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First Blackdowns Woodland Fair a great day out!

( Last Updated: 08-07-2010 )

The first Blackdowns Woodland Fair, held on Saturday 3 July, was a great success.  Fair-goers were treated to a wealth of woody attractions in a stunning location with views of the Wellington monument and the Vale of Taunton.  There were lots of stalls selling a wide variety of wood related products, including wood burning stoves, bespoke furniture, willow work, wood turning crafts and an art tent.

Most stall holders also gave all-day demonstrations of their skills with opportunities for visitors to try their hand.  There was a fantastic range of family-friendly ‘have-a-go' activities, such as green-woodworking, bush craft skills, forest school workshops teaching how to create fire by friction, and guided woodland wildlife walks.

You could also watch displays of aerial tree surgery, participate in long-bow archery and take the reins in a horse logging demonstration.  In the saw yard various mobile saws were in action whilst a steam-powered saw bench cut a large trunk of local oak into sawn timber ready to be made into seats and interpretation boards for the local Neroche forest scheme.

A prize of a wooden nuthatch sculpture, beautifully carved from a piece of spalted beech by local artist Peter Vernon, was gifted to the lucky winner of the questionnaire prize draw.

John Greenshields, the event organiser said: "it has been an enjoyable day with a relaxed and upbeat atmosphere; we're thrilled with almost a thousand visitors and are already thinking about next year's Fair".

One visitor commented: "we were only going to come for a couple of hours but stayed all afternoon, there was so much for the kids to do and the location is beautiful". 
All in all it was a wonderful day out for all the family and it is hoped that the Fair will go from strength to strength as it becomes an annual event.

The day was organised by the Blackdown and East Devon Woodland Association through the Working Our Woodlands project, funded by the Blackdown Hills AONB, East Devon AONB and Making it Local, incorporating funding from the EU, Defra, SWRDA and LEADER.  The Fair was also supported by the Neroche Scheme, the Silvanus Trust and local sponsors. 

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