Following the negotiation of a lease in 2019, Coppicewood College and the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales formed a partnership which will both enhance the wildlife habitats in Pengelli Forest, especially for dormice, and increase the scope for the College to run its courses in traditional woodland management and crafts in a setting that is truly magnificent.
Since the lease was signed, the College applied for grants to build a suitable workshop and headquarters as well as a compost loo. A grant was awarded from the Sustainable Development Fund, managed by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for just under £16,000.
This allowed the College to get started with the construction of the workshop. Shortly afterwards the Wildlife Trust was bequeathed with £16,000 specifically for the development of Pengelli Forest and so the Wildlife Trust felt it appropriate to allocate this money towards the build.
The College has to date spent £8000 of its own funds and a further £5000 has been granted to the College by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales which has helped to pay for all those hidden extras that come along with this kind of build.
As many as 43 volunteers assisted Ty Pren (timber-framed building contractors) with the build which spanned the various lockdowns due to Covid and without whom this project could not have been completed. What a fantastic building we now have in the Pengelli and one that will last for many years.
The Summer is being spent moving tools and equipment and fitting them in to their new quarters. The College is already receiving applications for its various courses including the Woodland Skills Course, a part time course that runs over the 6 months of the coppicing season. There is no other course in the UK that covers all the aspects of sustainable woodland management.
At this time there is a strong emphasis to create woodland and to properly manage existing woods. These objectives will help offset the effects of global warming, provide suitable habitat for rare and protected species, enable better connectivity within the wider landscape and generally enhance the natural environment.
There is no doubt that there will be an increasing demand for this kind of training and Coppicewood College are well placed to ensure that they are able to meet that demand!
Courses you can book now:
- Make a stool: Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd September
- Woodland Skills PT course: Wednesday 29th September - 2 days per week - Wed/Thurs for 6 months
- Introduction to Coppicing: Monday 18th October - 4 days
For details of all the College’s courses and volunteering opportunities please go to www.coppicewoodcollege.co.uk, where you can book online or contact the College for further information.
Nathan Walton, Wildlife Trust Officer Pembrokeshire