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The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas

Dartmoor, UK

Why on earth?

Dartmoor Woodcraft has its roots in our lifelong love of everything to do with woodland. We have lived and worked the woodlands of the Teign Valley all our lives. John's first introduction to the magic of woodlands began  as a child, when he was taken along  by his father and uncle, on their logging contracts in the valley. Working in the woods, so many of which seemed neglected, John started to explore and research the old ways of working with this precious resource. John has been horse logging for several years in the Teign Valley. Now we are custodians of our own ancient woodland we passionately believe it is our duty to respond to the future by learning from the past.

We use our horses as our sole means of timber extraction. This gives us the opportunity to demonstrate their  effectiveness as part of a low impact woodland management system. We have constructed a 10 year management plan for the woodland with coppice restoration and sustainable yields at its core, with a view to creating a mosaic of habitats to increase biodiversity. We are particularly interested to explore the effects on biodiversity within a woodland managed specifically for traditional crafts.

So many ancient crafts have been lost over the last century, in a decline which began with industrialisation. This loss has enabled the disconnection of people from the woodlands and the loss of the woodlands themselves. 

This project aims to revitalise some of this knowledge and skill in a way which is relevant today. We believe that if people come to the woods and practice these skills, they will feel a deeper connection to the woods and to themselves. By making small woodlands relevant culturally, socially and economically we believe that this irreplaceable resource can be sustained for future generations.

Dartmoor Woodcraft offer training and tuition, experiences and volunteering opportunities in a range of woodcraft, from charcoal and gate hurdle making, to horse logging and coppicing. We also draw on the expertise of other craftspeople who wish to pass on their skills. Get in touch if you would like to get involved in any way. We would love to learn more crafts as our woodland allows! We love tea and cake and the odd cider, and we love to chat about all things woody......

Oh, and the kettle's usually on...