The BHMAT Apprentices


Tim Davis

Tim Davis began his apprenticeship in 2015. He is based in the North East with Bill Oakes as his main sponsor and Maurice Pyle as mentor.

"I have been involved in Green Woodworking and working with wood 'in the round' for a number of years. I was aware of BHMAT and the work they did and often dreamed that one day I could forge a lifestyle for my family and I that encompassed our love of woodland and nature with the values of sustainability, tradition and honesty that was lacking in my life at the time.

When my circumstances changed I saw an opportunity to pursue the dream and attending Weekend in the Woods and Woodland Pioneers in 2014 nailed it for me (or should I say "Dowelled it").

The people I met shared my dream and actually live it! Sponsors and Graduates from the apprenticeship shared stories of what it is like to be a coppice worker in the modern day and to me it made sense of my own thoughts and ideas.

As I am sure you are aware, Santa Clause and Cinderella are real and by the same bizarre and incomprehensible logic I started my apprenticeship in March 2015.

Since then I have been introduced to and worked with so many people that share that dream. My dream?

Now, on a daily basis I help manage woodlands to make them better for wildlife and better for the environment. In return I get the opportunity to make products that are better for the consumer and better for the environment...

And my journey has only just begun!!!"

Jason Smith

Jason Smith began his apprenticeship in November 2014 with Mike Carswell and is now working with Twiggy.

"The first three months of my BHMAT apprenticeship have been eventful, exciting, educational, and sometimes exhausting! With last September's Week in the Woods, my chainsaw qualification, and my recent time spent with Michael, I am set up for the months, and years, of my apprenticeship, and my working life beyond. Work with Michael at the yard has included the building of two double waney edge gates; cleaving of ash for palings; firewood crosscutting, splitting and delivery; learning some basic green woodworking techniques for the creation of a mallet, tool handle, and spoon lanks. Also helping out with a shelving system: not green woodworking but interesting all the same. Away from the yard we have been felling and dressing out at Mt Sion in Radcliffe, and felling at Clayton Vale. We met members of Chorlton Ees friends-of group along with a council representative to discuss the coppicing of woodland in the area. Another meeting farther north at Mt Sion in Radcliffe resulted in coppicing being started soon after. A meeting with Forestry Commission representatives at the existing Philips Park coppice site was also very interesting. At home I began making and adorning plant labels for sale at a local garden centre - after a stint re-grinding a newly acquired drawknife."

Rachael Jepson

Rachael Jepson began her apprenticeship in November 2014 - her sponsor is Twiggy of Greenwood Twigs (and BHMAT Graduate and Trustee)

"Whilst undertaking my Forest School qualification, I became interested in the history of British Woodlands. I soon decided to try my hand at simple wood crafting. Catching the bug for all things woody, I did some research and came across CANW and BHMAT. Booking onto the Weekend In The Woods and Woodland Pioneers courses, I discovered the coppicing work of Bill Hogarth and the importance of managing woodlands, as well as learning some new wood crafting techniques. Both the courses and the wonderful people involved were hugely inspiring and I have been passionate about coppicing ever since. I feel privileged to be a part of the BHMAT Apprenticeship which started in November 2014 with Twiggy as my sponsor. My objective is to find and develop more coppiced woodland in my local area, and establish my business to include Forest School, educational work, coppicing, charcoal and provide opportunities for people to understand, engage with and explore their local woodlands. I endeavour to support the coppice industry and look forward to developing my skills further."

Jack Holden

Jack Holden started his apprenticeship in September 2014. He's sponsored by Ian Taylor at Lakeland Coppice Products

"When I first went to woodland pioneers in September 2013, I felt like there was something special going on there, a collection of people who wanted to work with their hands, not just for the money, but for the love of creation, the satisfaction of working with wood and perhaps most importantly, as part of a re-connection with the natural world. In Britain we have a great tradition of all kinds of people drawing happiness, both spiritually and physically, from its landscape. Our alienation from the natural world seems to stem from the loss of traditional rural connections due to nineteenth and twentieth century urbanisation, and the gradual loss and devaluation of environmental consciousness. What I seek to do through this portfolio and more generally through this apprenticeship, is to be a part of the reconnection between people and place, between work and woods."

Dave Noblett

Dave Noblett began his apprenticeship in July 2011 and graduated in June 2014. His sponsor was Twiggy based in Bolton, Lancashire.

Dave's business is based in Morecambe, Lancashire and he coppices in the South Cumbria/North Lancashire area. As well as producing garden products (e.g. peasticks, bean poles, stakes) from coppiced wood, he specialises in producing products that are used in historical re-enactments such as Viking sea chests, Saxon folding chairs and bowls, spoons and cups.

At the moment (and for the next year) he is unable to coppice due to a knee injury - but while healing, he's concentrating on crafts and producing products to sell on local market stalls.

Dave also demonstrates and teaches at various shows/events throughout the year.

See some of his work on: https://www.facebook.com/OsricCoppiceCrafts

The BHMAT Graduates
Lorna Singleton

Lorna Singleton began her apprenticeship in August 2010 and graduated in July 2013. Her sponsors were Rebecca Oaks and, for her third year, Sam Ansell both in Silverdale, Lancashire.

Lorna now coppices in the South Lakes/North Lancashire area. As well as producing garden products, she specialises in woven oak products and makes items including handbags, baskets, furniture and lampshades. Lorna also teaches and demonstrates at various locations throughout the year.

See the websites below for examples of her work:
http://lornasingleton.co.uk/
http://www.thenewcraftsmen.com/handmade-craft-makers/lorna-singleton/

Sam Robinson

Sam Robinson began his apprenticeship in July 2010 and graduated in June 2013. He was sponsored by Ian Taylor in Windermere, Cumbria.

Sam now coppices in the South Lakes area and specialises in axe felling, beam hewing and green oak beam structures.

He is also a member of the Coppice Co-op who coppice, make and sell coppice products (garden products, firewood, charcoal, hurdles) and run courses in the Arnside/Silverdale area. Sam also demonstrates and teaches at various shows and events throughout the year.

Read more about Sam and his work:
traditionalwoodlandworker.wordpress.com
http://www.coppicecoop.co.uk/

Sam Ansell
Sam graduated from his apprenticeship in 2012
Peter Wood
Peter grsaduated from his apprenticeship in 2011
Mike Carswell
Since graduating from my apprenticeship in 2011 I have been running my own coppicing business in Manchester: urbancoppice.co.uk
My three years BHMAT training with Rebecca Oaks in the Silverdale/Arnside AONB gave me the skills to tackle the urban woods that now supply me with all my materials.
I am now running a growing business in an unusual setting producing contemporary and traditional products with wood from sustainably managed coppiced woodlands.
Mike graduated from his apprenticeship in 2011
Helen Elvin
I did my apprenticeship with Martin Clark of Grampus Heritage and Training at Ashgill near Aspatria in the north of Cumbria. Hannah Elhert (BHMAT graduate) and I did hazel and birch coppicing over the winters. I delivered training sessions for students from different European countries using traditional skills for contemporary ideas i.e. a number of fashion shows making costumes from willow and other weavable materials. I was involved at Dubwath nature reserve building bird hides from living willow, a celtic style round house with wattle and daub walls and turf roof with a door frame and interpretation boards which I carved for the site. I was able to develop my carving skills and my willow weaving.

Hannah and I have run some family Playdays in the Woods events to promote enjoyment and understanding of woods as places to spend leisure time with out damage to the environment.

I am now setting up my own business coppicing in West Cumbria, especially regenerating neglected coppice and also planting up new sites. I deliver training days for young adults doing coppice and greenwood crafts. I do workshops in willow work for Weekend in the Woods and Rebecca's and hope to do more in West Cumbria when my toolstore / workspace is completed. I do school projects making sculptures from coppiced wood and living willow. I have done some large sculptures including log benches for Solfest. I sell my baskets at local galleries and farmers markets and do demonstrations when asked; I am happy to do commissions!
Helen graduated from her apprenticeship in 2010

www.elvincrafts.co.uk
www.playdaysinthewoods.com
Rupert Hoskinson
Rupert began his apprenticeship in 2007 and completed it in 2010
Hannah Elhert
Hannah started her apprenticeship working with Rebecca Oaks, plus a day a week with Geoff Whitley. Before starting the course, she had volunteered for an intense 3 month work experience in North Devon with coppicer and hurdlemaker, Brian Williamson,. During her time with Rebecca she gathered experience in coppicing, scrub clearance for conservation, felling on limestone, some fence structures and hurdlemaking. A second main area of the business through the year was firewood and charcoal.

After a business restructure Hannah's first placement ended. She travelled a bit doing a summer placement near Bath, with Tim Gatfield from the Cherry Wood Project, assisting on greenwood courses during the summer. Her last year of the apprenticeship course was spent with Grampus Heritage and Training near Cockermouth in Cumbria, where together with second year apprentice Helen Elvin, they helped to develop the greenwood working side of the business and ran day courses.

Hannah's Lancashire placement was funded by the Lancashire LEADER+ programme; part funded by the EU (EAGGF) and Defra and supported by the Lancashire Economic Partnership. Also the Lancashire Woodlands Project and Arnside/Silverdale AONB Sustainable Development Fund.
Hannah graduated in 2008
Saul Blenkarn
Saul graduated in 2007
Natasha Twigg
Twiggy graduated in 2007
James Mitchell
James is from Kendal, South Cumbria. James started working with Maurice Pyle in September 2003 felling trees, producing firewood and charcoal, he completed a number of formal training courses including use of a chainsaw, ATV handling, first-aid, hedge-laying, willow basket making, pole lathe turning, wooden bowls and hurdle making. In June 2004 he set off to Slovakiafor 5 weeks to work on a number of green wood working prospects, then returned to Kendal to work with coppice craftsman, Ian Taylor.

Early in December 04 James had his first experience of teaching on his own course 'Christmas Crafts'. Six students were given tuition in the making of Rustic Reindeer, wreath blanks, willowstars and gypsy roses.

See pictures from his Graduation Exhibition in Woodland Pioneers Week 2006.
James graduated in 2006
Other People Involved in BHMAT

Rebecca Oaks
Chair and Trustee

John Gibbs
Treasurer

Ian Taylor
Secretary

Kath Morgan
Administrator and Co-ordinator

Edward Acland
Trustee

Maurice Pyle
Trustee

Lorna Singleton
Trustee

Natasha Twigg
Trustee

Tony Morgan
Website Content and Trustee