Dozens of Beavers and Scouts are learning about the woodland management cycle as part of a creative initiative taking place on the Englefield Estate.
A collaborative project between the Beaver and Cub Scouts, the Estate and chainsaw carver and carpenter Nick Speakman is under way and will see the creation of a sculpted wooden bench from a tree growing in the Benyon’s Inclosure woodland.
Around 80 Beavers, Cubs and their families, including Burghfield’s Voyager Beavers working towards their Community Impact badges, visited the woodland to learn from Forestry Manager Richard Edwards and experience a timber harvester in action.
Later this summer, 3D Wood sculptor Nick Speakman will carve a bench with a Scouting theme which will be installed near to where the Scouts saw the trees being felled. During the Big Beaver Hike taking place on the Estate in September, a group of 75 Beavers and Cubs see the finished bench for themselves.
A group will then return to the woodland in the autumn to plant saplings, replacing those felled and continuing the woodland management cycle.
Richard Edwards explained: “The first stage of the project involved Nick talking to the group about product design and the variety of approaches that can be taken when making a wooden bench. They then went away and created a number of different designs using modelling clay, which will give Nick inspiration for the final sculpture.
“The second session involved the group visiting the forest and learning about woodland management including why we cut down trees, what we can make out of timber and how wood is a sustainable resource. They also got to see a timber harvester working and had the chance to sit in the cab, which they very much enjoyed! They were asking lots of questions and showing a real interest in what we do here.”
So impressed were the Berkshire Scouts with the initiative, that they pledged a grant of £200 for the project.
Beaver Scout leader Helen Townsend said: “The Beavers, Cubs and their families were blown away with the harvester. None of them had seen one before so they were really impressed. We are very grateful to have had the chance to see such a machine in action.
“The children were fascinated and even on an extremely hot evening; Rich was great at holding their attention and making the forestry cycle interesting for them. His jokes went down well too!”