WICKED Branching Out / Egin Spring 2013
February - April One Tree Day
Over 20 artists and Craftspeople, as well as pupils from Ysgol
Llanfarian, converged at Coed Tyllwyd in Llanfarian to explore
the creative possibilities provided by a single Sweet Chestnut
tree. The ‘One Tree Project’
artists & craftspeople the
select a section of Sweet
take away with them
See page 8
Coed Tyllwyd Woodland Fair Llanfarian (near Aberystwyth)
variety of products. The Sweet Chestnut will provide the cross
beams for a building, turned bowls, sculptures and rustic furniture amongst the products. The tree was felled and then cut into sections, some of which
Join us for Creative activities, demonstrations & family fun
boards, to provide suitable timber for the artists and craftspeople.
pupils constructed a bench from Tyllwyd timber for their school garden. The tree felling is part of a low-impact thinning operation carried out by WiseWoods Wales, Tir Coed’s Social Enterprise, which manages Coed Tyllwyd, a 23ha mixed plantation on a woodland site, owned by Forestry Commission Wales. Continued on page 11
Inside this Newsletter
Communities And Nature The VINE Pilot Monitoring and Evaluation Agored Cymru News The Apprenticeship Project Branching Out/Egin News WiseWoods Wales
Communities And Nature Pengelli Forest, Eglwyswrw June 2012 to March 2013 Lead: Support: Tasters: Sessions: No. volunteer days: No. volunteer hours: Total no. volunteers No. current volunteers:
Jamie Miller Steve Parkin 4 32 156 927 19 6
With a new volunteer on board, the 6 current
volunteers completed the programme of works at Pengelli on 12th March, marking the end of 9 months of volunteer work at this reserve. The volunteer programme at Pengelli Forest has been a dynamic project which has seen 19 young people taking part. Although it was sad to end the project at Pengelli Forest, the volunteers have achieved a great deal and the Reserve is all the better for it. Despite extremely muddy conditions, the new 400 metre footpath and walkway are completed; allowing access to 2km of footpaths which were previously difficult to access. The new Reserve Welcome sign is also completed; the name of the woodland was carved into an oak board by the volunteers, and this, as well as routed boards were erected at the Reserve entrance. It is hoped that this will attract more visitors to the site. The group felled an oak tree and stripped the bark to make benches as seating around the fire circle for primary school use.
Accreditation: Agored Cymru Unit Ancillary Structures to Access Routes
Level Total Achieved 2
Communities And Nature Coed Penglanowen & Old Warren Hill, Aberystywth - March to June 2013 Leads: Rob Smith & Bob Shaw Support: Trina Earl Sessions: 15 No. volunteer days: 58 No. volunteer hours: 351 Total no. volunteers 11 No. current volunteers: 7
This new and final CAN programme for Tir Coed began on the 7th March with 6 volunteers. The programme is running for 2 days a week until mid-summer, and is led alternately by Bob Shaw and Rob Smith, supported by Trina Earl. This programme will create new visitor facilities for these 2 adjacent Wildlife Trust reserves, which historically formed part of the Nanteos estate. The group got stuck into the work with the creation and installation of an entrance archway for the Coed Penglanowen Reserve. The volunteers began by sawing up sections of a previously fallen oak and cleaving the sections into 2, lengthwise, using cleaving wedges. The volunteers then dragged out the sections to the Reserve entrance where the entrance archway is to be installed. The group used drawknives and spokeshaves to strip the bark and sapwood off the outside of the logs, before flattening off the cleaved sides with adzes. A chainsaw mill was brought in to the Old Warren Hill Reserve, which is directly opposite Coed Penglanowen, to plank up oak for the benches. The group were inspired by the process, with volunteer, Andrew Scott (who has his chainsaw license) helping out with the milling. The entrance archway was finished off by carving the name of the Reserve into the arch and making cleaved post & rail fencing and a gate. The group have also already made 12 metres of boardwalk to enable visitors to the Reserve to traverse the site, even on wet days! The group will move onto making an archway for the neighbouring Old Warren Hill reserve, before creating benches and installing information panels.
Communities And Nature Poor Man’s Wood, Llandovery March 2013 Lead: Jamie Miller Support: Ray Miller Sessions: 4 No. volunteer days: 12 No. volunteer hours: 72 Total no. volunteers 3 No. current volunteers: 3
Although the second Branching Out programme at Poor Man’s Wood ended in October, there was a short extension to the project during February to enable coppicing works along the footpath at the base of the reserve to be completed. 3 volunteers, all of whom have taken part in the previous programmes at Poor Man’s Wood, spent 4 days coppicing the hazel next to the main footpath to improve the access. The hazel was over-stood and some of it is was in danger of falling over and causing collapse to sections of the footpath. 3 volunteers attended all 4 of the sessions, and achieved 300 metres of coppicing, from which they made a ‘dead hedge’ which improves the aesthetics of the footpath substantially. The volunteers and Instructors saved piles of cut hazel for firewood & craft purposes; one volunteer finding a perfect shank for a walking stick for collection at a later date. When the ground conditions are drier, the farmer who owns the adjacent field will allow vehicle access over his land to collect the wood.
Volunteering In the Natural Environment (VINE) Pilot Bolbro Woods, Abermule, Powys November 2012 to March 2013 Lead: Colin Titley Support: Carol Thomas Tasters: 4 Sessions: 33 No. volunteer days: 97 No. volunteer hours: 728 Total no. volunteers 5 No. current volunteers 3
This small hard working group have been totally committed to developing new skills even when faced with the most atrocious weather throughout the winter. They have battled on in the snow, rain, hail & high winds - finding different tasks to complete dependant on what was the safest and most appropriate. The range of woodland management and countryside skills on offer has been varied, seeing the group complete coppicing, small tree felling, splitting, cleaving, cutting for firewood, stacking, making and installing benches, fencing, habitat piles and then also focusing on more individual coppice crafts. They have all successfully completed a Level 1 Agored Cymru unit; Sustainable Woodland Management
3: Introduction to Wood
Processing. This last VINE project group has brought the 12 month pilot to a close. It has been a challenging time with larger numbers of volunteers drifting in and out of the project groups. However, there has been a solid core who have gained many new skills, much more confidence and have benefitted greatly from the close support that has been given. Accreditation: Agored Cymru Unit Sustainable Woodland Management 3: Introduction to Wood Processing
Level Total Achieved 1
Monitoring and Evaluation Monitoring Questionnaire Positive feedback comments from project participants. How do you feel this project has helped you? “It’s been really good; helped
“Gets me out of the house to
me deal with stress in my life
learn a few things .. Keeps me
& it’s given young people an
away from negative stuff.”
insight into life & work.”
“Confidence & self-esteem … I’m a more practical person so the course has helped me -
“Helped me stay out of
I’ve really enjoyed the work”
trouble & learn more skills”
Do you think you have achieved more than you expected to?
“Yes - Calculating how tall and wide a tree is”
“I feel happy when I’m here (in the woods) but not when I’m in town Normally I don’t remember things well but I am on this project!”
“I have found many new friends in my area thanks to the course. I have learned about various aspects of owning and working in the
“Yes - waking up in the morning and committing to the project”
What would you be doing if you hadn’t been on this project?
woodland. I am further along in my driving training thanks to the course”
“Yes, trusting others and teamwork”
“Getting p***** on the streets with my mates”
“Would be on probation - and in more trouble!”
Accreditation Agored Cymru News Presentation of workbooks & certificates for Agored Cymru Level 2 - Ancillary Structures to Access Routes
Left to right: Becky Hulme (Project Officer), Gary Phillips; Sion Evans, Jamie Miller (Tutor), Harley Goldsack & Steve Parkin (Support Worker)
New Units Tir Coed has recently developed 2 new Agored Cymru units in Timber Framing: ‘Understanding Traditional Timber Frame Construction’ & ‘Practical Traditional Timber Frame Construction’ The units are at level 3, which equates to A-level standard and are specifically designed for Tir Coed trainees to progress onto once they have completed the level 1 & 2 units in ‘Construction of a Basic Wooden Shelter’. They will be trialled by the new Tir Coed wood construction apprentice.
Tir Coed Annual Quality Review For Tir Coed to retain the Agored Cymru Approved Centre status each year it must pass a Quality Review. This took place at the end of April and again was a very positive 2-way process. Discussions highlighted some good practice as well as making suggestions for a few possible improvements to our own Quality systems. These system updates will improve the overall quality of Tir Coed’s work and will ensure that any participants who enrol on accredited Tir Coed courses benefit from the support that is in place. This will give each individual the best possible chance of achieving their awards with an experience that can be tailor made to meet their needs. A selection of unit workbooks were also Externally Verified on the same day and Tir Coed’s processes again received positive responses from the External Verifier and Quality Reviewer. “The centre is proactive in supporting staff to attend Agored Cymru standardisation events to develop understanding and improve practice which exceeds the Agored Cymru centre requirements.”
The Apprenticeship Project Case Study: Milo Ames Milo Ames is being mentored by Woodsman Rob Smith and is undertaking a variety of woodland work with WiseWoods Wales, at Rob’s wood in New Quay, and also assisting Rob on Tir Coed volunteer projects.
“I know what I want to do now – work in the woods.” Milo has been working hard with Rob to bring an undermanaged woodland back to health. This has involved tree selection and felling, as well as bramble clearance. Milo has undertaken a 3-day chainsaw training course and has since passed his crosscutting assessment, choosing to wait until he has more experience before undertaking the felling assessment. He has also been helping WiseWoods with workbench construction and path creation. Milo found academic studies difficult throughout secondary school and struggled to thrive in a classroom environment. At 16 years old, with only 3 basic GCSEs, Milo felt lost, with no idea of a career path and little optimism about his future. However, a close friend started on a woodland skills course with Tir Coed and encouraged Milo to join up as well. It didn’t take long for Milo to realise that woodland work was his forte. Milo bonded well with the Tutor, Ben Grey, and when the Tir Coed course came to an end, Ben helped Milo to extend his woodland training. Initially this was through a placement with Rathbone Training, before progressing onto a 6 month training placement with Ben through Ceredigion Training. Milo’s woodland skills increased rapidly during this period, learning felling and coppicing techniques using hand tools, as well as timber conversion, gate-making and hedge-laying. Milo soon discovered that he had a talent for wood turning, and over time, his work on the pole lathe has progressed to a very high standard. Milo commented; “I know what I want to do now – work in the woods.” Milo recently became a father, a responsibility that he takes very seriously. He added: “knowing that I’ve got the basis of a solid career in the woods makes the ‘teenage father experience’ less terrifying. I am proud to be able to contribute to my baby’s welfare.” As well as the 3 days that Milo works in the woods as part of his Apprenticeship, his enthusiasm is such that he still volunteers with Ben Grey for 2 days a week at Pen yr Allt woods, Nanternis helping with volunteer groups and managing this riparian woodland with Ben.
The Apprenticeship Project Woodland Management Apprenticeships The 2 woodland management apprentices, Milo and Tony, are progressing well. Both apprentices helped out at the ‘One Tree Day’ at Coed Tyllwyd, Tony leading a benchmaking activity with a local school group. They are progressing with their Agored Cymru level 3 course in Sustainable Woodland Management. Milo recently passed his chainsaw cross-cutting assessment (CS30) and hopes to progress onto his CS31, felling certification soon. Tir Coed is currently looking for placement proposals from local woodland management businesses that could provide suitable placements experiences and opportunities for the next 2 woodland management apprentices. The new positions will be advertised in early September.
Wood Construction Apprenticeship After interviews in late March, where 4 candidates took part in a practical exercise to make a saw horse (looks simple but is more complicated than meets the eye!), a new wood construction apprentice was selected. Chris Owen (aka ‘Blue’) started work on April 15th. He is fortunate enough to be placed with traditional timber framer and woodsman, Jamie Miller, who has a range of innovative build projects lined up. Chris started work by helping to raise a timber frame for a picnic shelter which had been formed previously, at Teifi Marshes reserve near Cardigan. This build project also employed 3 other previous Tir Coed trainees. Since then, Chris has assisted Jamie in the construction of a framed smoking shelter for Coleg Ceredigion, and will shortly be moving onto assisting Jamie on a Tir Coed furniture-making project with YMCA volunteers in Llandovery. Jamie is also a Warden with Coedwig Gymunedol Long Wood Community Woodland, Lampeter, so Chris will have the opportunity to assist Jamie with felling and processing tasks alongside other work; adding an extra dimension to his training experience.
Branching Out/ Egin News Pengelli School Sessions
17 pupils from Ysgol Eglwyswrw took part in 3 forest school sessions at Coed Penglanowen, where Branching Out volunteers have been working to improve facilities since last June. Mellissa Holloway led the sessions, supported by Jasmine Dale. On their first session, the pupils and 2 teaching staff arrived at Pengelli Forest Reserve and ran up the track into the woodland clearing and the new fire circle with great enthusiasm. The session started with a name game and tracking games before moving onto storytelling. The session focused on the story of Culhwch and Olwen from the Mabinogion, as the giant boar known as Twrch Trwyth which stars in the story, is the subject of the wooden sculpture made by the volunteer group. The excellent facilitators then guided the children to make a short performance piece based on the story of Culhwch and Olwen, which they impressively carried off. The second session focused on environmental patterns. Inspired by the land art of Andrew Goldsworthy, the children then created their own land art, using found materials from the site. On the final session, the group were introduced to the campfire and had a Feedback: “The storytelling .. was especially effective as go making fire with a flint the forest helped with the atmosphere and it was very and striker, before toasting some relevant to the Welsh curriculum. In general, their (the marshmallows; always a popular pupils’) behaviour was different from what it is at school - activity! maybe they felt like they had more freedom to express their The school is planning to use Pengelli personalities as it’s different from their (usual) learning Forest as a base for some of their Urdd After School sessions. Many of environment” Ms Jones (teacher) the children also said that they would “I didn’t like the smoke. That’s the only thing.” ask their parents to bring them back “I liked everything. I enjoyed the rope course and getting to the site. In this way it is hoped that muddy. We made things out of sticks & moss.” the school sessions will encourage “I extremely liked the marshmallow toasting.” more use of this Reserve by local School pupils people.
More Branching Out/ Egin News n
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One Tree Day
WiseWoods Wales is working to restore the ancient woodland at Coed Tyllwyd through selective thinning and low-impact management techniques. Thinning the woodland canopy at Coed Tyllwyd will allow more light into the lower layers and encourage more woodland flora and associated wildlife. WiseWoods Manager, Andy Bakewell commented: “The day was a fantastic success! The turnout and interest in this event has been absolutely amazing, with the WiseWoods and Tir Coed staff and volunteers pulling together to make a splendid day for both the participants and the woodland itself. I can’t wait to see the finished products in the summer!” The ‘One Tree Day’ participants will come together again at the Coed Tyllwyd Open Day at Llanfarian on Saturday 27th July where, among other attractions, the finished products from the Sweet Chestnut tree will be exhibited and sold. Tir Coed Project Manager, Becky Hulme commented: “The One Tree Project has brought people together to demonstrate the wealth of uses of local, sustainable sources of timber. From when it was first planted, through its years of growth and management, to the felling of the tree and its milling, to the wood users that will be working with the chestnut timber; all of this forms part of the tree’s life story. The full story of the tree will be on display at the Coed Tyllwyd Open Day, which will be open to all.”
Coed Simdde Walk Despite freezing weather and snow, 7 people took part in a guided walk at Coed Simdde Lwyd in the Rheidol valley in March. Bird expert and naturalist, Red Liford, led the walk, which looped around the Wildlife Trust reserve, along the new 1.5 kilometre path that Branching Out volunteers completed back in December. Due to the cold weather, bird activity was minimal, but Red was a fount of knowledge on all aspects of flora and fauna, and was never short of an interesting fact or anecdote. The new footpath connects up 2 paths and enables visitors to have a circular walk through this stunning sessile oak woodland which forms part of a NNR. Be warned - the footpath is only suitable for intrepid walkers, as the site is on an extremely steep slope, although it’s well worth the effort.
WiseWoods Wales (WWW) WiseWoods Wales Update With the New Year, WiseWoods has really begun to hit its stride. After a newspaper advert seeking more volunteers, WiseWoods now has an excellent and loyal team. Their efforts are being rewarded by practical on-the-job training and by free chainsaw training. So far, the 2 WiseWoods workers have attained their full NPTC chainsaw felling qualification, with 3 more attaining their maintenance and crosscutting qualification. The WiseWoods staff have successfully achieved training and qualifications in tractor driving, winch operation and sawmilling. Now that most of the big capital purchases have been made, WiseWoods is starting to settle into planning operations more efficiently as well as designing and marketing products. An excellent contract was received from the local Community Council and County Council for the provision of 7 heavy duty benches for the local cycle and walking trail. This contract has been completed and the benches are appreciated. WiseWoods has also been working with a local artist to fit out his barn with wall cladding, flooring, tables and benches. It is now clear that there is more demand for our products than we can currently meet. Most custom comes by word-of-mouth, and it is clear that our chosen product range is something that cannot easily be sourced elsewhere; our unique selling points are high durability and chunky styling. There have been many opportunities to give something back to the local community by offering guided walks and talks to a group of people with limited mobility, by donating bird box kits to the local school and by offering training opportunities for people with special educational needs. WiseWoods has also benefitted greatly from â€˜One Tree Dayâ€™ organised by Tir Coed, where local artists attended an open day and each took away part of one tree to make into a product for display and sale in July. The main focus now is on the Aberystwyth Show on June 8th. WiseWoods will be taking our tractor, trailer and mill to the show to demonstrate milling and product making. We are also building up a large stock of Spring products for sale at the show. Please come along and show your support! We are now demonstrating the effectiveness of our strategy of developing attractive products and then felling trees to make them. Coed Tyllwyd is in need of thinning, and the more demand we get, the more woodland gets managed. With the arrival of spring, it is clear that our winter management efforts, driven by product demand, are really starting to make a difference to wildlife and biodiversity in the wood. It is also abundantly clear that the benefits of training and work experience offered by our activities are being felt by all WiseWoods staff and volunteers.
Published on Jul 2, 2013