Since we arrived in 2004, we’ve wanted to stop vehicles driving right in front of the cafe where people are working, talking, playing, drinking coffee. It’s taken a lot of preparation to get to this point. And now we’re in the thick of the work. It would not be possible without Mike Stiller on the digger and Jake Reed on the tools and Frank Morrish on the roller – helping Dan to make this happen. Thank you. And we look forward to having a celebratory drink in the new courtyard soon. Apologies for inconveniences in the mean-time.
Our weekly group for home educating families is focused on preparations for Christmas and Winter Solstice celebrations. One of the parents has come up with a brilliant idea for creating a world of woody creature decorations – they will be coming to you at the Christmas Fayres in December. But people have been placing orders already so don’t hang around.
A really good turn out for the last Stewardship Saturday of the year. We made great progress on all fronts. And were rewarded with delicious lunch and warm cake. And a talk about my PhD: ‘Building a community together’: the meanings of manual work and outdoor play at Kilquhanity and Wennington, 1940-today.
Bat Park is an area in the middle of the wood where the chestnut coppice was diseased so we had to rethink the area. In 2016, we clearfelled the coppice and landscaped the area – including creating a giant stumpery circle. Last year, we planted saplings – mostly acacia. And this year, we’ve seeded a grass seed in the hopes of creating a typical Wealden grassland. Many thanks to David who is championing the monitoring and progress of this area – and led a fantastic team of volunteers in the sowing of the seed.
Our monthly working party for members was very well attended so we got loads done. Bat Park is ready for trying again with the meadow. A dangerous board walk has been removed. A sheep pen has been built. And the last part of the summer’s framing was completed. And we updated all the notice-boards on the front of the cafe. And picked lots of apples. Good work everyone.
Martin Brockman – local woody artist – joined our working-with-wood-week to create a pot out of local materials fired in a wheelbarrow with wood from the wood. He made a pot to add to his collection which he is creating over the coming months in different land-based projects and communities. And worked with the children to create and fire their own pots. It was a wonderful part of the week – in spite of the heat wave temperatures that Martin had to work in!
We’ve been chipping away at the new Wood House frame with help of return French architecture wwoofer – Anna Tombroff – and forthcoming groom at the woods – Sam. Wedding couples for 2019 have all been asked to come and contribute to the wood – Sam has definitely fulfilled his side of the bargain.
With the help of expert framer Jesse Mitchell, the home-team and various other volunteers of all ages, we’ve arrived at the historic moment of the first frame up. Celebrations. But lots more to do. Watch this space over the next couple of months. Andrew Coates Woodland Products should be in their new home from the autumn.
A group of 11 Uckfield College pupils between the ages of 12 and 14 came for a week of wood-work, stewardship, fire-lighting, shelter-building, pizza making and football fun. This was the first year that we offered the wood as an option for the school’s enrichment week. We very much enjoyed it and were really impressed by the skills which the kids brought to the wood – including blacksmithing – which meant we could make a metal pizza oven door – some things are better made of metal!
Another great team – and we’re so close to getting over the line on the 3,000 shingles we need for the new Wood House roof. Plus others looked after the Christmas tree field and tackled Rhododendra….all crucial work. Thank you.
Photography by Beth Mercer.
Great celebrations in the wood as the bees who arrived at Wilderness Wood last year and have been looked after so brilliantly by Jonathan, Roberta and Dave, have produced honey – and we, humans, have 12 pots of it – leaving them lots to keep them going through the winter.
The building was completed at 10pm on the Saturday ready for the German Montessori students to move into on the Sunday. Various groups have booked it since for 13th and 9th birthday parties – a big hit- especially in this good weather. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to hire it.
No more Uckfield boys to help out on Friday afternoons but Friday Club has stepped into the breach. And Nick (current carpenter in residence) and Dan have done some long shifts – but in the most beautiful building site ever so we don’t feel too sorry for them. We’re racing to get it ready for the arrival of Kissori school from Germany who come every year to camp, help out and improve their English. Under Oak is available to hire for groups of up to 20.
The Uckfield boys came in for their last Friday afternoon working on Under Oak. We tested the structure by removing the supports – and it worked! Everyone very happy. Many thanks to all the Uckfield BTEC construction boys and the staff who made this project possible.
Photography by Beth Mercer.