Where it all began.
My wife and I began to lay hedges and coppice local woodlands about 6 years ago, after a lifetime of a love of the outdoors and getting involved in as many activities as possible.
Coppicing is the practice of cutting hardwood trees to near ground level during the winter, from which they re-grow with multiple shoots in the following years which are then used for a multitude of purposes. It does not harm the trees and in fact usually significantly extends their lifespan.
We learned to make charcoal from the wood that was too small for firewood, using 200 litre barrels and the experience of friends.
For me this wasn't enough. I began to investigate some of the other crafts that had traditionally gone with woodland management such as spoon carving and bowl turning using a pole lathe.
I didn't want to use any power tools such as chain saws or electric lathes as these took away from one of the main reasons for being in woodlands...peace. So using just and axe and knives I began to carve spoons, the first few were pretty lumpy, but I am the sort of person who perseveres when I want to learn and so I carved more and more, and they improved (phew!). Soon I went on a spoon carving course with Jarrod Dahl at the wonderful Spoonfest and I was away. Since then I have carved thousands of spoons and have loved experimenting with different styles and decorative techniques.
At this time I also built a pole lathe and began to turn bowls. Again it was slow progress, but with perseverance and sessions with top turners such as Sharif Adams, progress came.
There are many more crafts that are based around traditional woodlands such as hurdle making and basketry, all of which continue to fascinate me.