When I came to green woodworking I got a head start from a BTCV fund and bought some specialist tools. Not least a draw knife, a side axe, a few augurs, and a spoon-making kit. You won't get any better until you just give it a go. On the allotment project we erected an eco-shelter and managed to get a crew of about 10 people to join in. Master craftsman Adrian Leaman ran the course with me looking over the foundations. He busily got us making oak pegs and brought his array of diverse tools for the weekend. After that I was hooked, but it was just finding the time to do stuff. Later a volunteer and I used some of the BTCV funding to take up a course with Mike Abbott. We caught him a little early in the season but managed to combine two courses in one; making a shave horse and also a pole lathe. We loved it.

My first real project in which I would design a structure was with the allotments who commissioned me to build an eco-shelter. Unfortunately the matter went to court, first for unpaid monies, second for victimisation I accrued during my period at Honor Oak Park. Sadly the structure was torn down just as we were putting up the cob walls; it had a lovely green roof and sweet chestnut frame holding it up. I soon got booted off the allotments so I took all my kit to Spain. I have yet to commence anything there.

The first row shows the ecoshelter still standing at the community project. What it doesn't show is the native hedging we planted up around two sides for weaving. As well as that, we piled loads of woodland debris on the roof and it probably has a number of birds' nests in it by now. Following this are three photos of the yurt I bought from the Greenwood Centre where I had helped organise a permaculture convergence. This centre was a converted railway station from the days of the Industrial Revolution and has some of the first use of iron, hence Ironbridge, Telford on the Severn. I discovered this place after doing a yurt building course there, and as you can see, it is fully equipped. After this the fabulous Hill Holt Woods where we had another permaculture gathering. Some of these pics give a good close-up of the equipment similar to what we made at Mike Abbott's wood (last images). Then, in between there is the foreboded ecosheter I built for the allotment committee which stood for about 6 months. A full report is available from the editor.It seems unimaginable how anyone could have torn the structure down other than out of delusion and spite. Anyhow, towards the end are a cluster of timber-frame structures I found on my travels especially at the Centre for Alternative Technology where we learnt to self-build a stage area which ultimately required taking apart again. Go back a few pictures though and check out the reciprocal roof in which the rafters all lay upon each other and naturally sit in that shape. There are many examples of this very strong method.


Guerilla gardening
Backgarden permaculture
Spanish permaculture
Cob building
Green wood
Gathering centres
Habitat surveying