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Know your Adze from your Bandsaw: Woodworking Masterclasses at the National Forest Wood Fair

Tuesday, 13th August 2013

Image credit: Mike Painter

A series of woodworking masterclasses will entertain visitors to the National Forest Wood Fair on Monday 26 August at Beacon Hill Country Park, Leicestershire.

Charismatic Nick Gibbs, editor of Living Woods and British Woodworking magazines, will introduce the master woodworkers, who will each run a masterclass in their specialist area.

Mike Abbott will share some of his 25 years’ experience in making greenwood chairs and talk about his books Going with the Grain and Living Wood. In 2009, Mike judged the greenwood chairmaking session for the BBC2 series Mastercrafts, presented by Monty Don.

David Richardson, a lathe turner from Sileby, Leicestershire, will be making a spinning top using an electric lathe.

Mike Painter is a traditional woodcarver based in Austrey, West Midlands. He studied in Venice and has worked on Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Palace of Westminster and many National Trust properties. He received a personal letter from Her Majesty the Queen recognising his work in repairing the fire damage at Windsor Castle. His masterclass will demonstrate carving a green man out of oak.

The masterclasses will take place in the Stage marquee, alternating with live music from Govennan and cookery demonstrations including jam making, pie making and Asian foods, part of the Forest Food Festival.

The National Forest Wood Fair is packed with overa hundred demonstration, craft and activity stands. The day features exciting displays from the lumberjacks, chainsaw carvers, pole lathe turners in their log to leg races and magnificent heavy horses hauling logs.

It’s a great day out for all the family. Children will love the climbing wall, stories and songs from the Wild Man of the Woods, the chance to paddle a coracle, hitch a ride in the tree lift, and try out eco art. Everyone can join the cartoon drawing workshops in The National Forest marquee.

The National Forest is a forest in the making, spanning two hundred square miles of the Midlands. The Wood Fair is a great way to find out about the development of the Forest and how people can get involved. Anyone wanting to create woodland, find out about managing their woodland, or discover all the benefits that woodland can bring to a community and indeed to individuals, will find out more at the Wood Fair. Over the last twenty years over eight million trees have been planted in the Forest - the eight millionth being planted last year by HRH the Duke of Cambridge.

The Wood Fair ends with a charity auction in aid of Tree Aid, a UK-based development charity helping rural communities in Africa’s drylands to fight poverty and become self-reliant by tree planting to provide a sustainable harvest. Many of the chainsaw carvings created on the day, plus items donated by Wood Fair exhibitors, will be under the auctioneer’s hammer at 5pm. It’s a chance to pick up a bargain and support a vital charity in the process.

The National Forest Wood Fair is run by the National Forest Company in partnership with Leicestershire County Council. Beacon Hill Country Park, which is owned by Leicestershire County Council, is just 5 minutes from junctions 22/23 of the M1 motorway.

The Fair opens at 9am and closes at 6pm. There is a free park and ride service running from County Hall, Glenfield, Leicester, and entry discounts for cyclists.

Tickets on the day, including car parking and a programme, cost: adult £9, concession £6, family £25 (two adults and three concessionary tickets). Book in advance and get 20% discount! Tickets are on sale online (until midday Friday 23 August) at and also available at the Tourist Information Centres in Ashby de la Zouch (01530 411767) and Swadlincote (01283 222848). Book in advance and get a family day out for £20!

For further information see or call the National Forest Company on 01283 551211.

Image credit: Mike Painter