New course links tree growers with wood users

A unique ‘Woodland to Workshop’ course from the charity Woodland Heritage, held from 24 to 26 September 2024, will bring together tree growers, wood users and beyond to learn how to make the most of the vital connections between our woodlands and workshops.

This ground-breaking course is supported by knowledgeable practitioners from the forestry and timber industries and is based at The Duchy of Cornwall’s woodland, Whitney Sawmills and at the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) all in Herefordshire.

‘Woodland to Workshop’ has three key audiences. The first is growers such as woodland owners, foresters and nurseries. The second is processors and users of wood, such as makers, architects, artists, renovators and those in construction, hobbyists, millers, buyers, arborists and sustainability experts.

Finally, with woodlands and wood being so well loved the course also appeals to those in education, campaigners, scientists and those working in the public and third sectors.

Woodland Heritage is a charity creating a thriving UK wood culture that benefits our environment, all people and our economy. It champions the good use of home-grown timber from sustainable, productive woodlands for the benefit of present and future generations.

Through a combination of demonstration sites, research, education, membership and outreach, the charity builds on the wisdom and skills of the past to weather the challenges of tomorrow.

Kester Hoefkens is a trained cabinet maker and furniture designer and manages Woodlab, a makers’ space and workshop focused on using locally grown sustainably sourced timber. Kester attended the most recent course and said:

“I loved the class introduction; breaking the ice and getting a broad view of what the attendees were about. It was great to see the different ends of the industry come together. The Duchy’s woodlands at Shenmore was a great day; the insights on the woodland were top notch and the amount of information passed on was mind blowing!”

Attendee numbers are restricted to enable a ‘hands on’ and highly interactive approach, ensuring a learning opportunity of enduring quality that has been enjoyed by hundreds of passionate people over the years.

NMITE, which already has a strong reputation in the timber industry through its Timber Technology Engineering Design (TED) courses, was delighted to partner with Woodland Heritage in 2023 and is looking to replicate its teaching success again in 2024.

Describing this as a perfect partnership “where Woodland Heritage’s remit finishes, NMITE’s teaching takes over”, NMITE Assistant Professor Steve Bertasso says: “Timber and woodlands need to sit at the centre of sustainable solutions now and in the future. The built environment is the world’s largest producer and consumer of greenhouse gas emissions. Creating solutions through and from natural, renewable sources, like timber, produces fewer emissions than other building materials. The new partnership between Woodland Heritage and NMITE brings together the two ends of a circular building industry.”

Geraint Richards, Head Forester to the Duchy of Cornwall and to His Majesty The King and Woodland to Workshop Course founder said:

“I have been teaching on Woodland Heritage’s wonderful Woodland to Workshop courses since they began. The fact that the attendees are drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds makes the discussions so varied and stimulating. It’s vital that we increase the understanding around the management of our trees and woodlands and the use of the products we can derive from them and the Woodland to Workshop courses are an exciting means of helping achieve this.”

The course costs £600 and you can book your place and find out more at www.woodlandheritage.org/woodland-to-workshop