Countryside Skills Day


tree carving


Thank you Dorset Coppice Group for holding such a wonderful open day and for letting us find out about some of those really important countryside skills.  From the location, a beautiful wood used to practise those coppicing skills, through the range of crafts on display to the knowledge and willingness to talk about their skills of the craftsmen attending the day was thoroughly enjoyable.  The day was supporting National Beanpole Day a cry to us all to stop using imported canes for our beans and to use British beanpoles and pea sticks.


Outdoor classroom poem

Coppicing is the oldest method of woodland management and many flowers such as bluebells and wood anemones and birds such as nightingales benefit from traditional management.  The Dorset coppice group has the facilities for an outdoor classroom on site and this poem displayed by them really sums it all up.  I’m also rather fond of it as I think I may have gone to University with the Poet.


Our first activity was to see a wood turner in action.  He made a wooden pen cover from scratch.  My nine year old who will not usually sit still was completely enthralled.  He stayed on the spot for a whole half hour and watched the complete process.

horse pulling log

We saw how logs would have once been moved around the woodland.  It was a real treat to help with the log pulling.

charcoal burner

charcoal logs

One of our favourite activities was seeing how charcoal is made.  In fact this batch had not burnt properly, but all was not lost and it would just go back in the burner next time.  We learnt that over 90% of charcoal consumed in this country comes from overseas, predominently endangered tropical rainforest.  Coppicing and making charcoal goes hand in hand together.  The dorset charcoal has a carbon content as high as 90% compared with only 60% of some imported types.  Needless to say we bought a bag and hope its going to give us some great barbeques.

Did you also know that ground charcoal is used in the cosmetic and firework industries.  We also took away thin sticks of charcoal for drawing with.  It was made from placing willow in the burner.

coppice money box

We loved this rustic money box.

We are linking up this post with Countrykids at Coombemill

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