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Nice day for nature fun!

Tuesday, 19th August 2008

Nice day for nature fun!

For those with a fancy for fine things made out of wood, an appetite for locally-sourced food and drink, a love of the outdoors or a curiosity to find out more about The National Forest – this is the perfect event.  Held in the stunning setting of Beacon Hill Country Park, this fourth annual Wood Fair promises to be the biggest and best yet.

“We’re expecting a great turnout,” said Penny Wilkinson, Tourism and Promotions Officer for the National Forest Company.  “Thousands of people had a fantastic day at the Fair last year and we have so much more for them to see and do this year.  It is a brilliant way for us to show that The National Forest is much more than just trees:  it’s about walking and cycling, bird watching and picnicking; it’s about people working and living here and the difference that the trees make in the landscape and their effect on the environment.  Growing a forest is an amazing thing.”

Visitors to the Wood Fair can have a go at whistle whittling, pole lathe turning or willow weaving, then watch the experts who make it look oh-so-easy as they produce beautifully crafted items and works of art.

Bushcraft experts will share the secrets of fire-lighting, shelter building and collecting water – including how to filter it through a sock lined with wood ash and moss.  And how to dry the sock afterwards with the insides of a bullrush.

Kids can paddle a coracle, get stuck into eco-art activities, or knuckle down to nature fun with the rangers from Conkers.  The Wild Man of the Woods will enthral his listeners with stories and songs about the natural world and how we can take care of it.

Two of the most popular attractions at the Wood Fair are the heavy horses Bruno and Silent.  To watch them hauling massive tree trunks out of the woodland is to be transported back over the years to traditional methods of timber harvesting – only this is still an invaluable way to get timber out of small or inaccessible woodlands today, and part of the whole commercial mix of 21st century forestry techniques, which are demonstrated elsewhere on the site.

New this year is the grand auction which will round off the day at 3.30 pm.  A select number of high-class pieces from the exhibitors at the Fair will be available in the auction, all of which will be on display in the Country Parks tent during the day.  Items already promised include a handmade coracle and paddle, a child’s chair made by Gordon Monk (one of the top furniture makers attending the Wood Fair) and the chain saw sculpture produced during the day by renowned sculptor Andrew Frost.

The Wood Fair is organised by the National Forest Company and Leicestershire County Council.  It will run from 10am - 5pm on Bank Holiday Monday 25 August.  Admission charges include car parking and a programme and will cost adults £6, concessions £4 and a family ticket £14 (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 that make up The National Forest.

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