Intro to Coppicing Course 27th Feb


Keith and Claire are leading an intro to coppicing course of Saturday 27th Feb in the woods near Hebden Bridge.

There are still some places left. If you would like more info and to book go to

or check out the facebook event here:

Hope to see some of you in the woods!


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Hywel goes back to school

There’s big news from my side of Blackbark: I’ve started on a PhD at Bradford Uni. Guess what? It’s about woodlands. More specifically it’s about the recent history of woodlands in the South Pennines. And when I say recent history, I mean the last 415 years, and how humans and woodlands have interacted. I want to find out more about how the characteristics of the woods of our region (e.g. how steep they are, which tree species thrive and how fast they grow) have influenced what we do with them and in them… and in turn how what humans have done has changed the woodlands.

So much has happened in the last 415 years! The South Pennines has been through unimaginable industrialisation, a population explosion, extremes of wealth and poverty, intense pollution, economic depression, a transport revolution and modern gentrification. Woodlands have gone from an essential part of the agricultural and early industrial economy to abandonment to a valued amenity. Unpicking these shifts and moves will be an absorbing and fascinating project. Can they be read in the woodlands themselves? What evidence have woodland workers of the past left behind?

If anybody would like to get in touch to chat about woodland history, feel free! I am, as always, at hywel<at> If you have interesting stories about your local wood or an old house deed that has cool maps on I would love to hear from you.

Massive thanks go out to Claire who has already started digging the big history hole, and to Robin at Pennine Prospects for putting me on to this. He’s hoping to get a whole bunch of money to run lots of exciting woodland heritage-related projects including community archaeology. Get in!

Brian and Jim do charcoal the old fashioned way. With gusto.

Brian and Jim do charcoal the old fashioned way. With gusto.

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Wildlings October Holiday Club


Blackbark has teamed up with LiveWild to run Forest School Holiday CLubs in Calderdale. We’re back again for October half term. Please help us spread the word to get local 5 to 12 year olds out into the woods!

Leonie and Claire fire

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Join the Firebox Scheme online!

You can now, finally, join the Firebox Scheme online – fill out a simple form and we will send you confirmation and payment details.

Let your logs support regenerative local woodland management!

Go the the form here or click on the big button at

firewood stacked long

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Go Wild this Summer!



Blackbark is delighted to be working with new Forest School Collective LiveWild.

We are running a Forest School style Playscheme over the first two weeks of the holidays for 5 to 11 year olds at Knottwood, near Hebden Bridge.

Places are £30 per day with discount for siblings, please enquire to or follow the link above to book online.



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Blackbark are currently out making and installing fascines – 6ft long bundles of brash which are staked along the contour of eroding hillsides to stabilise the soil and encourage revegetation.

Claire and Keith hard at work bundling birch brash

Claire and Keith hard at work bundling birch brash

Fascines are also often staked along riverbanks to prevent erosion. On hillsides the wood in the fascines (and natural jute twine) eventually rots down, but by that time many plants will have established in the stable soil. It is their root systems which reduce soil erosion in the long term. We are doing this work for The Source project, an excellent partnership striving to improve the resilience of the Calder watershed.

Trailer filling up with fascines

Trailer filling up with fascines

We only use material which comes from our felling and management operations. This winter birch were felled at North Dean in West Vale and at Hardcastle Crags to make way for the planting of many hazel saplings. These will grow on to become top quality hazel coppice. Having a reason to clear away all the birch brash makes it a lot easier to plant trees!

Planting hazel at North Dean. Keith loves hazel. As you can see.

Planting hazel at North Dean. Keith loves hazel. As you can see.

For more info about fascines contact Keith on 07733 784795 or

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Blackbark interviewed for Precarity Pilot

Hywel was interviewed about co-ops, ethics and seasonality for a really interesting project about finding your way in the world of work called Precarity Pilot. Read it here for an extra insight into the workings of Blackbark and how we plan to take over the world. Or something.

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Horse logging at Elland Park Wood

Peter and Nathan  shifting some sycamore

Peter and Nathan shifting some sycamore

This month we’re extracting material from our management work at Elland Park Wood – with a horse!

Peter and Carol work out of Bingley with their horse, Nathan (  It is the perfect way to move timber on this site: there is no good access for vehicles but the track isn’t too far away, there are lots of trees and obstacles to manoeuvre around, and we don’t want to damage the ground. There is a lovely rhythm to the work, you can hear the birds over the jangling of the harness, and it is a pleasure to watch an animal at work.

The wood coming off this site includes some lovely oak butts which will be planked up, a lot of top quality firewood, small wood which will be turned into charcoal and numerous twists and forks for the furniture makers.



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Beanpole Week fun!

bb sale 2

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Website re-jigging

Blackbark’s website is having a bit of a reshuffle at the moment, please bear with us, apologies if things are not very user friendly or hard to find!

Things will return to normal as soon as possible.


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