The Wind of Change

Winds of Change

The Wind of Change (we’ve since renamed it Winds of Change) is a group formed in July 2017 to advocate that woodland crafts and their related woodland activities provide one of the most immediate ways in which people can relate to trees and woodlands.

Out of Nature – Winds of Change, October 14th and 15th, 2017

a weekend celebrating the 30th anniversary of the ‘Great Storm’ of October 1987

Although greatly unwelcome at the time, ‘The Great Storm’ has proved with hindsight, to be the midwife that helped the rebirth of all things woody in the British culture.

The lifetime of a tree is generally longer than that of the average human, so we all grow up with the feeling that trees just happen to be there. Woodlands enhance the landscape, they provide a wildlife habitat, and they help purify the air but trees are also the source of a truly remarkable raw material – wood. We all know this fact in our heads but the Storm brought the fact crashing into our consciousness overnight.

We are organising a weekend of activities related to both the The Great Storm and The Charter for Trees, Woods and People, to coincide with Out of Nature, a major exhibition of outdoor sculpture held in the grounds of Newport House in Herefordshire.

The programme includes the following:

1- Ongoing demonstrations of green wood crafts by:

  • Gudrun Leitz – have-a-go pole lathe turning
  • Mike Abbott – chair-making
  • Owen Thomas – turning bowls on a pole-lathe
  • Lewis Goldwater – carving spoons
  • Jeremy Atkinson – making clogs
  • Morgan brothers – tent peg makers
  • Say it with Wood – cleaving chestnut

2- A series of presentations by leading exponents of the benefits of woodland for people:

  • Saturday,

  • 10.30 – 11.30am – £5 for both morning sessions together
    • Mike Abbott- introduction to the weekend – anniversaries of Great Storm & Woodland Charter
    • Glenn Morris (tree surgeon/sculptor) ‘Six Months at 100 feet’ A tree surgeon’s view of the Great Storm
    • Matt Larsen-Daw (Woodland Trust, lead for Woodland Charter) – The Woodland Charter
  • 11.45am – 1.15pm
    • Transforming trees, transforming people – a panel discussion with:
    • Matt Larsen-Daw, (Woodland Trust)
    • Rob Penn, (author and TV presenter)
    • Katie Eastaugh, (The Cartshed)
    • Toby Allen, (Say it with Wood & Nat Coppice Fed)
    • Mike Abbott, (Green woodworker and author)

(for details of the discussion, see below)

  • Saturday afternoon

    • Book signing with Rob Penn and Mike Abbott.
    • Auction of Glenn Morris sculpture
  • Sunday

  • 12 – 1pm, Jackie Morris, with Tamsin Abbott  – Finding The Lost Words, rewilding language. – £5
  • Book signing with Jackie Morris & Archie Miles
  • 2.30 – 4pm, Archie Miles – “New Perspectives of Ancient Trees” – £5


 Details of the panel discussion, Transforming trees, transforming people

One of the many positive outcomes of the Storm has been a resurgence of green wood crafts. Conventional forestry uses powerful machinery to convert trees into planks, which are then seasoned before being processed by yet more machinery into a range of products from matches to furniture to houses and so much more. By contrast, green wood crafts aim to transform felled trees, anything from a mature oak to a collection of willow wands, directly into the finished product using a range of person-powered techniques, often but not always, handed down over many generations.

Because of the human scale of these crafts, they are well suited to being taught to complete novices and courses for the public are now widespread across Britain. However, maybe even more significant has been the utilisation of green wood crafts in a wide range of therapeutic establishments such as mental health, drug and criminal rehabilitation and much more.

The aim of this discussion will be to describe the manifold benefits of practicing green wood crafts, especially in a woodland environment, not only for those in need of healing but for everybody. How then can this be harnessed, spread wider and funded?


Further details will be posted over the coming weeks.



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