Saturday, 29 January 2011

Welcome to Flintbatch Working Wood, Far West Dorset

Flintbatch Working Wood is an agro-forestry project in West Dorset, five miles north of Lyme Regis. It is run by Guy Furner. Guy has spent the last 20 years working woods all over the South of England, from Suffolk to the Somerset Levels.

Flintbatch Working Wood covers 16 acres of mixed broadleaf and conifer woodland. Planted mainly with even-aged Beech, Alder, Scots and Douglas Fir, Guy has spent the last couple of years thinning and replanting with Sweet Chestnut and Hazel coppice, as well as introducing woodland rides and a mosaic of ponds in the valley bottom.

On these ponds several species of duck are bred. Within the wood, we also farm pigs, guinea fowl, turkeys and poultry. Other aspects of the project include charcoal burning, green woodworking (we make gates and cleft post and rail fencing), greenwood courses, woodland management for other small woods in the area, firewood production and hedge-laying.

We are also in the process of renovating a 1934 roadman's living van, which will be parked in our yard, above the woods. We envisage this to be a multi-functional space, part office, part woodland shop, but also an art gallery and, occasionally, a mobile pub.

To this end, Flintbatch have recently acquired a vintage double screw cider press and have pressed their first barrel which will be ready in the spring. Come the autumn, this will be available for pressings in the woods. We will also be available for hire with our travelling cider hut and woodland hog-roast this summer.

Helping Guy Furner in the day-to-day running of Flintbatch is Ben Short. Ben was formerly a full-time volunteer forester with the National Trust. He also contributes a monthly online column called 'The Charcoal Burner's Chair' for Guy Mallinson's Woodland Workshop.

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