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We look forward to welcoming you to Woodland Skills Centre 

 

Latest News….July 2019

 

Community Support 

Our Tuesday and Wednesday groups of adults with complex disabilities, funded by Social Services, continue to be successful with a high attendance rate. Both days are now full as we have taken on 3 young adults with autism who have integrated well into the groups.

Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn (the Regional Centre for Autism Education) – Primary Department

We have been concerned for some years that we do not engage enough with children with additional needs and their families. They seldom come to Holiday Club or on Family Events. We have been awarded funding to work with Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn to offer a progression through Forest School to Holiday Club to Family Days. This will both allow us to develop new techniques to provide suitable programmes and also to make families with children with additional needs aware of what we offer. The current programme concludes with the last session in August.

Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn – Secondary

The final session of the current programme with the pupils in Year 11 and 12 has taken place. Six pupils have been attending one day a week in the last term for an outdoor programme – Forest School, Bushcraft and craftwork.

Pupil Inclusion

We have just completed a very successful 10 week programme for a group of six 14 and 15 year olds from Flint High School. These pupils were either not in school or experiencing difficulties in school. 

Team Days

We have delivered Team Days for Denbighshire County Council, one for the 24 members of South Denbighshire Community Resource Team – a new multi-disciplinary team – and the second one for the Corporate Communications Team. 

Courses

Courses are going well with many fully booked. We have already had students from Scotland, the east of England and one from the USA. We have several new courses which  are already fully booked : rush hats, knife making, re-handling tools.

Our Make a Deckchair course was very successful and no doubt the finished product is enjoyed by the proud owners who made them. New courses are always added to the website i.e. Corn Dollies – 1 September and Weaving on a Peg Loom – 20 October.

Adults with Dementia

We have been asked earlier this year to take an adult with dementia for one day a week. This has proved successful and he is now coming for 2 days a week.

Volunteers

Our Monday Volunteer Group are invaluable. They have been working on refitting the workshops, building in more storage and making them fully wheelchair accessible as well as completing a timber-framed storage shed.

Disabled access

The workshops are now fully accessible for wheelchair users and we will start to look at how we can develop techniques for wheelchair users to be able to take part in a wide range of craft activities.

Family Holiday Events

We are running family holiday events in Rhyl, Prestatyn and Greenfield Valley. 

Mindfulness in the Woods

Following on from the success of our Mindfulness in the Woods courses and the demand from participants wanting to extend their knowledge further, we are offering a 4-day Mindfulness in a Woodland Setting Accredited OCN course in September.

Live in the Woods

Our Live in the Woods events have been very popular again this year with acoustic live music in the woods and some poetry too. Two more concerts will take place in August and September.  

Shows and Festivals

We have been invited to and attended several shows – RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, RHS Tatton Flower Show, International Ceramics Fair at Aberystwyth and Woodfest where we have been demonstrating and promoting traditional crafts and running workshops for children. The shows remaining are Denbigh & Flint County Show, Mold Food Festival and the Anglesey Woodland Show. Why not come and visit our marquee if you are going to any of these? We would love to see you.

Partnership Programmes

We are taking part in three partnership programmes:

  • Roadside Verge Wildflower Restoration Project – Seed was collected last year from roadside verges that had not undergone drastic cutting, was sown in cells, potted on and looked after with the help from our Community Support group. The plants have grown well and are now distributed to other organisations. If you are interested and/or would like to be involved in safeguarding our wildflowers on the roadside verges, information can be found on https://plantlife.love-wildflowers.org.uk/roadvergecampaign/inspiring-stories

  • Longforest Project – We are continuing with making nursery space and storage space available and collecting seed and growing plants. We will also be delivering two courses for community groups on Growing Trees from Seed. This project is run by Keep Wales Tidy with support from the Woodland Trust. More information can be found https://www.keepwalestidy.cymru/longforest 

  • Deer Initiative – We provide storage space for equipment and support for the new Education Officer. For more information here is a link http://www.thedeerinitiative.co.uk/ 

We are very pleased that the whole of BBC Radio Wales Country Focus Programme on Sunday morning 28th July was devoted to the work of Woodland Skills Centre. It covered what we do in protecting the environment and all the work we do to support our local community.

If you would like to listen to the programme “A Community Woodland for All” here is the link to copy and paste in to your browser https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000751v

Awards

We are feeling very proud to have been awarded the Green Flag status by Keep Wales Tidy.

The following are extracts from the Assessor’s report.

“ Excellent use of sustainable materials throughout the site. The construction of the centre buildings is a credit to the work carried out on site and an accurate reflection of the philosophy of the organisation.

An excellent example of sustainable conservation in practice. Affiliation with partner organisations such as the Wildlife Trust strengthens the credibility of the site.

The conservation of traditional skills and techniques should be applauded, as should the inclusion of a heritage orchard to provide refuge for a range of fruit varieties with local provenance.

The development of a medicinal herb garden is a wonderful concept and a great way to involve visitors in an interesting and practical field of horticulture.

The inclusion of social prescribing is a model that should be commended and replicated across the country, as an additional care method for the wide range of users with complex mental and emotional support needs.

The Woodland Skills Centre is a rich and varied site that is carrying out fantastic work from both a social engagement and biodiversity/conservation aspect. It is an excellent example of what can be achieved when a site is developed and managed with clear objectives in mind and a focus on sustainable practices. “

We look forward to welcoming you to Woodland Skills Centre

**** Launch of new course ‘Mindfulness in the Woods *****

There has been a lot of coverage in the press recently about the benefits of Mindfulness on mental health and wellbeing.

A very interesting interview of Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of MBCT (Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) and MBSR (Mindfulness-based stress reduction) was published in the Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/22/mindfulness-jon-kabat-zinn-depression-trump-grenfell#img-2

Woodland Skills Centre has supported health and wellbeing for many years in their provision of Social Forestry Level 3 OCN courses but also through the work with the various special needs groups that visit the Centre on a regular basis.

As an extension of our programme we are excited to now run this new course:

Mindfulness in a Woodland Setting course

Come and experience mindfulness in the award-winning 50 acre Warren Woods.

We currently offer sessions as an introduction to Mindfulness in a Woodland Setting that are suitable for anyone over the age of 18 who either already practises mindfulness or wants to explore the benefits of mindfulness in nature.

The aim of the session is to become aware of the small changes in the physical sensations in your body, your thoughts, moods and emotions and what is happening in the world around you.

Some of the benefits of practising mindfulness include:

General happiness and contentment – Greater harmony in relationships – Enhanced insight and clarity – Improved analytical skills – Increased curiosity, openness and acceptance – Reduction in anxiety, depression and stress – Improved memory and concentration – Enhanced ability to deal with illness and to manage pain – Reduced risk of heart problems – Improved immune system responses.

The sessions will take place in the beautiful tranquil woodland where we will experience nature at its best. In case of inclement weather we will have the use of one of the timber-framed Centre buildings heated by a wood-burner stove.

The sessions will be led by Sabine Soosten, a Level 3 trained and experienced ‘Mindfulness in Woodland’ practitioner.

For further information please email enquiries@woodlandskillscentre.co.uk or phone the session leader, Sabine Soosten, on 01745 710626

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Volunteer Programme

The regular Volunteer day takes place every Monday from 10.00 till 3.00 to look after our 50 acre site – woodlands, tree nursery, arboretum, heritage orchard, wildflower meadow, vineyard, Forest School sites.

Volunteers work with one of our staff who ensures that full training is given. You will learn about our woodlands and what lives in them, a range of woodland management skills, habitat creation and wildlife monitoring.

If the weather is bad we have the use of our large workshops and make products from material we harvest from the woods.

We provide tea, coffee and biscuits and we have the use of one of our heated timber frame buildings. Just bring a packed lunch and suitable outdoor clothing and we will take care of the rest.

If you are interested in this opportunity please contact us by email enquiries@woodlandskillscentre.co.uk or phone 01745 710626.


 

Reviews…..

Mindfulness in the Woods course
 
I have attended two Mindfulness courses at the centre and absolutely loved them both. I was a little nervous at first but was made to feel extremely welcome. The courses were fantastic and I loved every minute of them. Being quite a anxious person the course has provided me with the skills, knowledge and the desire to practice mindfulness daily and it is now part of my life. I would go as far as to say that the course is life-changing and extremely beneficial to my wellbeing. The surroundings are beautiful and I am looking forward to attending again soon to further develop my skills and practice. That you so much Sabine for sharing your knowledge with me, the impact has been profound. If you are interested in the mindfulness course, I would advise you to take the leap of faith and book, you won’t regret it!
Rebecca, July 2018
Live in the Woods
‘what a wonderful night on Friday at Garry’s concert, I loved every minute of it, such a beautiful way of combining music in a natural setting well done.’  (Live in the Woods – Gary Edward Jones)
John, April 2018
‘Just a note to say a big Thankyou for a great evening last Friday. Phil and I and friends Kathy and John really enjoyed it and hope to be able to come to the next one! Weren’t we lucky with the weather too! You must be very pleased that it was such a success……..worth all the hard work getting ready.’  (Live in the Woods – Gary Edward Jones)
Mel & Phil, April 2018

 

Kids Holiday Club
My girls Sofia and freya would like to thank you after an amazing two days with you . They are genuinely sad it’s come to an end and I would highly recommend you to any parents wanting to encourage kids off gagets and engage with nature.
Diana, February 2018
Bowl Turning on a Pole-lathe course
Just wanted to say thanks again for another superb course at the WSC. Really enjoyable and a great learning environment. Thanks also to you and the team for making me feel welcome. Hope to see you soon.
Martin, October 2017
Tool Sharpening Course
I did a tool sharpening course, one day, with Doug. I found it extremely helpful. Obviously you’re not going to become an expert in a day, but you can bring your own tools and the course is designed to help you learn what sharpening skills are most useful for you. By the end of the day I felt much more competent and had a clearer idea how to look after my wood carving tools. Doug was a patient and well informed instructor and there was only four of us in the group so you get plenty of one on one time. Sharpening is crucial for anyone learning to carve so I’d definitely recommend this.
Eadon, May 2017
Review from a regular visitor
Superbly well kitted out centre with campsite, green woodworking centre, examples of carbon neutral building and well managed diverse woodland. A well curated set of courses and workshops keep our family coming back for more!
David, May 2017
 

Traditional crafts

I just wanted to thank you once more for a fantastic day yesterday. Everyone on the course enjoyed themselves, and really appreciated every aspect of the course.

Llangollen Community Garden – September 2014

Bushcraft course

I just wanted to send you a quick email to say Thank You. We has a wonderful time at the Bushcraft Course and I just wanted to say thanks for running a great centre and doing a great course!

Victoria – August 2014

Family Day in the Woods …

Message from a parent who came

We all had a great time yesterday so thank you for making it so engaging and interesting. Please also pass on our thanks to Alan and Helen who were brilliant. We will definitely book another course and will have a browse of the brochure and website.

Kind Regards, Lisa Williams

Message from Scotland

Just dropping you a line to say thanks for your hospitality and the Willow Course with Caroline was great she’s a lovely lady. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and it was well worth the trip. All the best with the new build and everything else you folk do it’s a great place you run.

Kind regards, Nikki
Nicola Cole, Instructor/Work Preparation Advisor

Birthday Parties in the Woods

We have already run several birthday parties this year. Here is some feed-back

I would like to repeat my thanks for the wonderful setting and facilities which you provided for my birthday party last Saturday.
Everybody had an extremely good time – my 5 year-old grandson is already planning a repeat performance for his birthday. It will be difficult to think of anything as good for future birthdays so I am likely to come again, too.

Best Regards Stella Bennett – April 2013

Newspaper Article

Daily Post – 31 March 2012

Next morning, we set off for the Woodland Craft Centre in Bodfari (woodlandskillscentre.co.uk, adults £35, children £10).

Rod Waterfield manages this beautiful 50 acres of woodland with his two children, Helen and Alan. The woods are open to walkers for free, but they also run a programme of courses in woodland skills and traditional crafts. You can learn to build a coracle, weave a basket or make a rustic stool.

There’s also a school holiday club and adventure days and weekends for families, including free camping. They can even host woodland birthday parties. In our sometimes over-protective culture, giving a child the chance to run wild in the woods is an opportunity not to be missed.

The Woodland Skills Centre has a fantastic approach – they take safety really seriously but don’t wrap children in cotton wool. Our two were thrilled to use proper wood knives with gleaming blades and chunky homemade hammers to split kindling and to be taught how to light fires without matches. All of it was done within framework of very clear, sensible rules. So the way the knife and mallet were held meant accidental slips weren’t possible.

Before learning how to forage for firewood, to lay a fire and use a magnesium fire starter and dried birch bark to coax it to life, the children first learned the important safety rules for treating fire with respect, how to sit and move round a fire and how to make sure it’s properly extinguished. We gathered round the outdoor fire pit for lunch – a pan of sizzling sausages cooked over the open fire with plenty of bread and salad, washed down with hot drinks made using the immense kettle suspended from a tripod above the fire.

We finished off with an American campfire delicacy: marshmallows toasted over the fire and sandwiched between two chocolate digestives. These go by the name of “s’mores”, so the story goes, because that’s how you sound when you inevitably ask for “some more” while your mouth’s still full.

Birthday Parties in the Woods

We have already run several birthday parties this year.

Thank you so much for the Birthday Party for Polly on Saturday. The girls all had a really fantastic time in the woods. All of the feedback I have had has been positive and the parents are all very impressed with the different type of birthday party!!

Janette Nevin – March 2012