course of the programme you will learn a range of skills, including…
Why Make Your Own Charcoal?
So much of the charcoal that is sold in our supermarkets and garage forecourts is imported from unsustainable, foreign sources and the crazy thing is that our own native, hardwood charcoal is so much better quality. There’s been a resurgence of interest in producing homegrown charcoal, which supports sustainable management of British woodlands. So, isn’t it time you joined the UK charcoal revival?
Charcoal has so many uses, not just cooking, but as a slug deterrent on your vegetable beds to the wonders of biochar for improving soil. We will show you how to make your own charcoal kiln for small-scale use, using recycled materials. Every participant will take away a bag of charcoal.
What is Coppicing?
The future of woodlands relies on effective management, just as a garden needs constant maintenance and care to thrive. Trees must be thinned to grow well and invasive species like bramble have to be managed so that they don’t dominate other plants.
So what is coppicing? Well it’s is an ancient form of woodland management, that involves repetitive felling of the same stump, near to ground level, and allowing the shoots to regrow from that main stump. Coppicing creates a variety of micro-habitats within a woodland which become homes for specialised wildlife such as dormice (above) and butterflies.
Coppicing also produces loads of useful timber products that are still used today. Woodlands that have a reason to be managed, perhaps for timber, firewood, access or green woodworking, are more likely to receive care and attention long into their future, and indeed those woodlands that we have today have survived precisely because they have had an economic value to the local community, “the wood that pays is the wood that stays.”