Welcome to Vert Woods
If you enjoy woodlands this is a good page to connect with a range of activities, regular practical work groups, photos of what’s going on, and other organisations active in the practical, young persons and spiritual aspects of woodlands.
Vert Woods Ltd is our sister company that owns and manages close to 20 acres of woodland for community and wildlife benefit. We passed out ten year mark in 2014. The woods are located in East Sussex, England – just outside Laughton Village and are part of a large area of more than 400 acres of woodland connecting Lower and Upper Vert Woods, Butterfly Corner Reserve and Laughton Woods.
With such a large area of continuous woodland, there is terrific variety throughout, ranging from mature tall pines, to under-managed chestnut coppice, and from pockets of beautiful tall oaks and beech, to dense areas full of unmanaged birch and willow. Much of the woodland is recovering woodland, substantially affected by the Great Storm of 1987. There are multiple owners, with varied objectives and impacts and coordination is patchy.
In our part of Lower Vert Woods we have been organising monthly volunteer work days – usually the third Sunday of each month. See our specific page on Facebook ( link – https://www.facebook.com/groups/VertWoods/ ) for details of dates and activities. At the Work Days you can pick up skills around felling, crowning, coppicing, axe work and general firewood skills. It’s a great introduction to the woods and no previous experience is needed. Get directions and dates also via firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Sweat Equity for Firewood’ scheme. In 2014 we are starting a scheme whereby in return for a minimum of 3-4 Work days you get some firewood 8-9 months later (when it has seasoned). Email us to find out more.
Courses, Nature Days, Forest Schools……
Getting more people into our woods to enjoy it, and learn about what the habitats offer, has always been an integral part of why we bought the woods. Essentially we know that a strong ‘Nature Connection’ with children will be a bond for life. We are proud to work with a growing range of organisations active in this area who use our woods. They include Circle of Life Rediscovery ( link http://www.circleofliferediscovery.com/ ), an award-winning social enterprise that runs courses, trains teachers and exposes hundreds of children and adults to life-changing experiences in nature. They also include Wild Nature ( link www.wildnature.org.uk ) run by Rob Fallon who originally trained in Vert Woods.
Biodiversity and our Management Plan
Though we have had a broad plan to maximise butterfly and dragonfly habitats, remove mature pine to allow native hardwoods to thrive, and thin dense areas of birch and goat willow, we are finally putting all that down on paper and maps. Christine Meadows, a volunteer undergoing a Forestry Management Course at Plumpton College is writing our plan.
We have a decent population of ‘small pearl-bordered fritillary’ butterflies, which are very rare. To help them we need to keep rides open, and gorse and bracken thinned to allow the violet plant to thrive. We are going to accelerate our removal of mature pine to open up areas of the wood and let the hardwoods blossom. That will require keeping on top of bracken, gorse and brambles to allow the wild flowers to come through.
There are small pockets of ‘overstood’ chestnut coppice throughout the woods and we are bringing these back into productive regeneration. We have to protect against deer which love nibbling the new shoots.
Sitting or walking in a woodland alone and allowing the sounds, sights and smells to enter your heart and soul is just about the best feeling in the world. Spending time with nature in an informal or more formal way is a growing part of our work. Vision Quests, Sweat Lodges (called ‘Inipi’ or ‘life within’ in the Lakota Sioux language), walking therapy and family-personal camps are welcomed. We ask for either donations, work in return for the space, or more formal agreements for regular use.
We recommend the following two magazines for regular, practical advice on managing and enjoying woodlands
– ‘Living Woods’ is a quarterly magazine full of great articles on everything from making chairs and spoons, to dealing with pesky rabbits who destroy fine trees. Subscribe via http://www.living-woods.com/
- The Small Woods Association does what is says on the can - ‘bringing small woods back to life’ – and is great for practical advice on buying and managing small woodlands. Join via http://smallwoods.org.uk/.
- Danny Harling is our neighbour and runs green woodworking courses – check these out on http://www.sussexgreenwoodworking.co.uk/testimonials/
- Carlos Gonzalez happens to share a home with us at present and is a true man of the woods. He makes a growing range of furniture for sale. Check out his web site to see some example… http://ofthewoods.co.uk
Email or Call us now on 07785 726 306