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The National Forest Wood Fair: A Great Day Out at the End of the Summer

Wednesday, 7th July 2010

Now in its sixth year, the Fair will be bigger than ever, with more car parking and over 100 exhibitors and demonstrators.

Don’t miss the lumberjack displays by the New Forest and South East Axemen.  They went down a storm last year, with log chop races and board climbs – they even invited members of the crowd to join in, with guys and girls hauling at either end of a cross cut saw.

Hear the throttles of the chainsaw carving, as skilled craftsmen buzz and feather massive chunks of timber into works of art, some of which will feature in the charity auction for Tree Aid at the end of the day.

New for this year is the ‘log to leg’ race! It'll be ready, steady, go in Bodgers' Corner, as half a dozen pole lathe turners race to turn a log into a leg in the shortest time possible.  The shavings will be flying and the pole lathes pumping!

One of the most popular attractions at the National Forest Wood Fair is the horse logging, and this year the team will be joined by Bruno, an Ardennes horse from Warwickshire, who has recently been hauling timber in Jackson’s Bank in The National Forest.

Visitors can also find out how to make a coracle, see willow weaving, woodcarving and pyrography. Kids can have a go at the climbing wall, eco art and other ranger led activities.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears will put a new twist on last year’s One Oak project. As before, an oak tree has been taken down in the Forest, as part of essential management works, and the One Oak project is a way of demonstrating the wide range of uses for the timber.  As the day progresses, visitors will be able to see the Three Bears' Cottage take shape, all constructed from one oak tree that grew in the Forest. 

A section of the cottage will be constructed using green oak framing, oak cladding and oak floorboards.  The domestic scene will be completed as each element is created on site and added during the day: a mantlepiece, table and chairs, picture frames, the log pile by the fire - and a bowl and spoon.  The Three Bears will take their places, having been carved on site, and Goldilocks herself will be available to talk to the visitors.

Alongside the craftspeople, folklore and traditional activities, the 21st century face of forestry will also be strongly represented.  As The National Forest matures, there are thinnings to use and other products from its hundreds of woodlands. Visit the stalls of companies making a living in the Forest and get advice on woodfuel and other ways to make the most of the Forest.

‘Last year’s Fair broke all records,’ said Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company. ‘Over 5,500 people came to what is now the region’s premier country event.  It gives us a great opportunity to show how The National Forest is developing and all that it offers to local people and to visitors.  You can find out how the foresters work to look after the Forest, where to walk and cycle, all the marvellous things to see and do in and around the Forest, how the growth and planting of the Forest is improving conditions for wildlife and how local communities can get involved in looking after the woodlands on their doorstep.’

Sessions in the Talks Tent will entertain visitors with tales of the Forest from the Wild Man of the Woods, the latest research into some of the bugs and pests that can trouble the trees and stories of the Bronze Age hill fort and nature conservation work on Beacon Hill itself – the site of the Wood Fair.

A new Park & Ride service will operate this year, enabling visitors to leave their cars at County Hall, Glenfield, Leicester, and travel by bus – free of charge – to the Fair. The service will run from 9.30am-6pm.

The National Forest Wood Fair is organised jointly by the National Forest Company and Leicestershire County Council and is supported by emda. 

It is held at Beacon Hill Country Park and will run from 10am – 5pm on Bank Holiday Monday 30 August.  Entry costs adults £7, concessions £4 and a family ticket £15 (for two adults and three children).

Beacon Hill Country Park lies within the ancient Forest of Charnwood and is close to the attractive village of Woodhouse Eaves, just five minutes drive from Junctions 22 or 23 of the M1.  The Country Park, owned and managed by Leicestershire County Council, with its craggy summit and panoramic views, is just one of the many visitor attractions across the three counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire that make up The National Forest.

For further information also see   www.leics.gov.uk/woodfair