LlyG member blog – A meeting of minds at Coppicewood College

Posted on November 25, 2014 by

Visiting other community woodlands is really rewarding – it’s the best way to get advice, ideas and help from the people in your part of Wales who really know and care about community woodlands!

This month Mike Webb – Chair of Sustainable Wick Community Group, Vale of Glamorgan, gives a short account of their visit to Coppicewood College in Pembrokeshire, with the support of a LlyG travel bursary

A group of seven members and our dog Rosie met outside Wick Village Hall at 8.45am on the 4th October to make the trip down to Coppicewood College.

We first became aware of the college last year when we visited Bruce Slark’s Forest Garden in Moylegrove also near Cardigan. Bruce is a founder member of the college and his description of its aims and objectives was very inspiring and in line with what we are trying to achieve within our objective of promoting sustainable living.

I had arranged to meet Bruce between 2.00 to 2.30pm so on route in the morning we stopped for a short but very interesting visit to Dyfed Permaculture Trust which Bruce had informed of when I was looking to buy a scythe.

We then stopped for our home made lunches at Cenarth Falls which was stunning in the sun light and then made our way through country lanes, small villages and some beautiful scenery to Cwm Plysgog wood in which the college is situated near the village of Cilgerran on the River Teifi.

Bruce was waiting for us and offered us a cup of tea which was very welcome and sat in a the only permanent structure which was a awe inspiring workshop kited out with equipment made from wood harvested from Cwm Plysgog wood, to listen to an introductory talk by our host. The college was founded in 2006 with the aim of promoting sustainable woodland management and to offer training courses to equip students with the knowledge of woodland management and traditional woodland skills to enable them to provide for themselves in a post peak oil world.

The woodland is leased from a private landlord which was of particular interest for our group because we are hoping to lease a small local wood near Wick that is owned by the Woodland Trust.

After Bruce’s talk we look around the workshops which portrayed the sustainability theme and also the amazing tool shed filled with hand tools kept in immaculate condition and hung on the walls or placed on wooden frames. We then went on a guided tour around the 17 acre deciduous woodland which Bruce informed us was being thinned by volunteers and students after several years of non intervention with the aim of completing the process over a twelve year period.

This work is being carried out with the use of hand tools and occasionally the services of a horse to bring timber out of the wood. It was quite an impressive sight to see all the cut timber stacked in separate piles according to its use and species of tree and the faggots stacked on frames to dry out which was all part of the educational process for the students.

Our visit came to an end all too quickly and we thanked Bruce for taking the time to give us a very interesting and inspiring tour around the college.



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