Wilder Woods

Central Somerset Outdoor Learning Partnership

Hedgerow Baskets

by Deb Millar - November 27th, 2011

Lynda Shaw and Hannah Aitken ran a wonderful hedgerow basket workshop on 20th November. Do look at the Hallr Wood gallery to see the photos. Some stages of the process were soothing, some utterly frustrating!

We all managed to finish our baskets except for Cee who was supposed to be cooking anyway!They will be running willow baskets in January at Drayton.

Top John Muir Award for two boys

by Deb Millar - November 27th, 2011

Two of our regular volunteers have recently gained their third and top John Muir Award. This is a huge achievement requiring sustained commitment and the boys have been working towards it since March.

The photo is of Mark Johnson who has been coming weekly to Hallr Wood. He is an expert on bird identification and can recognize and imitate bird calls. For this award he also helped out at Bath & West Show on our stall there. Here he is showing his award presented to him by Juliet our chair person.

Henry Street gained his Conserver Award some weeks earlier. Henry hopes to go into a career as a bushcraft instructor. Do have a look at the photos of the coracle he built for his Explorer Award which was launched this summer (in the Hallr Wood gallery).

Horse Logger and Celebration of access opening at Hallr Wood

by Deb Millar - November 21st, 2011

Nearly 100 people of all ages (oldest was 97) called in to watch Charles and Rosalind Buckler at work with their two logging horses on Saturday. The sun shone and children played on the swings and in the dens. The horses Major and Suzy did a great job bringing timber from around the wood ready for planking on Rupert Furneaux’s mobile saw mill ( hopefully visiting us soon). The Woodland Cafe did a brisk trade serving hot soup, teas and delicious cakes, baked and donated by supporters (THANKS to you all). It was a beauitiful way to celebrate the end of the long battle we have fought for permission to continue our woodland activities. In the afternoon we all gathered around the access so that Juliet (Chair of our group) could cut the ribbon. We were also presented with a giant cheque from CHADS (Charlton’s Amateur Dramatic Society) who so generously contributed £500 from the proceeds of their summer producction to enable us to do the work required. There are so many people to thank for the access. S Morris donated the materials – stone for the car area and the concrete for the ramp. Vera Huxter gave money for us to buy new wooden gates, many people donated individually. SSDC gave £500 and Charlton Parish Council gave £40. We have worked flat out to get the access done as quickly as possible. Special thanks go to Tim Loosemore, Marty Fildes, Mike Whittaker, Mike Smyth and of course Martyn Huxter who built the concrete ramp only a week ago. Roger Cox has done a fantastic job with his digger – and will be back soon we hope to finish off by spreading a bit more stone on the edges of the car area. We still have landscaping work to do but hope to complete the planting by holding extra volunteer days through out the winter on Wednesdays. Do get in touch if you would like to know more. Thank you very much to the Forest Education Initiative Partnership Fund for funding for the horse logger. It aptly concluded the Somerset Twig to Table project.

Hallr Wood autumn update

by Deb Millar - October 10th, 2011

Our family conservation club has sadly now finished. Everyone wanted it to keep going so we hope to be able to start up again in the spring.

We are now focusing on getting our access up and running and have finally received notification from SSDC that we have been authorised to proceed with the work. Our Forestry and Conservation group have been working on landscaping inside the wood – they have designed a path to connect the car area with the green wood working shelter. They have also improved the bridge and started helping Martyn on the shed extension.

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive and helpful. Hopefully our planning battles will soon be completely over.

Family Skills Share Continues

by Hannah Aitken - October 6th, 2011

Due to the success of the Drayton Family Skills Share sessions funded by Grassroots Grants we are able to continue running these sessions up until Oct half term, Weds 1-3pm
contact Hannah@madasafish.com for more details

CSOLP is now signed up for Local Giving

by Deb Millar - September 17th, 2011

CSOLP is now signed up for Local Giving through Somerset Community Foundation. Over the years Somerset Community Foundation has supported our work with children and families in woodlands. They gave us our very first grant in 2007 which helped us get started. They also provided valuable advice about the management of a voluntary run group. Many thanks to Somerset Community Foundation, an organization which empowers communities to help themselves.

Forest Family Sessions

by Hannah Aitken - September 7th, 2011


A friendly outdoor playgroup for 0-5 yearolds with Skills Share for adults. Children can explore woodland & play games with a qualified Forest School leader while adults take part in woodcraft, firelighting, wool weaving & felting, willow craft, drama games & wildlife awareness skills share sessions.


4 week course starts Wednesday September 7th, 14th, Sept 21st, Sept 28th


For bookings & details  contact  Hannah Aitken 01458 252 463

Course subsidised by Somerset Community Foundation

Forest School Fridays

by Hannah Aitken - September 7th, 2011

Drayton Woods After School Club for 8-12 year olds starts on September 16th and runs for 6 weeks until October 21st. 4.30-7pm
A chance to develop woodland skills over an extended period, exploration, denbuilding, whittling & tool work, crafts, campfire cooking

Booking Essential Contact Hannah Aitken 01458 252 463


Grants and donations and update on planning at Hallr Wood

by Deb Millar - August 4th, 2011

We are very grateful to SSDC Community Fund, the Charlton Mackrell Parish Council and the Charlton’s panto group CHADS who have all recently given grants and donations towards our access/planning conditions costs at Hallr Wood.

We are really pleased that the new Parish Council is supportive of our work in the community and thank them for their donation of £40 towards the costs of fullfilling our planning conditions at Hallr Wood. This money will be spent on landscaping the access and on hedging, helping us to minimize negative visual affect which is hard to avoid with highways insistence on a 5m access onto a 3m lane.

It was also especially wonderful that CHADs chose to support us, donating £500 from the proceeds of their recent, hilarious production ‘Inspector Drake’s Last Case’. A big thank you to them and all the villagers who attended the play.

We are still struggling with all the bureaucracy attached to meeting our planning conditions and are disappointed we are not yet in a position to proceed with the work. The tree surgeon has begun work around the access – removing a few damanged Norwegian maple trees. This work is fully covered by our Forestry Commission felling licence. The trees in our tree nursery are doing well and are ready to be planted in the hedge when the work is complete.

Anyone who wants to help with the planting or other jobs associated with this work – do get in touch.

Hallr Wood Open Day 19/6/2011

by Deb Millar - June 20th, 2011

We welcomed a steady stream of people – old friends and new faces to our Open Day at Hallr Wood on 19th June. Thankfully we dodged the showers and the afternoon was dry and even sunny at times. The wood looked enchanting and there was loads to do. There were woodland trails, chances to try out shave horses and spring pole lathe, a hammock challenge, crafty activities and plenty to eat from our beautiful Woodland cafe. We had a comfy seating area under our enormous cargo parachute and people could go and sit there and hear wonderful stories from Amanda and also Mark playing several tunes on his hammered dulcimer. Our raffle had attracted some great prizes – Sarah won the rocket stove (and can’t wait to try it out on their next camping trip to Exmoor) Azharah won the elm spoon, Jo Blunt won the lovely etching donated fron Nina Gronw- Lewis, Andy the chocs from Heather Barnes (healthy chocolate!) and Cherry won the bottles from Somerset Food Direct. Richard won the hammock challenge. We have raised nearly £200 towards the costs of our planning permision (works required). Big thank you to all our helpers- Ian & Torin, Azharah, Marty, Sarah, Jane, Lynda, Ed, Andy, Martyn, Amanda and her helpers, Juliet Lawn, our Wwoofers Ian, Colline and Matt and also those who came and ate cakes and strawberries. Do look at Ian’s photos which can be accessed via our Hallr Wood facebook page. Hopefully we will have some on our gallery soon too.