Washington was created as a 'new town' almost 50 years ago and much of the spaces between villages (or districts) was newly planted with mainly native woodland species and incorporated existing woodlands. 50 years is a reasonable period of time for woodland to become established and mature, and now Washington's woodlands boast some good sized trees with good wildlife and amenity value.
Being close to densly populated areas, these woodlands are not without their pressures, heavily used by dog walkers and suffering from vandalism and fly tipping.
Adjacent home owners seem to have a love/hate relationship with the woodlands, troubled by overhanging trees, blocking the light and interfering with television signals. Still, it is very rewarding to work these woods, meeting local people and putting the woods into a better state of health utillising the timber as best we can.
Some of the timber will be used for our traditional woodcraft courses to make cleft gates, wood turning, charcoal burning and has supplied many natural forks for treadle operated pole lathes.
Our 2014 woodcraft course programme at Flint Mill, Beamish Museum, Co. Durham will be published soon.