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Celebrate traditional woodland management at Westonbirt Silk Wood Spring Fair

From Saturday 5th May to Monday 7th May 2012, traditional woodland workers will celebrate their skills at the Forestry Commission's National Arboretum at Westonbirt.

The Silk Wood Spring Fair will be hosted by a collective of professional coppice workers with products to sell and skills handed down through generations to demonstrate.

Ruth Goodfellow, professional coppice worker. Credit Charles Budd.

The Silk Wood Spring Fair will be located on the picnic area of the Downs, near to Maples restaurant.

Products on offer have been produced with material from Westonbirt Arboretum's Silk Wood and neighbouring local woodlands. They include handmade wooden clogs, shingles, wood sales and garden accessories such as beanpoles and hurdles.

Visitors will also be able to watch demonstrations including clog making and saw milling, wooden flower making and more.

Plantlife, a charity which advises on woodland management and appropriate management and restoration of plants species will also be exhibiting.

Traditional woodland coppicing has taken place in Westonbirt Arboretum's Silk Wood for over 700 years.

Coppiced wood is grown to produce long straight stems with few or no side branches. Coppicing cuts trees to ground level and manages the new shoots to a usable size before cutting again. This style of woodland management is also beneficial to wildlife as it opens woodland areas for different plants and animals to thrive in.

The Silk Wood Spring Fair is free after general admission to Westonbirt Arboretum.

General admission is £8 for adults, £7 for concessions and £3 for children. Entry for Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum members is free.

Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt for more information on the event. More information on traditional woodland coppicing can be found at www.beanpoles.org.uk.

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to the National Japanese Maple Collection, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 specimens. Visitor numbers are over 350,000 a year, with a membership of over 28,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford, and later developed by his son George Holford. Unlike many arboretums, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt.

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/england

3. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum was formed in 1985. The charity's objects are to support the National Arboretum in promoting public understanding of the crucial role of trees to the environment and society. It is funded by membership receipts from over 28,000 members, other fundraising, and the use of the Great Oak Hall for events and activities. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is a registered charity no. 293190. More information at www.fowa.org.uk

Useful links:
www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt
www.beanpoles.org.uk

Source: Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

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