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If you go down to the woods today...

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 28.01.2015

Time: 16:45

You might just discover your new favourite hobby at the Forest for Peterborough Woodland Crafts sessions, explains Laura Fanthorpe.

I recently joined the regular Forest for Peterborough Woodland Heritage Conservation and Craft Days for a taster session. I came away, just as dusk was falling, wishing I could have stayed longer and feeling absurdly proud of the wooden spatula I’d crafted in the space of one afternoon!

The Woodland Craft days are held every Thursday and on the last Saturday of the month, and they offer a unique opportunity to learn traditional skills associated with our ancient woodlands. There’s the chance to take part in traditional crafts, discover coppicing and habitat management work, plus you can enjoy wonderfully warming food prepared in the woods and cooked on an open fire.

The first thing to mention is the setting. Woodlands are wonderfully therapeutic: they are beautiful, beautifully silent, and a fantastic place to observe the wildlife. Here you can enjoy the wonderful scents of woodland, newly-sawn timber and food being cooked on the campfire.

Managing woodland is all about ensuring the future health and wellbeing of the site, the wildflowers and the wildlife, but I also found it very complementary to my health and wellbeing! After meeting all the friendly and welcoming people who attend the sessions you can tell they feel just the same.

I discovered more about traditional woodland management, including cutting and shaping stakes for natural deer barriers to the coppiced areas. I also became well and truly immersed in whittling my own spatula, which became a real quest for perfection! It’s truly grounding to see a natural product created from something that was part of the woodland just an hour earlier.

Every Thursday the group meets on Essendyke Road, Bretton, Peterborough PE3 8JD from 10am-10.15am, when they then travel to the woodland location. On the last Saturday of the month they work in Grimeshaw Wood on Essendyke Road, Bretton, Peterborough PE3 8JD from 10am-4pm. Just remember to wear suitable clothing and footwear for all weather conditions!

If you would like further details about joining the group, please contact Matthew Robinson, Forest for Peterborough Woodland Heritage Project Officer. Call 01733 568408 or email matthew.robinson@pect.org.uk. My advice is you won’t regret it!



2015: The year in which to build strong, sustainable communities

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 12.01.2015

Time: 15:40

The start of a new year provides a fantastic opportunity to look back at the previous 365 days and the achievements that have been made. One of the accomplishments Peterborough should be most proud of is how its various community groups have gone from strength to strength.

The formation of a happy, healthy city can be aided by connecting communities up and ensuring people are not isolated or without support. Community groups afford numerous opportunities for participants to gain new skills, build upon a network of friends, and make a difference to their surroundings and the lives of those around them.  

Whether it’s larger organisations leading the way, local charities or groups of volunteers getting together, there have been some fantastic projects running in 2014 that have helped the city become stronger and more sustainable every day.

PECT’s community projects include Greeniversity, a green skill share initiative that gives local people the opportunity to teach and learn everything from bee keeping to bike maintenance, creating sustainable communities for the future.

We are also connecting communities to their environment through the Forest for Peterborough Project, which seeks to plant one tree for every person in Peterborough by 2030, and Woodland Heritage in Action, which aims to protect the natural and cultural heritage of Bretton’s ancient woods by widening public participation. 

Love Local is a community engagement project that aims to tackle health inequalities in Peterborough by addressing barriers to healthy eating through a linked programme of cooking skills, nutrition knowledge and food growing skills. The Love Local project team are currently working across five inner-city hostels.

The Green Backyard has hit the headlines recently in its bid to raise funds to buy the land it’s on and save it from destruction from developers. This community growing project, in the heart of Peterborough, has grown and grown due to the passion and dedication of its volunteers.  The Green Backyard could not exist without the people of Peterborough working together, and it is a fantastic example of what can be achieved through community spirit and enthusiasm.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can see a list of further community groups in Peterborough and its surrounding areas here. Whether it’s joining a group, volunteering, donating or simply spreading the word, remember to make 2015 the year you get involved.