Woodland Festival is a great family day

Arabella Pearson + Marley Gammon

The annual Derbyshire Woodland Festival is set within the beautiful grounds of Elvaston Castle and Country Park and is a great day out for all the family, with lots of activities for children including the Vikings of Middle England camp, Arbor, the 18-ft tall puppet of a tree and the Green Man with his popular songs and stories.

Professional demonstrators and performers will share their amazing skills, from sawmills and carving to woodturning and weaving.

There will also be many opportunities for visitors to have a go at one of the traditional crafts.

New for 2019 is the chance to see a replica medieval boat and demonstrations of various boat building skills and maritime crafts such as planking, rope work and oar making thanks to the International Boatbuilding Training College.

Another first will be a demonstration of horse logging.

You will be able meet Breeze a gypsy cob horse and have a go a long-reining, snigging a log and grooming. You will also be able to learn about the benefits to woodland plants and animals from this traditional method of logging.

One of the expert crafters at the event will be Steve Tomlin, a spoon carver, ash basket maker and scything tutor who last year was the winner of the Heritage Crafts Association’s Marsh Endangered Crafts Award which enabled him to learn about making Devon stave baskets, a critically endangered UK craft. 

One of his most popular carvings is the fan bird. A traditional craft from Eastern Europe, fan birds are thought to protect the home and bring health and happiness to the family.

Each bird created by Steve is individually hand-carved and will soar and swoop in the slightest breeze.

Other crafters who are regulars at the event are besom maker Malcolm Ward; clog maker Jeremy Atkinson, Andrew Frost, the chainsaw carving wood sculptor; digeridoo maker Stuart Murdoch, Owen Jones, who makes oak swill baskets, barrel maker Wocko the Woodman, Windsor chair maker Peter Tree; Peter Wood demonstrating his pole lathe turning skills and Dave Watson the bushcraft and survival skills expert.

n The festival at Elvaston is on September 21 and 22. The event is free but there is a £10 car parking fee. For more details about the festival and to find a car parking money-off voucher go to http://www.erbyshire.gov.uk/woodlandfestival