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Dibbers, Dragons and Bodgers Have Their Day in the Sun at The National Forest Wood Fair

Wednesday, 29th August 2007

Dibbers, Dragons and Bodgers Have Their Day in the Sun at The National Forest Wood Fair

Record crowds flocked to The National Forest Wood Fair at Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire on Monday (27 August) which is jointly organised by the National Forest Company and Leicestershire County Council. Over 3,000 people enjoyed one of the best days of the summer, in a beautiful setting under blue skies and billowing clouds.

The field was packed with around 80 stands and demonstrators. There were plenty of fascinating woodcraft skills on show, plus the latest in modern timber technology, to give everyone at the show an insight into the beauty of wood as well as the commercial side of the growing National Forest.

Visitors watched whole tree trunks turned to logs in a matter of seconds; they saw the care and precision needed to turn a chair leg on a pole lathe, or hand made wooden archery bows and bowls; they marvelled to see a dragon emerge from a stump of a yew tree.

Audiences watched the Wild Man of the Woods open-mouthed, captivated and enthused by his stories of the natural world and how all can do their bit to look after the environment: “Listen to the man with the hedge in his hair!”

Delicious locally sourced food – breads, bison burgers, and make-your-own-pizzas – were a real treat and the food stands were busy all day.

A scent of pine wafted from the Potions Club stand as people made their own bath salts to take home, enthusiastically pummelling sea salt and pine needles together until the fragrance was released.

The timber-hauling heavy horse Silent may have been quiet, but he certainly drew a crowd. The massive Clydesdale was a great attraction as he walked out on the field, with the clink of his harness and the sheer size of his enormous hooves.

“This is a brilliant day,” commented one visitor from Markfield. “It makes you really think about the importance of wood again. We seem to have forgotten about using it. We think about clever modern technologies, but the skills of the past were really something, and it is great to see so many of them being revived again for today’s use.”

Youngsters had a great day out. Wearing leather gauntlets they could feel the weight of an owl perched on their arm; they learnt bushcraft skills; they splashed about in a specially made pond, paddling a coracle from one side to the other; and made beautiful tree decorations and fun clay figures of creatures that live in the woods.

Hugh Williams for the National Forest Company said: “We were delighted to see so many people at The National Forest Wood Fair. They were all very keen to have a good day out, to try lots of the activities on offer and buy woodland products – indeed the number of people carrying away home and garden furniture showed that there was plenty to buy. Many also found out more about The National Forest – why it is here, what happens to the trees and how they can get involved.”

Ernie White, Lead Member for Community Services at Leicestershire County Council said: “The Wood Fair highlights the value and beauty of timber and demonstrates the importance of sustainable woodland management, both locally and globally. It has become a major event at Beacon Hill Country Park and the County Council is delighted to stage the Wood Fair in partnership with The National Forest Company.”