Wednesday 26th Apr '17

Outdoor Kitchen – progress

Dan and his team have been squaring up the frame and bracing it ready to receive roofing planks.  They have also been building the central structure to support fire-bowl, grill and flu which have been made by local metal fabricator, Ben Floyd, and  Bristolian fabricator – Olly Hallett.    Thank you to them both.

Photography by Beth Mercer.

BMBusyWorkers2

Saturday 8th Apr '17

Sheltered Fire Circle Frame Raised

We are creating a sheltered fire-circle deep in the woods where groups, such as our current Roots and Wings group for 11 and 12 year old girls, can gather and cook around a fire, even when it rains.  We made good progress over 2 days – collecting the chestnut poles from the nearby recently coppiced area, peeling them and framing the building around a metal ring.  Next step will be to put in the straw bails for the walls and the planks for the roof.

FrameRaiseDandandKids2

Saturday 8th Apr '17

Outdoor work is exhausting!

The kids (aged 8-17) helped peel poles and then hold them in place to create the frame for the new sheltered fire-circle.   And then they were tired….

OutdoorWorkisExhausting

Saturday 1st Apr '17

April Stewards sort out forest school area

We had a good turn-out – including lots of families who attend Lucy’s Little Forest School.  We set to clearing up the ‘Secret Path area’ which included some demolition (popular with all the family!), edging paths and creating more Estonian fencing!

 

 

 

Photography by Coen Dijkstra

 

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Saturday 1st Apr '17

first ever AGM – with a twist

We held our first AGM on 1st April at 5pm.  It was well attended.  We had promised it would not be boring.  And I think we succeeded.  The progress report was presented as a pub quiz, mastered by Frank Morrish, so now no-one can forget the facts and figures.  We discussed in some detail the pros and cons as Pay As You Feel versus a fixed admission charge.  And then in smaller groups we brain-stormed ideas on organisational structure, play area, improving the woodland as a habitat for plants and animals and dreaded dog poo subject.  Thank you to all those who came and made us feel that we would want to do it again!

Photography by Coen Dijkstra

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Saturday 1st Apr '17

Alphabet Trail is back up and running

Massive thanks to the indefatigable Sarah Kelleher who has re-done the whole alphabet trail so it makes sense with our new lay-out.  We’re now working on the new map and information but you can already walk the trail without getting lost!

 

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Friday 31st Mar '17

Outdoor kitchen frame raised

After a false start, in which wood beat metal, we have raised the outdoor kitchen frame.  It was a lot of concentrated and hard work by Dan, Jake (our new apprentice), Will and many other volunteers.  Thank-you everyone.  It looks fantastic – a cathedral of an outdoor kitchen.  Just need some heat, water and a roof…last week of April, we’ll have another big push.

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Wednesday 22nd Mar '17

Framing new outdoor kitchen

Our new apprentice, Jake Reed, and ex-Ben-Law apprentice, Will have been working hard to get poles ready for raising.  Will be great to have a place for the cafe and member’s meeting house to use – with new BBQ, re-worked pizza oven and running water!!!!

 

WallsGoingUp

Saturday 4th Mar '17

March Stewardship Saturday

All about the edges.  We laid hedges. Finished the Estonian fencing around the work yard. Made hurdles for moveable fencing with the brilliant round-wood-turner, Mark Smith.  And made a celebratory poster/invitation for the upcoming members’ may day party.

 

 

 

Photography by Beth Mercer.

HurdlesTeamwork

Friday 17th Feb '17

Estonian fencing in Sussex

A group of 25 members between the ages of 5 and who knows, joined us for a very satisfying working day in the February half-term.  Andrew Coates and Philip (aged 13) hung a gate for the new sheep paddock; a big team worked on Estonian fencing around the work yard and meeting house while others made posters for our Mothering Sunday event, planted seeds for the kitchen garden and cooked lunch.

Ninaweaving

Saturday 4th Feb '17

February Stewardship Saturday

We layed a new hedge – under the guidance of Tom Simmons, forester.  And stacked more wood…..Come and see what a difference it has made to the light and views around the paddocks and marquee.

MelLaysAHedge

Saturday 28th Jan '17

Luśka led a brilliant winter tree id walk

Luśka Mengham, ex-resident of the wood, led a guided walk to explore identification of trees in winter without their leaves.  They had a great morning of stomping around the woods and stopping at different specimens to look at different clues – including bark, buds and overall shape.

Luskaandgroup

Friday 20th Jan '17

Andrew Coates shares some of his hard-won gate-making secrets with Frank

Andrew Coates has been coppicing and making gates out of chestnut at Wilderness Wood for 25 years.  He now runs his own woodland products business at the woods , including selling and installing gates, fencing, trellises.  Frank lives at the woods and is helping Andy make a number of chestnut gates needed for use at the woods – the chestnut will end up where it grew.

AndyandFrankMakeGatesTogether

Saturday 7th Jan '17

January Stewardship Saturday

The hardy ones turn up for volunteering in January.  We were killing rhododendra (excellent work for 11 and 12 year olds), fencing the lower paddock ready for sheep and stacking wood.  Everyone was rewarded with extra big lunch and a small number of delicious cup-cakes made by the 7 year olds on the team.

Connallhelpingsheepfence

Saturday 17th Dec '16

Winter Soltice celebrated with lanterns, songs, mists and a big fire

Members of Wilderness Wood gathered at 3pm on a day where the sun only seemed to be shining in Hadlow Down.  We lit the individual lanterns and huge sun lantern which had been prepared by Friday Club and After-school Club and then set off down into the woods guided by Tess Garrett of Suitcase Theatre and her flame-bearing family!  We chanted some of the way down to give us heart and then became silent as we entered the misty lower areas of the woodland.  Through the silence, came the sound of the girls in Roots and Wings singing to guide us to their camp near Woodglade, where they had prepared a huge moon lantern and poetry about the moon.  We then headed back in the dusk up to the area in front of the Meeting House where Dan had prepared a ‘pyre’ on which we set fire to the lanterns and sang the Halsway Carol about winter solstice.  The celebration of the longest night continued with home-made mince-pies, mulled cider and apple juice and lots of contributions by the community.  Steve Martinez started off the music around the fire and we had a lovely evening of songs and instrumental musics by musicians of all ages – including a surprise Russian song.  Many thanks to everyone for making it such an enjoyable way to see in the winter.  Photography by Beth Mercer.

burnignthelanterns

Sunday 11th Dec '16

Christmas festivities were blessed with sun-shine

We have been really lucky with the sunshine on our two busiest weekends of the year.  Lots of christmas trees sold, chestnuts eaten, christmas decorations made.  As well as the sunshine, many thanks to all the stall-holders and musicians who helped create such a festive atmosphere.  And, of course, the amazing scout stewards who make it possible for so many people to get into the woods at all.

chestnutsandwwsign

Friday 2nd Dec '16

Preparations for christmas market

Signage.  It always takes longer than you think.  This was a re-use of the template for the main entrance stick sign.  Friday Club set about christmasifying it for the Wilderness Wood market stall.  The results were much appreciated.

preparingforxmassignage

Friday 25th Nov '16

Preparations for the winter solstice party

Artist, John Woodberry, regularly comes to work with Friday Club on the latest project.  This time it was a poster for the Winter Solstice Event.  The process was simple and satisfying.  And the results beautiful.

solsticeposters

Thursday 24th Nov '16

Coppicing begins down near stream-side

Andrew Coates Woodland Products is responsible for the maintaining of the coppice cycle at the woods.  Each year, he and Dan agree the next coop to be cut according to the plans laid out in the Yarrow era and taking into consideration any other new factors.  This year, the coop is down near Stream-side.  Most of the cutting will be done in the new year but local boy, Ralph Hissey on the chain-saw with help clearing and sorting from wwoofer, Joe Skelton, made a start this week.

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Friday 18th Nov '16

Friday Club preparing the Christmas Shack for this year’s market

Dan and his helpers are working hard to get the ‘shack’ previously known as ‘Easter shack’ ready for its new role as the ‘Christmas shack’ for all the amazing craft stalls coming on the 3rd/4th and 10th/11th December.  Other children in Friday Club are preparing decorations, signage,their own stalls….come and see the end results.

preparingxmasmarketwithdan

Tuesday 15th Nov '16

christmas tree reservations all over for this year but yard trees still to come

After another sunny day on Sunday, we have reserved as many trees as possible for this year. But the good news is that you can still buy a tree at the woods as we will be selling pre-cut local trees from the yard outside the cafe every day  from November 26th onwards.

xmastreefield2bethmercer

Friday 11th Nov '16

The Meeting House has been licensed for wedding ceremonies

It was a bit of a scramble to get it ready but just in time, the doors were hung and the windows put in.  The registrars really love the space and have signed it off as a licensed space for wedding ceremonies – even with the hay bales in!  Hurrah.

meetingroom

Sunday 6th Nov '16

christmas tree reservations begin

Over 300 families came to the woods over the weekend – one family in their pyjamas – to reserve a Christmas tree which they will come to collect in December.  Some families have been coming for over 30 years, others came to the woods for the first time this year.  They all seemed to enjoy themselves – in spite of some heated discussions about which tree to reserve.

 

There are still plenty of trees but head here as soon as you can to maximise your options on species and sizes.

choosingatree22016bethmercer

Saturday 29th Oct '16

Flying Art in the woods

John Woodberry, artist and regular at Wilderness Wood, worked with Amy Coombes to create this brilliant flying installation above the fire-pit at Stream-side using materials to hand.  Amy is going to use it as part of her A level textile course work.  Mean-while, make sure you pay it a visit when you next come to the woods.


                       
tree-mobile

Friday 28th Oct '16

Japanese volunteers work with our more local members to repair bridges and dig ditches

Through the international network of wwoofers, we were contacted by a Japanese family with four young children who wanted to come and stay and help out at the woods.  They came for 10 days and helped on all fronts – even the three-year old!

workingonditchesandbridgeswithjapaneswwoofers

Wednesday 26th Oct '16

Visiting artist, Becky Doe, works with member children to create clay heads and bowls

Becky Doe, usually based in Devon, joined us during half-term to work with a group of 12 member children between the ages of seven and thirteen on creating out of clay.  They got their hands in clay from 11am-3pm and made clay heads of each other.  Others made pots.  There was a lot of laughter and a lot of quiet concentration.  Becky was able to help the children individually and work with them as a group to start thinking about the possibilities of clay…The good news is she is willing to come again.  In the Easter holidays so contact Emily on emilyanddan@wildernesswood.org if you would be interested in a clay workshop either for children or adults.

 

beckyplayclayday

Thursday 20th Oct '16

Progress on The Meeting House

Brilliant team of local volunteers and not so local volunteers have helped us finish the floor, back wall and beautiful stairs up to the first floor.  Nearly there.  Just need the windows in and then we’re ready to host members meetings, classes, workshops and wedding ceremonies!  Please contact emilyanddan@wildernesswood.org if you would be interested in using this beautiful and cosy new indoor space at Wilderness Wood.  Photography and dog-ownership by member of the wood, Beth Mercer.

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Wednesday 19th Oct '16

After-school club creates a sun lantern with Tess and Jonah of Suitcase Theatre

At the last wednesday after school club session before the nights draw in, we started preparations for our member’s winter solstice celebration.  Tess and Jonah Garrett of Suitcase Theatre came to work with the group on making a sun lantern and rays out of willow and tissue paper.  We also worked on a chant which will open proceedings on Saturday December 17th before we process down into the woods as it gets dark.  The children worked hard and noisily.  Bodes well for the actual event.  We hope as many members as possible will join us.

preparingwithafterschoolclub

Saturday 8th Oct '16

Stewards improve Stream-side area at bottom of woods

We met up top.  But then organised all the tools and food that we would need into the dumper and headed down to the bottom south-east corner of the woods to work on repairs to the main wooden structure, improvements to some of the outdoor furniture in the camping area, clearing the heath-land and paths to the Woodglade area where educational groups meet.  We had a delicious lunch cooked on our camp-fire.  And thoroughly enjoyed our stint deeper in the woods.

streamsidestewardship

Saturday 8th Oct '16

‘Together they build a structure to suit their needs’: Emily gives a talk about her PhD

After a hard day’s outdoor work, members gathered in the cafe to  hear about and discuss Emily’s PhD on the relationship of self-build and radical education – exploring places where children have created and shaped their own physical environment.  We also talked about how the ideas from this research relate to what we are trying to do at the woods – creating a space and a community with people of all ages.  The discussion was lively – with lots of questions and ideas and challenges.  I attach a synopsis of the research.

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Tuesday 13th Sep '16

the reed bed is up and running

We switched to our new reed bed system today.  After months of very hard work to dig out the area, set out the pipes and sand, fence the whole area, we finally planted out the reeds and the sewage is now being processed through the sand and reeds.  You can read all about how it works by the expert on these kinds of systems, Chris Weedon, in edition 3 of Wild Times.

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Saturday 3rd Sep '16

home grown and built gates to protect the new reed bed

Andrew Coates has worked at Wilderness Wood for 25 years and runs his own woodland enterprise based at the woods.  He often takes his skills and chestnut wood to sites in the local area.  But over the past month, he has been contributing to projects at the woods itself, by making gates for the new fence to protect our new reed bed filtration system.  He has made the gates with help from volunteers of all ages.   He started hanging them on Saturday and they look very happy – made from local wood and local hands.

 

 

 

 

Photography by Beth Mercer.

stewardship-sat-sept-16

Saturday 3rd Sep '16

September Stewardship Saturday

Another big group of willing helpers.  We worked on gates, protecting trees in the car-park, stacking wood, harvesting apples from the orchard and making new steps up to The Meeting House.  In the evening, we celebrated with a BBQ in the tea-garden and sat around our new fire bowl.  Very cheering on a rainy night.

 

Photography by Beth Mercer.

stewardship-sat-sept-12

Thursday 25th Aug '16

Summer Forest School at Wilderness Wood

Lucy’s Little Forest School  has put on a great summer programme this year – including lots of new activities such as Hapa  Zome (dyeing fabric with leaves) and Wild Jewellry with Mel, bug hunt and sculpture with Lyn Merrick, Saxon’s quest and hedgehog trail, Explorer days and all the old favourites such as cast-away and bear hunts….next year, we are thinking of a week-long holiday programme for younger children so let us know if you’d be interested.

childrenmakingnaturaldyes

Friday 12th Aug '16

Working-with-wood-week day 5 – Four Million Wasps Flew into Town

The Giant Jam Sandwich premiered as a play for children in the Meeting House building in its new position- written and directed by Christy Hawkins, based on the book by John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway with original music by Bara Zmekova. After a week of fun but hard work rehearsing – and with an additional moving stage challenge – the children put on a brilliant performance.  We had a fantastic audience of 80 people sitting on hay bails – family, neighbours and those who had been working hard on other projects all week.  It was a wonderful way to end the week.  Thank you to all those involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christy Hawkins, the director and script-writer, would love to hear from people who are interested in future productions or collaborations at mrchristyhawkins@gmail.com.

 

PlayPracticeWasps

Thursday 11th Aug '16

Working-with-wood-week day 4 – four new shave horses

Mark Smith, local wood turner, has helped member families build the woods four new shave horses.  They are absolutely beautiful and fit-for-purpose.  Great work.  And now we can have more volunteers helping us shave wood and turn pegs for future projects.  Please contact emilyanddan@wildernesswood.org or Mark directly at doggiewood@btinternet.com if you would be interested in making one for your own carpentry projects.

ShavehorseTeam

Wednesday 10th Aug '16

Working-with-wood-week day 3 – we moved a building

After some terrifying false-starts, we did it.  We moved the Forestry Building.  Dan described the process as ‘unbearably stressful’.  But it worked – the building is well-made and survived the process.  It is now The Meeting House  – looking out over the woods rather than the work yard – and to be used for licensed ceremonies, indoor workshops, meetings and who knows what else.  And looking much happier where it is now – thank goodness!  Martin Lilley not only was a crucial part of the team that moved the building, he also somehow managed to make a film about it.

 

BuildingMovesFinally

Tuesday 9th Aug '16

Working-with-wood-week day 2 – we made a see-saw

Ed Heusser and his team were first to complete a project in this year’s working-with-wood-week – a wooden see-saw for the tea-garden.  The children tested it within an inch of its life that evening.  And Ed had to introduce some new safety features the next day.

SeesawDominic

Monday 8th Aug '16

Working-with-wood-week day 1 – 50 volunteers of all ages gathered…

We were a group of 50 adults and children from as far as the Czech Republic, South of France and as near as the home-team at Wilderness Wood.   A huge mix of skills, talents and previous experiences.  And a huge amount of willingness to get stuck into the various projects going on including – building four new shave horses with Mark Smith, carving a new Green Man, moving a building, making a seesaw in the tea-garden, building new gates and putting on a play to entertain the team at the end of a hard week.

OpeningMorningMeeting

Saturday 6th Aug '16

August Stewardship Saturday

Our members brought renewed energy to the seemingly never-ending job of fencing around the new reed-bed so that when we plant the reeds (on the september stewardship sat) the rabbits cannot undo all our work.  We also pruned the Christmas Trees – some people love that job!  We were also joined by Lyn Merrick, local artist, scientist and member of Wilderness Wood, who shared some of her tricks for how to identify and draw illustrations of trees.  Thank-you Lyn.

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Saturday 23rd Jul '16

Golnessa and Glen’s wedding

Golnessa and Glen were blessed in a woodland clearing, barn-danced in front of The Meeting House and had a delicious meal in the marquee cooked by the Wilderness Cafe.

Photography by Georgina Piper.
Music by Dusty Bees.

golnessaandglennighttime

Thursday 7th Jul '16

German teenagers come to help out at the woods

A group of 12 teenagers with 3 teachers from an alternative school in Germany, called Kissori, have come to camp and help out at the woods for a fort-night as a way to improve their English and have new experiences outside of the classroom.  The weather has been shockingly bad but they have resisted the temptation to check into a youth hostel in Brighton.  And we have managed to do lots and lots of work with them to look after the woods and progress various projects: fencing the new reed-bed, storing fire-wood, creating a shower in the yurt area, weeding the garden, cooking on fire, chipping and chopping, clearing paths and helping in the Christmas Tree field.  It was the first time we have hosted a residential school visit.  Not sure if the Kissori students will want to brave our weather again, but we’d love to host them or other groups like this again.

 

SamandCosimaWorkingTogether

Wednesday 6th Jul '16

More French super-wwoofers

We were staring at the Christmas Tree field in despair.  Weeds – fuelled by fertiliser and unbelieveable rain – were overwhelming all our newly planted Christmas Trees.  Everyone was telling us to bite the bullet and use pesticides to get the weeds under control.  And then along came Mattieu and Marie.  They contacted us via the volunteering website www.wwoof.org –   they have come to England to travel around and have new experiences.  They have a beautiful camper van and two really well-behaved dogs.  We invited them to come and tentatively asked them if they minded tackling the Christmas Tree field.  They not only didn’t mind.  They set to work with strimmer and billhooks and occasional teams of young volunteers and transformed the field.  We just need to tempt them back in another few months…

MariRescuesBabyTrees

Saturday 2nd Jul '16

July stewards fence and chip and chop

On Stewardship Saturday, members learnt how to to make traditional Sussex post and rail fencing – which will keep the rabbits away from the reeds.  Other volunteers fixed a hand-rail across ditches, chipped the play-glade and tea-garden, chopped up pine wood and created new sleeping policemen to try and help the rainwater run-off – not a job we expected to be doing in July.  Also, Christmas Tree field very nearly under control.  We ended the evening with delicious pizzas cooked by our chef-in-residence, Yoni Suissa.  And a raucous football match in the front of the cafe.  Thanks to everyone for all your help and enthusiasm. If you would be interested to join the team, contact emilyanddan@wildernesswood.org about our membership scheme.

Photography by Beth Mercer.

DanandKidsFencing

Sunday 19th Jun '16

Father’s Day wood-work and BBQ

A break in the rain gave us a lovely day in the woods yesterday – Mark Smith demonstrated his pole-lathe, Dan Morrish made a picnic table with help from fathers and children, Lucy’s Little Forest School built dens and the Wilderness Cafe laid on a delicious BBQ.

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Friday 10th Jun '16

Friday Club tackles the list of signs

When we arrived at the woods 2 years ago, we took down quite a lot of signs and thought that we didn’t want so many.  But now, every single meeting ends with the decision to make a new sign about something or other – up-coming events, pay-as-you-feel, opening hours, dog poo, explaining the reed-bed  – you name it, we need a sign. Friday Club often has to make signs too – Halloween, Concerts, Plays.  So I commissioned Friday Club, helped by Sam Purton, to come up with a beautiful new sign for the cafe.  She has started by teaching the children some basic sign-writing calligraphy.  I’m hoping to hand the long list to them soon.

SamCalligraphy

Friday 10th Jun '16

Friday Club debates European referendum

Usually our activities are out and about and practical and related to the woods.  But this week, we felt we needed to join in the wider debate about Europe.  We had two speakers for and against leaving Europe.  The group were majority in favour of staying.  The debate was good.  And a few people even changed their mind through the course of it.

TheGreatEuroDebate

Saturday 4th Jun '16

June Stewardship Saturday

We started on projects for 2016/17 – and made a much-needed new picnic table to Dan’s design from start to finish – many thanks to Chris, Phillip, Anton, Victoria for helping Dan. The Christmas Tree field weeding project for this summer began.  Thanks to all the volunteers who have helped us to avoid treating the field with pesticides.

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Monday 30th May '16

Robert Fallon brings wild archery to Stream-side

On bank holiday Monday, we were delighted to welcome Robert Fallon to Wilderness Wood to bring his amazing archery skills to the woods.   Robert and his team at Wild Nature

are going to come back with more archery and other bush-craft activities over the coming months.

Photography by Beth Mercer.

Archery8

Sunday 29th May '16

Nina and Jonathan’s Wedding

A beautiful and happy May wedding.  A blessing in the woods.  Glorious flowers by Roberta Emmott,  The Good Florist.  Delicious hog-roast and spit-roasted chicken by Rachel’s Wilderness Cafe. A very high-spirited silent disco.  Photographs by Laura Rhian.

ninaandjonathankissing

Friday 20th May '16

Pioneer Health Foundation trustees meet Friday Club at Wilderness Wood

The Pioneer Health Foundation exists to encourage people to learn from and apply ideas from the Peckham Health Centre, 1935-1950.  It sought to create the conditions of active good health for local families.  Emily, with her historian hat on, has researched and written about children’s experiences at this centre, and has since become a trustee of this organisation.  We were very delighted to host the annual general meeting this year.  The trustees were shown around by member children.  And then the trustees told the children something about the Peckham Experiment.  We explored how the Peckham Experiment has influenced our approach here – in terms of trying to practice the values of freedom, community and self-reliance.

PeckhamTrusteesVisit2

Friday 13th May '16

Anita Graham starts weekly Plant Study for Friday Club

Anita Graham is an experienced herbalist with a herbal practice based in Sevenoaks, Kent.   She is also a member of Wilderness Wood. This term, she has offered to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for plants and their uses with the Friday Club – a weekly group of flexi and home-educating families.  Each week we are looking at the properties and uses of different plants which grow in the wood or local area.  This week, we started with Silver Birch.  We couldn’t believe how many uses it has.  We enjoyed a cup of birch tea to spring clean our systems and are looking forward to using the infusion which is now doing its magic.  If you would like to contact Anita for a consultation or to arrange a herbal walk or workshop, please ring her on 01732 749789.

PlantStudyMakingInfusion

Sunday 1st May '16

May Day Party – lots of sunshine, blue-bells, people and fun

This was our third May Party for members at Wilderness Wood.   We repeated some of the favourite ingredients like pizzas, cake-table, a ceilidh and big fire.  And we added some new ones – a May Queen whom we crowned and then led on a walk around the main new projects of the year – new notice-board for members, the timber store, the withy deer, the coppiced site, the new cross-ride, the reed bed filtration system, the Northern Ride, the first horreo and the new 3-D information board.  Joe Chambers of Pizza Laundry cooked pizzas for far more people than expected and the ceilidh musicians and caller got most of us on the dance-floor.  We then had a beautiful fire in the area proposed for a courtyard in front of the cafe with guests offering songs, hula-hooping and Wild Bar keeping everyone happy with foraged cocktails and craft beer.  Thank you to everyone for coming and getting stuck in.

May Party Wilderness Wood by Coen Dijkstra 080

Friday 29th Apr '16

Friday Club gets ready for May Party

This merry troop are getting ready to dance for the May Queen as the opening of our annual members’ May party.  Thank you to Isobel Dormon, who as well as being a Friday Club regular, runs with her husband, Jason Dormon, the dynamic music venue, The Forum in Tunbridge Wells.  Isobel’s day job on Fridays has been to help us all get ready to lead the dancing at the May Party.  And thanks to Jeannie from the Friday Morning Craft Group who has helped us make the costumes.  It’s been fun.

Troop

Saturday 23rd Apr '16

Jessie picks up the baton of the 3-D map

Jessie - - wwoofer, felter, hula hooper and now, chestnut coppice sculptor – has taken on the project, started by Maddie Jessel last Autumn, to make a 3-dimensional map of Wilderness Wood to act as the orientation point for visitors to the woods.  She has been working tirelessly to shape hundreds of trees out of wire and then ‘planting’ them in the map.  It will be unveiled at our May Party this year.  We are delighted that Jessie will be wwoofing with us over the summer and looking forward to lots more creative input – maybe not involving wire.

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Friday 22nd Apr '16

Jeannie Bates shows Friday Club children how to make macrame baskets

Each Friday morning, a craft group meets in the cafe.  The members of this group take it in turns to share their skills with Friday Club children and their parents.  The macrame rope is beautiful and useful.

MacramewithJEannie

Friday 15th Apr '16

Aquaponic project hotting up with the arrival of the fish tank

Ed Heusser has been leading a group of children in the development of an aquaponic system here at the woods.  If the experiment works well, we will look at rolling it out on a larger scale to help with the irrigation/feeding of Christmas trees and other new saplings.

 

 

AquaponicProgress

Friday 8th Apr '16

Estonian fencing – will it work in Sussex?

Fencing was the theme of our working parties over the Easter holidays: fencing the new reed bed filtration system, fencing the lower paddock for sheep and fencing the garden against rabbits.  We’ve mainly been using post and rail.  But Dan experimented with some Estonian fencing in the garden which uses up coppice product which is otherwise too small to use.   Thanks to all the volunteers who came to help out.

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Wednesday 6th Apr '16

Pioneers learn how to make wooden tool handles

Each  holiday, Ed Heusser, master of self-reliance works with a group of kids between the ages of 11 and 14 – in the mornings they develop their survival skills and in the afternoons they learn how to work with wood -  using hand-tools.  This time, they learnt how to make a range of useful knots out of rope and then crafted handles for various tools from the Wilderness Wood workshop which desperately needed the attention.

EdPioneerDayRopeWork

Saturday 2nd Apr '16

April Stewardship Saturday

Thanks to a great team – as ever – we created a new platform for the yurt which is going up any minute now, fertilised the Christmas Trees, spring cleaned the mud-kitchen, and wood-chipped the new cross-ride.  But it wasn’t all hard physical work, we were entertained after tea by poet,  Kaaren Whitney and classical music from the Morrish Trio.  The poetry and music was thoroughly enjoyed by all the hard-working volunteers of all ages.

Concert (16) (Small)

Sunday 27th Mar '16

Easter bunny and crafting fun

Hundreds of families braved the early Easter weather to enjoy Lucy’s Little Forest School’s take on the traditional Easter Bunny Hunt.   We also filled the Easter Shack with Wilderness Wood members and their crafts – Ewe-to-Yarn, Mark Smith’s round-wood turning, Karen Rao’s beautiful felting, Lydia Godfrey, local artist and face-painter and Dan on the chisels.   Everyone could have a go and there was a spring cheeriness in the air in spite of the weather.

Photography by Beth Mercer.

WW Easter Hunt 2016 (5)-2

Sunday 20th Mar '16

Tristan Quentel – another French super wwoofer

Tristan left yesterday after a month of contributing across all our projects – filling the timber-store, driving the dumper, carpentry for the new ‘horreo’ and the hugels in the kitchen garden, planting Christmas Trees and making amazing crepes.   We wish him lots of luck and are really hoping he can join us for our May Party.

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Wednesday 16th Mar '16

Wednesday morning Forest School group makes pizzas for the wilderness wood team

At Wilderness Wood, on working days, the team trys to have lunch together.   Wednesday was a real treat.  Lucy’s Little Forest School  – regular Wednesday morning group – worked with Joe Chambers of The Pizza Laundry to warm up the pizza oven after the winter and cook the whole Wilderness Wood team a delicious pizza lunch.  It was also an opportunity to tempt Lizzie Page (the cake-maker extraordinaire) out of the Wilderness Cafe kitchen to pick up some tips from Joe.

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Saturday 12th Mar '16

A withy deer joins the wilderness wood team

Martin Brockman and Adele Scantlebury of Blackbird Arts led a fantastic one-day workshop to make withy deer sculptures out of hazel.   The Wilderness Wood team were part of the participant group – Lucy Clark and her husband, Al and Luska Mengham made an absolutely beautiful stag.  Now we just need to decide where to put it….come and find it what we agree…   Also Martin will be leading another workshop on Saturday 7th May to carve a wooden bird.  Contact info@adelescantlebury.co.uk for more information.

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Sunday 6th Mar '16

Mother’s Day Spring Posie Making

Roberta Emmott of The Good Florist led a cheering spring workshop on how to work with seasonal flowers to make beautiful, simple and natural arrangements.  All different generations of mothers and their children joined in.  It was extremely therapeutic and we all went away with beautiful flowers to give away or keep for ourselves!  And then the mothers moved on to high tea in the cafe – a feast!

 

 

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Saturday 5th Mar '16

March Stewardship Saturday – few but hard-working

Everyone seemed to be ill this weekend but the small team that did manage to work that day were highly motivated and managed to clear the planting area for Christmas trees which are going in this week.  We were treated at the end of the day to some woodland stories told by Jon Mason, story-teller from Brighton.

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Thursday 18th Feb '16

working with wood day

A group of about 20 members of the wood of all ages gathered at 10am to find out how they could help.   We broke into groups to work with different members of the Wilderness Wood team to clear gulleys, help tree growth, fill up the timber store, build up hugels in the kitchen garden and progress our first ‘horreo’ next to the house.  We finished with well-deserved cake made by some of the children at 4pm.

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Wednesday 17th Feb '16

New Timber Store is finished – just need to put the timber in!

We have completed the new timber store – thanks to all those who helped to build it.  Now we’re on to the job of filling it up with the seasoned timber which needs to be kept out of the weather.

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Wednesday 17th Feb '16

Discussion of 10-year Forestry Plan

Tom Simmons, a local forestry consultant who has been helping us with our 10-year forestry plan to submit to the Forestry Commission, presented our 10-year plans to a group of interested members including the team here and other local woodland owners.  It was a very useful discussion about opportunities and threats.  There was a lot of support for widening some of the rides and diversifying tree species to minimise risk and to increase general biodiversity in the woods.  There was also a recognition of the importance of Andrew Coates’ coppicing work and that part of the appeal of Wilderness Wood is that it is a working wood as well as a place to visit.    We’re also looking forward to Tom and his family coming to Wwoof (volunteer) over the summer to put into practice some of these plans.

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Wednesday 17th Feb '16

Ed’s pioneers learn to coppice and make amazing shelter with old christmas trees

Ed Heusser,  master of self-reliance at the woods, worked with a group of 8 pioneers between the ages of 11 and 14.  In the morning, they made a fantastic shelter in the woods.  And in the afternoon, they learnt to coppice in the time-honoured tradition.

Photography by Coen Dijkstra

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