Last Bank Holiday Monday, on 25th August at Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire, an event took place that ought to have
captured the attention and imagination of many a
enthusiast. That event was the National Forest Wood Fair 2014, which having first been held in 2005, marked its 10th anniversary this year. The National Forest Wood Fair is organised by Leicestershire County Council and the National Forest Company and is a celebration of all things trees, timber and woodland. However, it is in many ways also a celebration of The National Forest itself, which is one of the boldest environmental projects seen in Britain. That project saw some 200 square miles of new forest created across an area of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire that was once one of the least wooded in the United Kingdom.
The area covered by The National Forest is now a beautiful landscape and a habitat for wildlife, not to mention supporting a thriving woodland economy. The National Forest Wood Fair itself, meanwhile,
this year offered its visitors the chance to climb up into the canopy of one of Beacon Hill's great oak trees, absolutely free of charge - among a host of other events of interest to woodturning professionals, amateurs
and enthusiasts and their families.
One such event was the Wood Fair Auction, at which items donated by top craftspeople and timber suppliers were auctioned off for the benefit of the UK-based
development charity TREE AID, which helps to fight poverty and encourage self-reliance via the planting of trees in the rural communities of Africa's drylands. Donated items were displayed throughout the day ahead of
the auction and included furniture, woodcraft items, chainsaw carvings and a specimen tree for the garden.
Other events taking place at this year's National Forest Wood Fair that simply couldn't be
missed by those with or without an interest in woodturning ranged from chainsaw carving and a lumberjack show to the Forest Food Festival and the Horse Logging Corral. The latter was the perfect opportunity for visitors
to watch heavy horses haul timber and learn how this centuries-old working method retains its relevance today.
Certainly, our woodturning material and tools customers here at The ToolPost would have
taken a particular interest in the many woodlands crafts and forestry displays, to say nothing of the series of woodworking masterclasses in the stage tent, featuring three leading craftsmen. David Richardson is a
teacher of woodturning whose recent projects include the Mountsorrel Railway Project, the Great Central Railway and the National Trust at Stoneywell in Ulverscroft; Mike Painter is a woodcarver and advocate of Henry
Taylor woodcarving tools (available from The ToolPost); and Mike Abbott is an evangelist for all aspects of Green Woodworking who has done so much to bring these traditional skills to the attention of the public – and
indeed has educated a new generation of woodworkers in those skills.
It was certainly an event we thought offered plenty to savour for any lover of all things woodturning - and here at The ToolPost, we
can't wait to see it return for its 11th running next year.