Woodland Courses

Craft Courses - Woodland Courses (6 items)
Our courses take place on the secluded land of Lower Upcott Farm, which is located in 43 acres of some of Devon’s most beautiful unspoilt countryside. The farm is run on a sustainable basis, with both the woodland and pasture land worked by shire horses. We are a proper working enterprise and make a full time living from south west woodlands. We are therefore at the cutting edge of the timber industry and able to offer you up to date knowledge and advice. Our range of courses are designed to cater for the needs of the complete novice through to those with some experience, the emphasis being very much on having a go and enjoying yourself with like-minded people. Practical skills courses are restricted to six people so that everyone gets plenty of individual help.
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CHARCOAL BURNING COURSE
CHARCOAL BURNING COURSE

CHARCOAL BURNING

Charcoal burning is an ancient craft where a high quality and high value product is made from a low value and low quality timber.

This course takes you through the whole charcoal burning process. You will be taught about sourcing the raw material, siting of the kiln, laying the base and filling the kiln, lighting the kiln, controlling the burn, grading, bagging and marketing of the end product.

Your tutor, Ben May has 17 years experience in making charcoal, at one time making his main living just from charcoal production. This is a no nonsense, no holds barred course which goes into great detail on all aspects of charcoal burning.

This course is particularly well suited to those who are seriously looking into going into charcoal production as a living or as a sideline.

No dogs please.

Charcoal making course in Devon Charcoal course Charcoal makingcharcoal

Cost £160 including scrumptious lunches, tea, coffee and cakes!

Personalised Gift Vouchers can be included for the Charcoal Making Course; an original and memorable present.

COURSE DATES:

APRIL 1st  _ 2nd 2017 SAT & SUN

SEPTEMBER 16th - 17th 2017 SAT  & SUN

PAYMENT DETAILS:

To book this course, please email ben@forestcrafts.co.uk or ring Ben on 01837 811123 to check for availability. Payment can be made by credit card (3% surcharge to cover cost of transaction), cheque (made out to Forest Crafts and sent to Ben May, Lower Upcott Farm, Hatherleigh, Okehampton, Devon EX20 3LN), or BACS (our BACS details are Bank:  NatWest, Account Name: Forest Crafts, Account No: 12629545, Sort Code: 51-70-16. Please use your name as reference).

We are able to offer Bed and Breakfast accommodation here at the farm;  reasonably priced for our course participants.

See our Accomodation listing under the Craft Course Icon.

There is limited availability so please book early.

 

RUSTIC FURNITURE MAKING WORKSHOP COURSE
RUSTIC FURNITURE MAKING WORKSHOP COURSE
Rustic Furniture Making Course in DevonRustic Furniture Furniture course

RUSTIC FURNITURE MAKING WORKSHOP 

Making rustic furniture is really enjoyable and allows you to bring out your creative side. We shall explore the main construction methods and styles of rustic furniture making, using a range of traditional hand tools and devices, and you will construct your own chair to your own unique design. 

We very often find that your character comes out in the design of the chair you make so we begin by discussing or drawing your ideas before getting hands-on with the timber and tools. 

We shall also take a trip to our woods so that you know how to source the best material. No previous experience necessary, just enthusiasm!

This is a particularly good course to do with a group of friends and so a special course can be organised for you at any time to suit you. Just email or give me a ring on 01837 811123 to discuss. 

No dogs please.

Cost £180 including materials, scrumptious lunches, tea, coffee and cakes!

Personalised Gift Vouchers can be included for the Rustic Furniture Making Workshop; an original and memorable present.

COURSE DATES:

APRIL 22nd - 23rd  2017 SAT & SUN

0CTOBER 7th - 8th  2017 SAT & SUN

PAYMENT DETAILS:

To book this course, please email ben@forestcrafts.co.uk or ring Ben on 01837 811123 to check for availability. Payment can be made by credit card (3% surcharge to cover cost of transaction), cheque (made out to Forest Crafts and sent to Ben May, Lower Upcott Farm, Hatherleigh, Okehampton, Devon EX20 3LN), or BACS (our BACS details are Bank:  NatWest, Account Name: Forest Crafts, Account No: 12629545, Sort Code: 51-70-16. Please use your name as reference).

We are able to offer Bed and Breakfast accommodation here at the farm;  reasonably priced for our course participants.

See our Accomodation listing under the Craft Course Icon.

There is limited availability so please book early.

HURDLE MAKING AND COPPICE MANAGEMENT  COURSE
HURDLE MAKING AND COPPICE MANAGEMENT COURSE

HURDLE MAKING AND COPPICE MANAGEMENT COURSE

We will take you through every stage of making a traditional hazel hurdle. Not only does this include a relatively complex weave, but requires you to learn how to split individual rods in two with a billhook. You will also learn how to work the rods in such a way as to be able to build up a 3 ft hurdle to take home with you.

This course includes a trip to the woods to explain and demonstrate the sourcing of hazel material and how to manage coppiced woods. You will then go through the whole process of making your own hurdle – This is an intensive course, not for the faint hearted!

No dogs please.

hurdle making course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost £180 including materials, scrumptious lunches, tea coffee, and cakes!

Personalised Gift Vouchers can be included for the Hurdle Making and Coppice Management Course; an original and memorable present.

NOVEMBER 5th -6th 2016 SAT & SUN

NOVEMBER 11th -12th 2017 SAT & SUN

PAYMENT DETAILS:

To book this course, please email ben@forestcrafts.co.uk or ring Ben on 01837 811123 to check for availability. Payment can be made by credit card (3% surcharge to cover cost of transaction), cheque (made out to Forest Crafts and sent to Ben May, Lower Upcott Farm, Hatherleigh, Okehampton, Devon EX20 3LN), or BACS (our BACS details are Bank:  NatWest, Account Name: Forest Crafts, Account No: 12629545, Sort Code: 51-70-16. Please use your name as reference).

We are able to offer Bed and Breakfast accommodation here at the farm;  reasonably priced for our course participants.

See our Accomodation listing under the Craft Course Icon.

There is limited availability so please book early.

 

HEDGEROW WINE MAKING WORKSHOP
HEDGEROW WINE MAKING WORKSHOP

wine making workshop

HEDGEROW WINE MAKING WORKSHOP  

Come and spend a fabulous couple of days on our lovely Devon Farm and take away with you the skills to produce your own home made wine – delicious. 

As well as your new found hobby you will take home a Demijohn of bubbling, fermenting ingredients that may be ready for you to enjoy a toast with by Christmas. 

Wine making is an absorbing and addictive pastime, a combination of alchemy, flair and method. This workshop should be the start of a lifelong passion; a few simple ingredients and some knowledgeable tuition will start you on the path to producing your own wine. 

Gathering, foraging, trading or possibly even growing your own produce will evolve into an activity that is only outshined by its consumption – Drink and Enjoy! 

A two day course demonstrating the techniques for producing homemade wine and other drinks such as Elderflower Champagne and Hedgerow Vodka. Your Tutor Lorraine Smith (Larry) is a second generation country wine producer with many years of experience herself.  You will finish the course having been shown the basics for getting started with your own home brewing and take home a demijohn of newly fermenting wine. 

wine making workshop

Day One 

Introduction. Learn how to harvest from the Hedgerow; foraging for ingredients to ferment into wine. All methods and techniques are demonstrated and explained; including equipment needed, selecting and obtaining ingredients, getting started with the preparation of ingredients. 

Day Two 

Beginning the fermentation process, maturation and racking  and finally bottling, labelling and presentation. 

We explore the further possibilities for producing homemade drinks from foraging the hedgerow or your garden. You will see how to make hedgerow spirits of all sorts as well as learning how to produce superb elderflower Champagne all year round. 

wine making workshop

The days will include refreshments on arrival, homemade lunch and afternoon tea. There will be an opportunity to purchase some basic equipment and of course sample some homemade drinks. 

Included to take home; Demijohn and labels, airlock, a gallon of fermenting (potential) wine. Notebook and pencil.

Refundable up to two weeks prior to course (minus £30 admin fee)
No refunds for cancellations within two weeks of course.
 

Cost  £180 including a scrumptious lunch, tea, coffee and cakes! And equipment detailed as above. 

wine making workshop

Personalised Gift Vouchers can be included for the Wine Making Workshop; an original and memorable present

TO BE ARRANGED

 

We are able to offer Bed and Breakfast accommodation here at the farm;  reasonably priced for our course participants.

 

See our Accomodation listing under the Craft Course Icon.

There is limited availability so please book early.

HORSE LOGGING COURSE
HORSE LOGGING COURSE

HORSE LOGGING / WORKING HORSE COURSE  

Organised by arrangement with you at a time convenient to us both, this course transports you back into a different era and gives you the opportunity to gain as much “hands on experience” of working a heavy horse as possible and is tailor made to your needs. Depending on your requirements and level of experience we can start with the very basics and gradually give you more challenging horse logging work to do as your confidence increases. It is not a requirement for you to have worked with horses before as we will adapt the course to your needs and abilities. We can also teach you how to drive horses and embark upon field work should you require. 

This course is not just suitable for people who wish to pursue the practicalities of heavy horse husbandry or for those wishing to start working their own horses. We have also shared many wonderful course days with people who just wish to take a trip down memory lane. This often makes a wonderful Birthday or Christmas gift. 

Your tutor Ben May has been working in the woods with his horses for 19 years now and undertakes commercial horse logging jobs. He also has a farm upon which he does most of his agricultural work with his Shire horses. He is passionate about doing real work with his horses. This is a chance to come and experience one of the very few real working horse farms left in the UK. 

All our horses are trained by us and we are a registered Shire Horse Stud. We usually have a foal and a youngster or two we are bringing on.

No dogs please.

Cost £150 per day including a scrumptious lunch, tea, coffee and cakes! 

plus £40 per additional person including food.

Personalised Gift Vouchers can be included for the Horse Logging/Working Horse Courses; an original and memorable present. 

Dates available by arrangement

PAYMENT DETAILS:

To book this course, please email ben@forestcrafts.co.uk or ring Ben on 01837 811123 to check for availability. Payment can be made by credit card (3% surcharge to cover cost of transaction), cheque (made out to Forest Crafts and sent to Ben May, Lower Upcott Farm, Hatherleigh, Okehampton, Devon EX20 3LN), or BACS (our BACS details are Bank:  NatWest, Account Name: Forest Crafts, Account No: 12629545, Sort Code: 51-70-16. Please use your name as reference).

We are able to offer Bed and Breakfast accommodation here at the farm;  reasonably priced for our course participants.

See our Accomodation listing under the Craft Course Icon.

There is limited availability so please book early.

 TESTIMONIALS


 Good morning Ben,

 Just a quick mail to thank you ever so much for a terrific day yesterday!  Robyn and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect and really appreciate that you took the time to incorporate our needs (whether we knew them or not) into the instruction.  We had a ball and learned so much.

 Many thanks again, David & Robyn.


 Dear Ben and Tessa

 It was a great pleasure to meet you both yesterday.  Thank you for an enjoyable and memorable time - I found the experience very absorbing and left feeling as though I achieved a lifelong ambition - and I really appreciated the opportunity to learn from such a patient instructor...  I shall give a great deal of thought to how we could use horses at Coombe Farm and will investigate the French lead with machinery etc to try to decide whether the idea of horses and vineyards makes sense for us.

 Tessa - Coffee, Lunch and Tea were very welcome and I hope that I managed to walk-off at least some of the calories....!  I had no idea I was going to be so well fed and appreciated your kind hospitality.

 With my best wishes

  Yours,

  Lance Whitehead


 Hi Ben
 
Please find below something I have written which you can put on your website or wherever. Thank you for a perfect day for dad and I.
 
Best wishes
Emma
 
When I hesitantly booked a birthday surprise for my Dad 'Heavy Horse Logging' with Ben May on his farm in Devon I couldn't have chosen a more perfect treat. A totally unique experience were his words. 
 
Being of farming stock ourselves I was pleased to arrive at a humble, down to earth, 'proper' working Devon small holding. In addition just about everthing was rustic and hand crafted by Ben and his wife Larry.  A real genuine feel as opposed to window dressing for the tourist. 

Ben and his wife Larry welcomed us into their home  (no  customary 'course' portacabins  here).  We were thoroughly well fed and watered with Larry's homemade and nutritious cooking;most of which was home grown.
 
The horses I am pleased to say were equally well cared for, treated as individuals and clearly well loved. This seemed to be rewarded in their equal respect and confidence in Ben who had trained most of them from youngsters.
 
 The structure of the day was ideal and well planed so as to build confidence. I don't find learning new practical skills easy at all and Ben was able to teach me and I didn't even have a tantrum in the process!  It was even more of a joy to watch my dad chain harrowing with a team of three Shires. Even the weather was perfect for us as we all peeled off yet another Winter layer. The sun was so bright that as the grass shone we could barely see the lines where we had harrowed!
 
I would well recommend anyone to take this unique opportunity to step back in time for a day, meet some lovely people and work with some fine horses. Worth every penny.

Emma Hurford
Home, Garden & Equestrian Services

 


 

Dear Ben and Larry,

 We just wanted to say thank you for the working day yesterday - everyone is talking about it and we all learnt loads.

 Nat and I did some logging with Trelawny this morning and after his initial protests of "I dont like the mud" he worked really well and was starting to get the idea of lining up for a log... he was a very good boy!

 Best Wishes

 Jo


  Hi Ben, thank you very much for a lovely week with you and your horses and for your patience sharing your knowledge which is very much appreciated. All the best Sean 

 Please click a thumbnail below for bigger picture:

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Woodland Craft Courses
Woodland Craft Courses


TAILOR MADE CRAFT COURSES FOR GROUPS 

Here at Lower Upcott Farm, we pride ourselves in being intensely practical. This is borne mainly from having to make a full time living from wood over the last 17 years – It is our livelihood but it is also our passion. 

This passion has developed into all aspects of our life so that we get great satisfaction not only from making things, but also from growing our own vegetables, eating our own meat and making our own delicious hedgerow wines. Come and experience and enjoy what we have to offer. 

Gift Vouchers are available for all our courses; an original and memorable present.

Should any clubs or groups wish to do courses, then any combination of the advertised courses can be arranged for a daily fee. Other courses which we have done in the past and which we can arrange for groups include:  

  • Hedgerow winemaking
  • Working woods the medieval way
  • Hedgelaying
  • Unlock the secrets to identifying timber
  • Woodland walk and tree identification
  • Tree folklore
  • Making your own plant supports / trellis, etc.
  • Bentwood chair making course
  • Identification of woodland flora
  • From Felling to Selling (making the most out of your woodlands)
  • Survival courses
     

Groups wishing to come for a weekend or longer will be able to choose a number of courses to suit their interests. For large groups, we shall be able to give a choice of courses for each day to suit different interests.Just ring us to discuss your needs. - We will do our very best to make your time here a great learning experience as well as great fun.

 

TAILOR MADE EDUCATIONAL COURSES FOR GROUPS
School or college groups are always welcome and we are able to tailor the day’s activities to suit your needs. 

 


YOUR TUTORS:

 

Ben May makes a full time living out of using traditional woodland skills and adopting environmentally sound principles and practices in order to make a range of innovative high quality products.

Mark Snellgrove is a member of the Charter Institute of Forestry and is a very experienced forester and sawmiller. He has a wealth of practical ability and forestry knowledge and a keen interest in woodland crafts.

Lorraine Smith (Larry) has a fine art background and as well as working alongside Ben, enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge of hedgerow wine making and brewing (hic!)

Ben’s mother Tessa is an experienced basket-maker and teaches the basket-making course.

 

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