© Emma Goldsmith / Small Woods Association

Green Woodworking courses

From the moment you pick up a traditional hand tool or trace the grain of freshly felled wood, you’ll be transported. Green woodworking lets us step back thousands of years, connecting us to the communities who used their local woodland to make sustainable everyday items.

Today, it’s a rewarding way to feel more connected to your local woodland. Discover what you can craft on a course near you.

What is green woodworking?

In many ways, green woodworkers were the original conservationists, as they used local materials in a renewable and sustainable way.

Green woodworking makes products from recently felled timber that’s not been seasoned. The timber is easier to work than dry, seasoned timber and can be worked with traditional hand tools.

The craft was once much more common in our woodlands, where many specialist craftspeople made everyday products such as fencing, homeware and furniture in the woods.

Now we must pass on these skills to future generations before they’re lost.

© Emma Goldsmith / Small Woods Association

© Emma Goldsmith / Small Woods Association

Why green woodworking matters today

The process can be deeply meditative and mindful. Working in line with the grain, you become more in tune with the nature of the timber and the character of different trees.

Without dangerous power tools, there’s much less noise, no energy burned (except your lunchtime sandwich) and no dust to breathe in.

Out in the fresh air, working where the wood has just been harvested, you’ll start to feel more connected to the trees and nature around you.

That environment is benefiting too. Green woodworking mostly uses wood grown in coppices, where trees are cut back before they mature. Compared with commercial timber, this sustainable timber uses almost no energy in being harvested or transported. And over the centuries, many plants and insects have evolved to prefer the unique coppice habitat.

Who are these courses for?

They’re open to everyone who lives, works or volunteers in the Lost Woods project area, which stretches across Sussex from Storrington in the West to the fringes of Lewes in the East.

We’re keen to welcome conservation group volunteers, who can put these skills into action in the woodlands they look after.

Upcoming courses

Learn to make a walking stick

Channel the power of steam to transform green wood into a beautiful, steam bent-shepherd’s crook, to treasure on all your woodland walks. This is a one-day course will cover:

  • how to select suitable species
  • how to use steam to straighten and bend wood
  • how to finish your stick

Fee: £60

Register your interestbook your place

Gate hurdle making course

Traditionally used to handle and pen livestock, today gate hurdles are an attractive addition to your garden or green space. They make beautiful, natural fencing and are often used as plant supports or border edging

This one-day course will teach you how to make your own gate hurdle. You will learn:

  • types of hurdles and history
  • suitable timber species
  • tool safety and types of tools traditionally used
  • making gate hurdles from sweet chestnut

You will leave with a finished hurdle to take home.

Fee: £45

Next course dates: 

Saturday 17th August, 9.30am - 4pm, Park Wood, Poynings

UPDATE: This course date is now fully booked. Please email lostwoods@woodlandtrust.org.uk to join the waiting list.

Register your interestbook your place

Introduction to Green Woodworking

Learn the basic techniques and properties of working with green wood – and head home with a simple but unique item, handmade for your kitchen. This is a one-day course, which will cover:

  • what is green woodworking?
  • discussion of tool safety
  • horses, brakes and other woodland devices
  • make a spatula, spoon or mallet

Fee: £50

Register your interestbook your place

We’re busy developing our full programme of course dates and locations. For now, please get in touch to find out more or join a waiting list.

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