Working Up High ...
It's easy to think the winter weeks are the 'worst time of the year'. I disagree! On the contrary, here in the woods, this is a great time to tackle winter maintenance and improvements. We also limit the days we're open for glamping around this time, and that means we can also get any noisy and dangerous jobs out of the way without disturbing slumbering guests.
The number one task this year has been some tree safety work. That involves climbing the large oaks and removing dead and dangerous limbs above any habited areas. This is not something for the faint-hearted and is definitely one for delegation as far as I'm concerned. All I can add is 'hats off' to Dave and Adam: as ever, they've done an expert job without any damage to anything below.
Working On The Ground ...
Maintenance isn't all work for the brave! We've also been busy replacing all the signage in the woods. After six years, our original hand-written wooden signs were beginning to look a bit tired and so this time around we've opted for slate. I'm delighted with the end result and surprised at quite how much smarter they make everything look - particularly in the wilder parts of the woods.
... And Working Under Cover
We've also taken the opportunity to put up an additional parachute shelter by the workshops. This area is specifically for axe work and cleaving (splitting with a froe) on our courses - activities that are best separated from the busy workshop area.
The new shelter is the portable rig that we also take to 'The Rabbit Hole' at Glastonbury. There it serves as their backstage VIP area - AKA the "Hot Club"" to those in the know. It's great to see this shelter in its new peaceful woodland setting - a far cry from the shenanigans of Worthy Farm!
But It's Not All Work!
The quieter winter season also allows us to run some of the more labour intensive courses. We've just held our annual 'Make A Chair From A Tree' week and I have to say this is a personal favourite. It's hugely satisfying and informative, and participants come away with a beautiful chair that will last for generations.
Also on the subject of courses, I really want to mention - and recommend - Adam's spoon carving courses. These are growing from strength to strength, as does Adams reputation in the spoon carving community.
Spoon carving is something you can pick up and put down as it suits you - it's a very satisfying and rewarding way to spend some time.
How Grand A Design?
Having already been awarded the coveted RIBA SW Award and The RIBA SW Small Project of The Year, we are very pleased and delighted to be able to say that The Woodsman's Treehouse is now up for the RIBA Grand Designs 'House of The Year' award. Our episode is airing next Tuesday, 21st November at 9pm on Channel 4. Clearly, the treehouse is not technically a house, but fingers firmly crossed anyway!
The Wood Awards, which celebrate and recognise the innovative use of wood in architecture and product design, also take place on November 21st. We will be attending the awards ceremony in London (whilst recording Grand Designs House Of The Year!). It should be a great opportunity to enjoy an evening with fellow wood enthusiasts and craftsmen and to get down to some serious wood nerdyness - my idea of a top night out!
In The Media
We are always grateful for the media attention we receive. Below, some recent items:
In the press:GQ Magazine
Homes and Property
And as well as on ITV news, I've been on BBC radio, talking about the treehouse and awards:BBC Programmes
Way Back When
At the tender age of 18 (very many years ago), I learnt my trade as a wood craftsman and designer at John Makepeace's 'School for Craftsmen in Wood' at Parnham House in Beaminster.
(I am the young thin one in the middle with lots of hair ...)
John has recently published an excellent book, 'Beyond Parnham' - 'The celebration of an educational phenomenon that inspired a generation of designers and furniture makers: forty years on they reflect on their careers.'
The book includes a section on the treehouse and our craft courses here in the woods. It's fair to say it's unlikely either would exist if it hadn't been for my time spent at Parnham.
For those with an interest in contemporary design and craft this makes an excellent read and can be ordered directly online here:Beyond Parnham
And I imagine that for many people it could be a very nice Christmas present!
Stuck For Ideas?
And talking of presents ... Don't forget we offer gift certificates which you can redeem against any of our courses, glamping and staying in the treehouse. They can be ordered online from our website -Gift Vouchers
These can be posted in anonymous envelopes if you'd like us to, so if you're ordering a Christmas present for someone who lives in the same household, that's not a problem!
And that's about it for this edition. We hope to see you down the woods in the coming months.
Guy and the team