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'It was Buzzing!' - The National Forest Wood Fair on Bank Holiday Monday

Wednesday, 2nd September 2009

Lumberjack cutting down tree trunk

Beneath the craggy summit of Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire, thousands of visitors enjoyed the antics of the New Forest & South East Axe Men, as they chopped their way through log races, cross cut saw races and vertical log climbing with no ropes.

Through a flurry of sawdust, four expert chainsaw carvers buzzed and sawed and feathered all day to produce a range of carvings including an intricate green man storytelling chair, a beautiful ‘Spirit of the Woods’, a dragon about to take flight and a giant tortoise. 

‘That was a fantastic event,’ said one visitor on his way back to the car park.  ‘I had no idea there was so much to see and do.’ 

One visitor said she had been twice round the fair, while her eight year old grandson was mesmerised by the pole lathe turning. ‘He was fascinated – it was brilliant to see.’

Another proud grandmother said: ‘My granddaughter is sixteen and she wants to know how she can volunteer in The National Forest.  She wants a career working in the environment and she wants to start it now!’

“This was the best show ever,’ said Peter Wood, of Greenwood Days, who runs courses in greenwood crafts in Leicestershire.  ‘No sooner did I start a demonstration session than I had a crowd of people around me.’

Businesses based around forestry were strongly represented by all sorts of wood-based companies working in the Forest, selling everything from floorboards to ecopod houses (the most exciting timber-based diy homes), from chainsaws to wood oil.

Every kind of tree and timber-related activity was there.  The One Oak project, devised to demonstrate woodland management and just how many beautiful items can be made from a single tree, was illustrated in words and pictures in The National Forest marquee and the items were on display throughout the site.  Children who solved the challenge of the One Oak and unlocked the anagram were awarded a specially designed One Oak sticker. 

It was a full day’s programme with live demonstrations of woodworking skills, craft displays and have-a-go activities for adults and children.  Families loved the stories and songs from the Wild Man of the Woods; there was archery, birds of prey, horse logging and a brilliant climbing wall. 

The National Forest Wood Fair is an annual event and is run jointly by the National Forest Company and Leicestershire County Council.  The partners are already looking at plans for 2010.

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