Dorset Wildlife Trust has teamed up with the Small Woods Association to announce an apprenticeship as part of a project to breathe new life into the small woodlands of Purbeck. The Purbeck Small Woodland Project aims to bring neglected woods to life by promoting woodland crafts and products, securing this key part of our landscape heritage for the future.
The survival of our small woodlands has for centuries been linked to the production of everything from charcoal to beanpoles, using coppicing to harvest the wood without killing the trees. These coppiced woodlands have proved to be an ideal habitat for birds, butterflies and the carpets of flowers for which England’s woods are famous, but they are at risk due to neglect. Now Dorset Wildlife Trust is inviting applications for a Week in the Woods in September, part of the selection for the woodland apprenticeship that will help to revive vital woodland crafts. The Purbeck Small Woodland Project has been supported by Defra, DCLG, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission and Natural England as part of the Wild Purbeck Nature Improvement Area Project.
Emma Tomlin, Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Trees and Woodlands Conservation Officer, said: “Like many of Dorset’s landscapes, its woodlands have survived because of their use by man, and this has benefited wildlife. These precious and important woods need active management if they are to be enjoyed by future generations. We want to bring back the woodland of our grandparents’ days living woods with sunny glades and rides, full of the noise of birdsong, the buzz of insects and the sounds of people making woodlands work.”
Fran Fowkes, Small Woods Apprenticeship Officer at the Small Woods Association, said: “This is a great opportunity to encourage much needed new entrants into an industry that is truly sustainable; helping to manage woods to benefit the local economy, biodiversity and people, through coppicing and green wood working”.
The woodland apprentice will work with Toby Hoad, an independent craftsman and member of Dorset Coppice Group. Toby said: “The chosen apprentice will spend three years learning woodland skills such as charcoal making, woodland management, hurdle making and green woodworking. The experience gained during this apprenticeship will give the skills to help restore our local woodlands. This is a fantastic opportunity for someone that is passionate about the future of our woodlands and the products that can be made from them.”
The Week in the Woods takes place in Purbeck from 24th September to 28th September. There are 24 places available costing from £120, to include basic accommodation. Participants will be able to apply for the one apprenticeship place, which starts in the autumn. This event is organised by the Small Woods Association supported by the Ernest Cook Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust. For more information or to apply, click here or ring Fran Fowkes on 07903 206518.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Emma Tomlin at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust is part of the Natural Weymouth and Portland Partnership; connecting people with nature
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.