It was in the early spring of 1993 when Peter Goodwin and I sat round a table bemoaning the sorry state of our trees and woodlands. I remember saying, "Peter, we only have ten per cent tree cover in this country whereas our continental neighbours have an average of twenty-seven per cent !"
"Well, we should try and do something about it," he replied and so we egged each other on.
We finally decided that as furniture makers and users of beautiful hardwoods - we should take a lead. We had to create a vehicle through which all users of wood could "put something back" and provide for future generations. The concept of wood users helping to grow and manage trees was elegantly simple. We presented the idea to twenty fellow furniture makers and every single one joined! Woodland Heritage was born.
Our concept of "wood users" went beyond craftsmen to include those who sold wood products and those consumers who bought that beautiful oak kitchen, but we needed experienced tree growers on board also. Within a few months Peter had managed to enthuse many landowners to join and so we began the process of "uniting the tree grower with the wood user". Since then our membership has grown to include many hundreds of individuals and companies with a love of trees, wood and rural crafts.
Over the last ten years we have quietly got things done.
We have always sought to work in partnership with other organisations (to avoid duplication) and to add value in any way we can. This year is no exception and we will be celebrating our tenth birthday at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton, Nr. Chichester, where we will jointly host a two-day "Wood Show" on June 28/29th 2003. The central theme will be "Wood in Our Lives". Our Annual Field Day and AGM will also be held on Saturday 28th June at the nearby Goodwood Estate. Please join us - why not make a weekend of it ?
So, ten years on, Peter and I are still "at it" egging each other on, as Chairman and Chief Executive respectively on a voluntary basis.
Lewis. J. Scott