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Sunday, 4 September 2011

Wood Crafts - The National Forest Wood Fair

I have always had a real fascination with wood crafts; from a young age watching my father making me toys from pieces of wood and to the present day when I visit craft fairs and spending most of my time admiring wood turned objects of art. So last weekend I had a great day out at The National Forest Wood fair. Set in the Beacon Hill country park in Leicestershire, the wood fair provides an opportunity for woodland related businesses and craftspeople to demonstrate their skills and showcase their wares.

national Forest Wood Fair

This year’s wood fair included many woodland related crafts including furniture makers, wood turners, wood carvings and even longbows. There were also several demonstrations and displays during the day including woodland survival crafts, lumberjack shows and even clog dancing. There were also plenty of hands-on things to do as well from having a go at Pyrography to paddling coracles!

The first highlight of the wood fair for me was watching Dick Tilley – Spirits of Wood; a chainsaw artist who was turning a couple of tree trunks into works of art. I was amazed at the workmanship and how much detail and delicate touches that were being made with such heavy equipment. These people certainly know how to handle chainsaws and the sculptures they were making were incredible.

Spirits of Wood

The next highlight for me was watching the New Forest and South East Axemen put on their show. This small group of young (and some not so young) men put on a great display of axe and cross cutting and the crowd participation was great. They made the cutting down of a tree look so easy; the picture below shows one member of the group demonstrating the old style lumberjack techniques of cutting down a tree. He is actually standing on a plank that he has just wedged into the tree-trunk!

New Forest and South East Axemen

It was a great day out at the National Forest Wood Fair this year. The weather could have been better but it certainly didn’t spoil peoples’ enjoyment and fascination of this wonderful craft.



  1. Great to see Mick, there was a feature on the radio about the chainsaw competition, nice to be able to see it done. I admire these people too and also have a liking for wood, perhaps you could have a go at jewellery? Maybe not with a chainsaw though!!


  2. Thanks Lynda and wooden jewellery sounds like a great idea..I was recently asked by a local wood turning group to join them and would love to give it a go. Yes, I think I will give chainsaws a miss; I remember when I was living on a narrowboat, whilst all those around me used chainsaws to cut their firewood, there was me using hand-saws and axes. I am bad enough with a pair of scissors!