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A reflector oven

A reflector oven

by Angus ~ 28 May, 2017 ~ 2 comments

This clever device redirects the radiation from an open woodland fire to create a cooker so that outdoor cooking can be about much more than just frying pans, kettles and grills.  With a reflector oven you can cook both sweet and savoury -  bread, cakes, pies, scones, fish and vegetables.  The reflector oven bounces the heat around inside, and also contains it, so that whatever is on the shelves is baked as well as it would be in a conventional oven.

This particular model was invented by Svante Freden, a Swedish manufacturer - who apparently fabricates these devices in a "small outbuilding" in Sweden and retails them for about £50 each - they can be bought from Proadventure who have s shop in Llangollen, North Wales, as well as a website with lots of camping kit. Read more...

Benches in Woodlands - different seating designs

Benches in Woodlands – different seating designs

by Angus ~ 24 May, 2017 ~ 4 comments

I love sitting quietly in a woodland, especially on a comfortable wooden bench.  Being still and silent in a wood allows you to feel closer to nature and nature gets closer to you: when you stop trampling through a wood the animals stop feeling threatened and they come out.  Birds and deer and even badgers will appear as you sit unmoving and comfortably on your home-made bench.   If sited carefully, you might also be able to enjoy a panoramic view from your woodland bench.

A group of us recently decided to have a bench-making competition and four different benches were produced during the afternoon.  The prize was a bottle of vintage port and the rules were simple - you had two hours to finish and you had to use materials found in the woods Read more...

Forest Schools - "Our Roots - the story of the Forest School 1929-1940"

Forest Schools – “Our Roots – the story of the Forest School 1929-1940”

by Angus ~ 19 May, 2017 ~ one comment

Forest School is becoming a standard part of many primary schools, often with the use of onsite woodlands and sometimes with a walk or even a minibus trip to take children into nearby woodland areas.  Our company's first experience of the growing importance of forest school was when a school in Kent decided to buy a woodland and have its pupils visit once a week, but since then we have had many experiences of families buying woods and lending them to the local school for forest school classes.  Even though the concept is now well embedded and growing, the history of 'Forest School' in the UK goes back a long way and has some slightly eyebrow-raising history. Read more...

Learning how to drive a 4X4 car in a woodland

Learning how to drive a 4X4 car in a woodland

by Angus ~ 17 May, 2017 ~ one comment

"It's the most fun I've ever had outside of the bedroom" said one friend of mine about driving a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. "It gives you new powers and you feel you can drive anywhere - over hills and through rivers."  But it's a learned skill and not something people are born with, and it's also something you can do with an ordinary driver's licence.  Therefore, many people drive 4WD vehicles in woodlands and on farms without any extra training, despite the fact that if they are using a 4x4 for work then Health and Safety rules require that they should have "adequate information, instruction and training".  I decided to learn the art of safe off-road driving by going on a proper course.  Amongst my group of foresters and woodland managers one of them had heard that the best place to do these courses was Motor Safari, a long established off-road driving school near Wrexham in North Wales based in a disused quarry.  It turned out to be an extremely good place to discover how to drive through a woodland while minimising damage to the tracks. Read more...

How to get a Blue Peter green badge?

How to get a Blue Peter green badge?

by woodlands blogs ~ 13 May, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Hi, I’m Imogen and I am a big nature and woodland fan. In this blog, I will be showing you how I got a Blue Peter green badge, and also how you can get one.

In my point of view, us kids should be bonding with nature in the world around us. By having a go and applying for a Green Badge * encourages us to be outside.   Furthermore, it helps us learn that nature is not just something beautiful but also shows how birds live, flowers grow and much more about bugs, trees that we didn’t even know about. By having a Green Badge, you can show everyone how much you care about nature and you could persuade others to try.  Just helping nature to grow stronger by providing more shelter for animals and bugs is giving us beauty in our woodlands and gardens. Read more...

The art of identification.

The art of identification.

by Johnny Morris ~ 10 May, 2017 ~ 2 comments

There is a long history of producing guides to help identify and explain the flora and fauna of woodlands. From the fine woodcuts in Leohart Fuch’s New Herbal book of 1543 to the Woodland Trust’s tree identification app. for smartphones in 2017, we have been naming and visually representing our plants and trees through the ages. Following this rich tradition Woodlands.co.uk have launched a range of educational posters designed to help primary school children recognise and understand what they can see in their woodlands. Read more...

Wildflowers of the roadsides and verges,

Wildflowers of the roadsides and verges,

by Chris ~ 26 April, 2017 ~ one comment

The woodlands blog has commented over the years about the loss of hedgerows, the homogenisation of the flora,  and the disappearance of roadside plants. The loss of roadside plants is due to

  • increasing eutrophication (‘enrichment’ of the environment with nitrates from fertilisers etc. which encourages ‘botanical thugs’ such as nettles )
  • the regular (and early) mowing of roadside verges.  If the verges are mowed early in the year, then early wildflowers are not able to set seed (and the seed bank in the soil is depleted).

Now there is an initiative by Plantlife to encourage local councils Read more...

Announcing the Woodlands Awards 2017

Announcing the Woodlands Awards 2017

by Antony Mason ~ 6 April, 2017 ~ comments welcome

This year, woodlands.co.uk is launching and sponsoring a brand new set of Woodlands Awards. They are a celebration of all the hard work, skills, expert knowledge, initiative, innovation and dedication that are applied to woodland up and down the country day after day, year after year – and which so often go unsung.

There are 14 awards altogether, divided into two groups: awards for individuals (woodland owners and users) and awards for enterprises (woodland organisations, businesses, educational programmes and so on). Essentially we are looking for the best examples in each category, so they can be rewarded with recognition and a prize. Read more...

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