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Forestry news relevant to WH members

Peter Goodwin

It is with much sadness to report that Peter passed away on 18 March. Peter was the Chair of Woodland Heritage, the ex-Director of long standing and highly respected family firm of cabinet furniture makers Titchmarsh and Goodwin, and a champion of British timber.

In 1994, Peter felt it was time to “give something back to the forestry sector”, to try and help safeguard British woodlands for future generations and future furniture makers.  To further his vision he co-founded Woodland Heritage – a charity that works to revive and embrace our woodland culture.  As Chairman of Woodland Heritage, Peter worked tirelessly for over 23 years, securing its founding, the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales and inspired its numerous activities. Through Peter's endless personal enthusiasm and passion, the charity developed its highly successful 'Woodland to Workshop' courses, communicated the importance of woodland management at numerous field visits and raised awareness across the sector and within Government of the threats to British woodlands. Peter was able, combining his charm and diplomacy with his business acumen, to secure over £2million for research into Acute Oak Decline. In 2011 he was awarded the Royal Forestry Society’s (RFS) most prestigious award, the RFS Gold Medal for Distinguished Services to Forestry.

Peter was enthusiasticand thrived on getting things done – the embodiment – and originator of - Woodland Heritage’s mantra of 'Action not Words'. He was outspoken in his views and was never afraid to highlight what he felt needed doing - and what did not – and revelled in being direct in his views. There are many people who will recall Peter’s jocular yet challenging chairing of Woodland Heritage’s field meetings – and when Peter was holding the microphone there was always going to be a series of interesting asides, challenges to conventional thought as well as encyclopaedic attention to detail and knowledge. Peter was always willing to say what many others thought, but were not confident in doing so, but Peter always spoke with great conviction, fairness and a steely glint in his eye. He was also a great company, a passionate communicator and time spent in his company was always richly rewarding. He was great fun to be with. Peter was an inspiration to all that met him and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Our sincerest condolences go to Peter’s wife, Sally, and his family.

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Press Release - January 2017

Course in Continuous Cover Forest Management returns this spring

The popular and extremely well received course, ‘Irregular Silviculture in the Lowlands: Transformation in Practice’, is to be run again on 2nd and 3rd May 2017 by SelectFor. Based in Stourhead, south Wiltshire, the site visits will return to the fine examples of irregular coniferous and broadleaved stands at Stourhead (Western) Estate and the Rushmore Estate, and will look in detail at the silviculture of transformation and the monitoring of stand structure and performance, with the emphasis on lowland forests. The course will be led by Andy Poore and David Pengelly, both leading exponents of Continuous Cover Forest Management.

“May’s course will be our ninth and it is really encouraging that Irregular Forest Management remains a topic that is generating interest in our industry, both in the UK and further afield”, said Andy Poore. “Some leading forestry organisations have sent multiple delegates to our courses, an encouraging trend that seems to be continuing and which gives real belief that Irregular Silviculture is becoming more understood and applied”.

Each of the courses can accommodate 14 trainees with six of those attending the last course in October supported financially by Woodland Heritage. The national woodland charity is happy to consider bursaries for the fee of £408 (including VAT) on a case by case basis for the course in May, with applications to be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday, 17th March 2017.

“I really benefitted from attending October’s course and am grateful to Andy Poore and David Pengelly for including me in that course’s cohort as an observer”, said Woodland Heritage’s Development Director, Guy Corbett-Marshall. “The presentations and handouts, when added to the content of the site visits, made an unfamiliar discipline like Irregular Silviculture really accessible for me”.

An important element of the two-day course is the marking exercise in which the trainees, in groups of two, undertake the marking decision process for themselves within a 1ha stand under transformation and interact with two experienced practitioners. On completion of the marking exercise, the trees selected for removal by each group are inputted into a spreadsheet which provides a detailed summary of the silvicultural and economic consequences of each marking; the data is then compared between each pair.

For further information on May’s course visit www.selectfor.com.

Editor’s Notes

Woodland Heritage was established as a charity in 1994 by two cabinet makers keen to ‘put something back’. A membership-based organisation, the charity supports the resilient management of woodlands, the development of the timber supply chain, the furthering of knowledge and skills within the forestry and timber sectors as well as within the general public, and the tackling of threats to the future supply of high quality UK timber. As well as running the popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses and a Field Weekend each year, Woodland Heritage produces an annual Journal. A current priority for the charity is supporting research into Acute Oak Decline.

SelectFor offers specialist continuous cover consultancy and training services. SelectFor brings together the experience and knowledge of 4 leading practitioners in continuous cover forest management. SelectFor promotes, instigates and contributes to research in various aspects of continuous cover forest management.

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Press Release - November 2016

Woodland Heritage backs digitisation of Oliver Rackham’s notebooks

A grant of £225 from Woodland Heritage is enabling the digitisation of five of Professor Oliver Rackham’s field notebooks that recorded his observations of Staverton Park in Suffolk. Listed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts as 'primeval woodland', the site was described as 'a famous and awesome place of Tolkienesque wonder and beauty' in 1986. Today, it is a Special Area for Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It has an awesome woodland of ancient oak and birch, and part of the site has holly trees reputed to be the largest in the UK.

Woodland Heritage, through its grant, will be supporting the project to digitise and display online the notebooks Professor Rackham kept during his life, and which are now incorporated into the college archive. There are some 1146 of these notebooks, kept by Rackham from his youth up until his death in February 2015, and the total cost of making them all accessible would exceed £40,000. At present the college is aiming to make accessible a selection of the total, adding to the number that are digitised over the years.

“Thanks to Woodland Heritage, to the Friends of Oliver Rackham and to many other supporters, great progress is being made to make accessible to all the incredible legacy of field observations that Professor Rackham made over almost six decades”, said Dr Lucy Hughes, Archivist at Corpus Christi College. “However, there are an additional 642 red notebooks and about 250 blue notebooks left to digitise, so if anyone is interested in a particular place, region, or period of Oliver’s research, we can help pick out the notebooks to sponsor, with priorities at present including Hatfield Forest and Buff Wood, Cambridgeshire. All sponsorships will be acknowledged on the Cambridge Digital Library’s website.”

The red notebooks form a chronological sequence and record observations on plants seen on Professor Rackham’s travels as well as in his home surroundings, together with other kinds of information, for example about weather and college duties. They are paginated continuously and include some sketches. A label on the outside usually lists the locations covered in each notebook, with page numbering, thus serving as a kind of contents page.

The blue notebooks are more location-specific than the red ones. They are divided into separate sub-groups according to location, with an abbreviated key on the spine. Within each sub-group (for example the Hayley Wood books) pagination is continuous from notebook to notebook. They tend to contain more raw data than the red notebooks, for example tally charts showing frequency of plant species in particular areas of woodland, with photocopied maps of woodland areas often pasted in. Although sequence is roughly chronological, information is entered in a more content-led fashion than in the red notebooks.

“Woodland Heritage is delighted to sponsor the digitisation of the Rackham notebooks that cover Staverton Park”, said the charity’s Development Director, Guy Corbett-Marshall. “The work he did on Staverton Park was very important and it was fortuitous that those notebooks should have been chosen for digitisation in the next batch, making our grant offer very timely.”

For further information about sponsoring a Rackham notebook(s), please contact Dr Lucy Hughes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Editor’s Notes

Woodland Heritage was established as a charity in 1994 by two cabinet makers keen to ‘put something back’. A membership-based organisation, the charity supports the resilient management of woodlands, the development of the timber supply chain, the furthering of knowledge and skills within the forestry and timber sectors as well as within the general public, and the tackling of threats to the future supply of high quality UK timber. As well as running the popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses and a Field Weekend each year, Woodland Heritage produces an annual Journal. A current priority for the charity is supporting research into Acute Oak Decline.

Born in Bungay, Suffolk, in 1939, Oliver Rackham was educated at Norwich School, matriculated at Corpus Christi College in 1957, and was elected Fellow of the college in 1964. Although he began by studying physics, as a graduate student he turned his attention to botany, particularly the physiology of plant growth and transpiration. This became the subject of his thesis. From 1972 onwards he concentrated on historical ecology, especially the history of woodland and the landscape in England and Wales. He wrote prolifically on this, both in specialist journals, as well as for the general reader, and through a series of important books.

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Press Release - September 2016

Chris Wiseman scoops ‘Best use of British Timber Award’ at Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design 2016

Chris Wiseman with his remarkable piece called ‘Oak Within’ became the latest winner of ‘The Best Use of British Timber Award’ sponsored by Woodland Heritage at last month’s Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design exhibition in Cheltenham. Now in its 22nd year, Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design is recognised as the UK’s largest annual exhibition of contemporary designer-maker furniture.

The first prize of £500 was awarded to Wiseman for his demonstration of the best use of British timber, whilst Robert Scott and his ‘Aeolian’ console table received a Highly Commended prize and a cheque for £250; unusually a third award of £200 was also given to Paul Jaques for his most imaginative use of small offcuts to create a most stunning ‘Walnut Poem’ coffee table.

“Woodland Heritage is proud to recognise each year at the Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design, exhibits that in our view maximise the economic and environmental value of trees and promote wood as a renewable natural resource”, said Peter Goodwin, Chairman of trustees and co-founder of Woodland Heritage. “We are a unique environmental charity, which truly unites all tree people – a vehicle for wood users to ‘put something back’ and contribute to the proper management of British trees.”

“Using British timber encourages the sustainable and economic value of our woodlands, as well as supporting the wood chain. Well-managed, healthy woodlands can also provide an environment that supports wildlife, flora and fauna, whilst ensuring traditional woodland skills are not lost”, continued Mr Goodwin.

In determining who should be the recipients of this year’s awards, marks were given for design, species selection, use of timber, craftsmanship and provenance of the wood used; points were also given to entrants who provided proof that they had gone out of their way to source timber locally and/or find out where their timber came from.

Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design director, Jason Heap was delighted with this year’s winners: “Once again the Woodland Heritage judges were spoilt for choice and quality. With this in mind, it is a fantastic achievement for Chris Wiseman, a student who has just completed his training, to have produced such a wonderful winning piece from beautiful British sycamore and oak. Robert Scott, also a young maker, and Paul Jaques artistic works demonstrate the beautiful potential that lies hidden within our native timber, waiting for a craftsman or woman to maximise it.”

Editor’s Notes

Woodland Heritage was established as a charity in 1994 by two cabinet makers keen to ‘put something back’. A membership-based organisation, the charity supports the resilient management of woodlands, the development of the timber supply chain, the furthering of knowledge and skills within the forestry and timber sectors as well as within the general public, and the tackling of threats to the future supply of high quality UK timber. As well as running the popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses and a Field Weekend each year, Woodland Heritage produces an annual Journal. A current priority for the charity is supporting research into Acute Oak Decline.

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Press Release - August 2016

Charity secures mill’s future

National charity, Woodland Heritage, has become the new owner of Whitney Sawmills, a business established by local craftsman, Will Bullough, over a quarter of a century ago in the charming Herefordshire village of Whitney-on-Wye. In those days Will was a craftsman who became increasingly frustrated with the quality of the timber available. So he decided to try milling and drying his own materials little realising what this experiment would eventually lead to.

The sawmill grew steadily to become a UK wide supplier of timber to businesses of all sizes from the grand Dumfries House project in Scotland to one-man boat builders in Cornwall. Over the years the mill has supplied many exciting, prestige projects such as fine oak for the Kings Dining Room in Edinburgh Castle, or sweet chestnut for the royal row barge, Gloriana. It is currently milling oak and elm for the restoration of H.M.S. Victory and more locally the rebuilding of Grade 1 listed LlwynCelyn just over the border in Wales.

Woodland Heritage is a charity established in 1994 by two cabinet makers ‘keen to put something back’, with a key aim for the charity to promote the growing of trees and the use of wood. Working with Will Bullough, the popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses were established nearly a decade ago, all of which have been run from Whitney Sawmills and which have attracted well over two hundred students over the years, all from some part of the timber supply chain.

“Whitney Sawmills has long been a part of Woodland Heritage’s way of working”, said the charity’s co-founder and Chairman of trustees, Peter Goodwin. “A sawmill is at the centre of the timber supply chain, being the crucial link between grower and user and which is the very reason why we have always held our ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses at Whitney. And whilst there has been a huge reduction in the number of hardwood sawmills in the UK in recent decades, Woodland Heritage believes that with the right approach a healthy future exists for those that remain, something that we want to demonstrate by taking on and running this excellent business”.

Will Bullough added: “It has been a great pleasure establishing and then developing Whitney Sawmills, helping not just to supply the varied demands of our customers, but also to keep rural employment and skills alive. Whitney Sawmills isn’t just a supplier it’s also a customer, buying timber from local landowners and helping to secure the jobs that they in turn offer. It has also always been a priority at Whitney to aim to benefit woodland wildlife wherever possible, as so often it is lack of woodland management that is creating the greatest threats to many endangered species”.

Woodland Heritage has established a trading subsidiary called W H Timber Limited which took over Whitney Sawmills on 1st August. All existing staff have become employees of W H Timber Limited. Whitney Sawmills will remain the trading name.

Editor’s Notes

Woodland Heritage was established as a charity in 1994 by two cabinet makers keen to ‘put something back’. A membership-based organisation, the charity supports the resilient management of woodlands, the development of the timber supply chain, the furthering of knowledge and skills within the forestry and timber sectors as well as within the general public, and the tackling of threats to the future supply of high quality UK timber. As well as running the popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses and a Field Weekend each year, Woodland Heritage produces an annual Journal. A current priority for the charity is supporting research into Acute Oak Decline.

For more information on this release, please contact Guy Corbett-Marshall on 07816-384221 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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WH member celebrates 20 years’ trading

September 6th will be the 20th anniversary of specialist woodturning suppliers Stiles & Bates opening their shop in Kent.

To celebrate these twenty years of buying, milling and selling UK timbers, under the stewardship of Woodland Heritage they are donating £100 for each year they have traded to be spent on planting a selection of native timber species with the stipulation that the trees will be planted for harvesting and subsequent re-planting- the bottom line of all good forestry management.

Updates on progress with this project between Stiles & Bates and Woodland Heritage will appear in the ‘News’ section of this website over coming months.

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Press Release - July 2016

Top researcher is tenth winner of Peter Savill Award

Dr Joan Webber, Principal Pathologist and Head of Tree Health Research Group at Forest Research, has become the tenth winner of the Peter Savill Award. Sponsored by Woodland Heritage, the award recognises significant contribution to the British Forest Industry and this year was presented at an event attended by Sir Harry Studholme, Chairman of the Forestry Commission, at Forest Research’s offices at Alice Holt, near Farnham.

The criteria for the Peter Savill Award are that the contribution to forestry made by the individual selected annually by the trustees of Woodland Heritage must be in sympathy with the charity’s objectives and in one of five areas of forestry: silviculture, marketing, education, wood processing and research; Dr Webber is the first recipient from the field of research.

“I have known Joan Webber almost since she started at Forest Research, in 1989. Since then the number of diseases that affect trees has increased tremendously; it is these recent arrivals that she concentrates on particularly,” said DrSavill, who presented the award this year and who had been a longstanding trustee of Woodland Heritage until his retirement in June. Continuing, DrSavill said: “Forest Pathology is likely to remain one of the most significant areas for research by FR for the foreseeable future, and the trustees are convinced that it will thrive under Joan Webber’s leadership.”

A graduate of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Dr Webber studied for her PhD in tree pathology at the University of Wales and the Forestry Commission. After a decade of lecturing and research focussed on Dutch elm disease and the interplay between tree pathogens and insect vectors, Dr Webber joined Forest Research in 1989. Principal Pathologist since 2001, Dr Webber is currently responsible for leading and managing research into the health of trees.

Past recipients of the Peter Savill Award reflect the breadth of the criteria and include influential foresters such as John McHardy and Bede Howell OBE, dynamic landowners such as Miles Barne and the late Felix Dennis, champions of wood processing such as Will Bullough and Gavin Munro, and renowned Bangor University lecturer and the inspiration for a generation of young foresters, Dr Christine Cahalan.

Editor’s Notes

Woodland Heritage was established as a charity in 1994 by two cabinet makers keen to ‘put something back’.  A membership-based organisation, the charity supports the resilient management of woodlands, the development of the timber supply chain, the furthering of knowledge and skills within the forestry and timber sectors as well as within the general public, and the tackling of threats to the future supply of high quality UK timber.  As well as running the popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses and a Field Weekend each year, Woodland Heritage produces an annual Journal.  A current priority for the charity is supporting research into Acute Oak Decline.

Forest Research is the research agency of the Forestry Commission and Great Britain’s principal organisation for forestry and tree related research. Forest Research is internationally renowned for the provision of science, research, evidence, data and services in support of sustainable forestry. Forest Research works for many Government departments, the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, forestry and land management stakeholders, environmental non-Governmental organisations and in projects across Europe and internationally. Forest Research has 230 staff located in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information about Forest Research see www.forestry.gov.uk/forestresearch

Editor’s Notes

Woodland Heritage was established as a charity in 1994 by two cabinet makers keen to ‘put something back’.  A membership-based organisation, the charity supports the resilient management of woodlands, the development of the timber supply chain, the furthering of knowledge and skills within the forestry and timber sectors as well as within the general public, and the tackling of threats to the future supply of high quality UK timber.  As well as running the popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses and a Field Weekend each year, Woodland Heritage produces an annual Journal.  A current priority for the charity is supporting research into Acute Oak Decline.

Forest Research is the research agency of the Forestry Commission and Great Britain’s principal organisation for forestry and tree related research. Forest Research is internationally renowned for the provision of science, research, evidence, data and services in support of sustainable forestry. Forest Research works for many Government departments, the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, forestry and land management stakeholders, environmental non-Governmental organisations and in projects across Europe and internationally. Forest Research has 230 staff located in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information about Forest Research see www.forestry.gov.uk/forestresearch

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Press Release - May 2016

Bursary boost for popular training course

A new bursary scheme has been created by Wood-Mizer UK to help people already working in, or considering a career in the timber supply chain. The bursary is administered by Woodland Heritage and helps to subsidise a place at its popular, ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses, held twice a year at Whitney Sawmills in Herefordshire.

The first bursary was awarded to David Hammond, an employment engagement director, who was able to attend May’s ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ course to assess its suitability as a training resource for ex-service personnel keen to get into the wood chain. David was recommended to attend the course by the Armed Forces’ charity, HighGround.

“Having attended the ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ course myself last year, I could see the tremendous benefits that all participants gained from it, regardless of where they work in the wood chain,” said Wood-Mizer UK’s General Manager, David Biggs. “The course reaches out to people wanting to start processing wood, whether as new entrants to the industry or as existing professionals keen to diversify and to add value to their current business operations. For Wood-Mizer, the new bursary is a sound investment to reach potential customers, all of whom also have the chance to try our LT-40 as part of the course’s itinerary.”

Speaking for HighGround, David Hammond added:

“Ex-service personnel are often used to and enjoy working outdoors, as well as having a rich variety of skills, many of which lend themselves to developing a career in forestry or timber processing. With the wood chain full of so many different options to developed employed or self-employed careers, I certainly see ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses as a sound introduction to the overall sector and very complementary to existing HighGround Rural Weeks which provide serving and ex-services personnel with an overview of the land-based sector, how their military skills and experience map into it, and what training and qualifications they will need for their chosen area.”

The nineteenth ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ course is due to be held at Whitney Sawmills between 26th-28th September 2016 with a dozen places available.

“Whilst we already have a list of potential attendees, we would be keen to receive expressions of interest from ‘end-users’ - particularly furniture designers and makers,” said Woodland Heritage’s Belinda Moore.

“The course fee is £750, but thanks to Wood-Mizer UK’s bursary one fortunate student will be able to attend for just £250, which is great value for a three-day course of this breadth and depth.”

More details about September’s course can be found at www.woodlandheritage.org.uk with the Wood-Mizer bursary open for applications from 1st to 31st July via the same website.

Image shown: David Hammond gaining experience of the Wood-Mizer LT-40 under the watchful eye of David Biggs;

Editor’s Notes

Woodland Heritage was established as a charity in 1994 by two cabinet makers keen to ‘put something back’. A membership-based organisation, the charity supports the resilient management of woodlands, the development of the timber supply chain, the furthering of knowledge and skills within the forestry and timber sectors as well as within the general public, and the tackling of threats to the future supply of high quality UK timber. As well as running the popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses and a Field Weekend each year, Woodland Heritage produces an annual Journal. A current priority for the charity is supporting research into Acute Oak Decline.

For more information on Wood-Mizer UK, please go to www.woodmizer.co.uk.

HighGround is a charity based in London which works with Service Leavers, Reservists and Veterans all over the UK to help them find jobs, careers and vocational opportunities in the land-based sector.   for more information on Highground, please go to www.highground-uk.org.

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Press Release - April 2016

Hill top ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ student for 2015

Forestry@Bangor graduate, Nicholas Hill (MSc Environmental Forestry, 2015), was the top student from the two dozen who took part in Woodland Heritage’s ever-popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ training courses in 2015.  The unanimous choice of the expert tutors on last year’s courses, Nick received The Prince of Wales Award at an event held recently at Bangor University.

This year the award was presented by Woodland Heritage trustees, Geraint Richards (Head Forester for the Duchy of Cornwall) and Graham Taylor (Managing Director of Pryor & Rickett Silviculture), who are also course tutors and had been speaking at the university’s event.

The Prince of Wales Award is given each year to the student who is felt to have made the most significant progress on the ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses, held annually in May and September at Whitney Sawmills in Herefordshire.  With participants selected deliberately to try to achieve the best mix of skills and interests along the timber supply chain from grower to harvester, to processor to end-user, the selection of The Prince of Wales Award winner is always a difficult job.

“Participants in the ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses always come eager to learn and to see how their own individual role fits into the overall supply chain”, said Guy Corbett-Marshall, Development Director at Woodland Heritage.  “Even if they are very familiar with their own sphere of working, it’s amazing how much they learn from the tutors and from the other participants, so everyone leaves with horizons broadened and new outlooks on the whole timber sector.  Because everyone is so positive, it’s always hard to choose the winner of The Prince of Wales Award, so special praise is due to Nick Hill for his achievement”.

Reflective of the diversity of the sector, past winners of The Prince of Wales Award, introduced in 2010,have included including forestry consultants, sawmillers and woodworkers, all of whom remain working actively in the forestry and timber sectors.

More information about ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses, including a downloadable leaflet, can be found by clicking here.

Picture shows (L-R): Geraint Richards, Nicholas Hill and Graham Taylor.

Editor’s Notes

Woodland Heritage was established as a charity in 1994 by two cabinet makers keen to ‘put something back’. A membership-based organisation, the charity supports the resilient management of woodlands, the development of the timber supply chain, the furthering of knowledge and skills within the forestry and timber sectors as well as within the general public, and the tackling of threats to the future supply of high quality UK timber. As well as running the popular ‘From Woodland to Workshop’ courses and a Field Weekend each year, Woodland Heritage produces an annual Journal. A current priority for the charity is supporting research into Acute Oak Decline

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