Linking Tree Growers with Wood Users

Our Woodland to Workshop courses link ‘tree growers with wood users’, broaden horizons and raise awareness by educating participants from the forest through to the workshop and beyond. This ground-breaking course is supported by knowledgeable practitioners and eminent speakers from the timber industry. Based in the woodland, timber yard, sawmill and joinery workshop for two days, with a third spent at the Duchy of Cornwall’s woodlands nearby.

These innovative courses often have a waiting list to attend as numbers are restricted to enable a ‘hands on’ and highly interactive approach, ensuring a learning opportunity of enduring quality that has been enjoyed by over 250 participants over the last decade.

Participants are drawn from all parts of the timber supply chain, but applications from users (e.g. makers and architects) are less common so always welcomed.


LOCATION: Each course is run from Whitney Sawmills, near Hay-on-Wye in Herefordshire with one day spent in nearby woodlands in the same county.

DATES: The course is run twice a year, usually in early-May and late-September – click here for latest dates

COST: £650 per person.  There is a bursary scheme offered by Wood-Mizer UK offering support of up to £500 for one participant in each course with other grants of up to £500 available from time-to-time.  All participants are expected to contribute at least £150 towards the cost of the course.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED: Accommodation or return transport from your home.

Applications are welcomed year-round.  The course is normally run for a maximum of twelve people, selected in advance to have as diverse a group as possible.

Woodland Heritage aims to confirm each group six weeks in advance of a course being run.

FUTURE Woodland to workshop CourseS

"It was a privilege to attend such an enlightening well run course, presented by enthusiastic professionals, who passionately wanted to share their knowledge & experience for the good of the industry."

Tabitha Binding,
University Engagement Manager, Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA)

What to expect from our Woodland to Workshops


Woodland to Workshop Course Location - Whitney Sawmills, Herefordshire

Woodland to Workshop Course Location - Whitney Sawmills, Herefordshire

The first three-day Woodland Heritage Woodland to Workshop course was held in May 2008 at Whitney Sawmill near Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire. It gave an overview of forest management and the operations and problems involved in growing trees of high timber quality, the defects to which logs can be prone, measurement, sawing  and storage of logs and sawn timber, and an opportunity to discuss the problems facing smaller wood-using enterprises.

The course was the inspiration of Will Bullough, the owner of Whitney Sawmill, and Peter Goodwin, Chairman of Woodland Heritage. It was run for 12 participants, most  of whom were wood users (e.g. furniture makers, sawmillers, timber buyers and a horse logger) rather than growers, though some of these were also present. The value of the interactions between this diverse student group provided the real ‘added value’.

After an introduction by Susan Bell (Trustee of Woodland Heritage), Will Bullough and Gavin Munro set the scene and ran the course. Geraint Richards the Duchy of Cornwall’s head forester and Graham Taylor of Pryor and Rickett Silviculture led the day in the field at Aconbury wood, owned by the Duchy. Two evening lectures were given by Peter Harper of the Centre for Alternative Technology and Roger Venables, a past Woodland Heritage Trustee, on the ‘Renaissance of European Oak’.



During visits to Will Bullough’s wood, adjoining the sawmill and a full day at Aconbury, topics covered, demonstrated and discussed included:

  • Tree species selection

  • Planting designs in relation to tree competition and the landscape

  • Vegetation control

  • Pruning and cleaning

  • Thinning

  • Protection from grey squirrels and deer

  • The recognition of potentially valuable stems of oak

  • The importance and relevance of the Future Trees Trust



Attendees at a recent Woodland to Workshop Course

Attendees at a recent Woodland to Workshop Course

The workshop discussions and demonstrations took place at Whitney Sawmill. Will Bullough outlined the problems faced by smaller sawmill enterprises operating within tight profit margins. He emphasised the desirability of woodland owners selling small parcels of broadleaves (hardwood) to provide them with the chance to bid successfully.

Topics covered included:

  • Distinguishing between normal drying splits and shakes

  • Minimising damage caused by ambrosia beetles

  • Practice at identifying various kinds of damage and undesirable features of logs, including woodpecker damage, spiral grain and blue stain fungi and wide sapwood

  • Likely markets for unusual logs including curved stems, “pippy” oak, and ripplegrained sycamore

  • The merits of a portable band saw (a Wood-Mizer)

  • Practice at measuring and calculating timber volumes both in the forest and the sawmill. The importance of accuracy and reliability was emphasised. The losses incurred when converting a log to planks were also discussed.

  • Air drying.

There was agreement that the diversity of the students’ backgrounds contributed much to the course through their individual knowledge and experience. Both Gavin and Will were praised as being confident and interesting speakers, keen to impart their knowledge, encouraging student participation and questions in an informal and friendly atmosphere. Woodland Heritage will be running similar courses throughout the year.

Get Involved - become a Member!

If you would like to participate in our Woodland to Workshop courses, or any other of our events, then you should become a member of Woodland Heritage so that you can benefit from early booking opportunities - and much more!

"The enthusiasm and experience of the tutors for the aims of the course and the wider timber use trade was a big factor in my enjoyment and learning."

Kate Tuer
Senior Forest Manager, Scottish Woodlands

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