Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, ‘Deep In the Woods’ aimed to engage adults recovering from mental health issues and child carers with the landscape heritage of Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Bradfield Woods over a 12 month period. One of the finest coppiced ancient woodlands in Britain, the woods have records dated to 12th Century. Workshops centred upon learning about the social, industrial and natural history of the managed woods.
Professionals working on the project included a tree expert, photographer, an artist, Wildlife Trust Education Officer and a traditional Craftsman, all of whom ran engaging, informative and fun workshops where participants could learn how to make traditional tools such as a rake and a 3 legged stool out of coppiced products from the woods. Sculptor David Whatley showed adults from supported housing how to create traditional runes from coppiced hazel to form a runic fence. Craftsman David Wheeler ran a hands on engaging workshop including use of a steam bender for participants to create their own traditional rake and in November adults learnt how to coppice the woodland.
The project also enabled young carers to engage in hands on learning such as collecting, creating and using natural pigments such as charcoal from the woodland whilst enjoying a fun day out away from their usual caring role.
Participants’ photographs from the project and a natural history notebook summarising the different workshops can be viewed: