Hedge laying, coppicing and hurdle making – the new Woodland Skills Training Programme

by Robert Lee
26th April 2022

The Chase & Chalke Landscape Partnership Scheme has created a new Woodland Skills Training Programme through its Wonderful Woodlands project

Here, Robert Lee of Aurora Boveridge College in Cranborne tells us how young people at the college have become involved in the project and are learning new skills.

Working in partnership with woodland owners, the Forestry Commission, the Dorset Coppice Group and expert tutors in woodland management, the Chase & Chalke Landscape Partnership Scheme’s Wonderful Woodlands project aims to provide training for adults and young people in woodland skills through the Woodland Skills Training Programme. 

Picture shows group of people laying a hedge

The programme will provide accredited qualifications for chainsaw use, brush cutters and tree felling, as well as training in traditional woodland skills such as hedge laying, coppicing, hurdle making and a variety of green woodworking skills.

Over the years, the Outdoor Education team at Boveridge College has been working to allow students to undertake outdoor pursuits safely, but to also allow them to learn highly transferrable life skills that can be used throughout their lives to benefit future employment as well as their own wellbeing.

The aim in 2022 is to create deeper connections within the local community. Cranborne Chase is the ideal setting to be able to explore this further and with the help of the Chase & Chalke Ranger, Roland Hughes and the outdoor volunteering programme he helps run, we have been able to help a few students who wish to work in an outdoor/environmental industry to put their learning to the test.

This experience will help them greatly to find employment once they have left college. Employers are always on the lookout for not only the skills needed to do a job, but also the will of an individual to do it well and to grow into the role.

One person using a brush cutter with another looking on with a bonfire in the backgroundThe volunteering and work experience these students have undertaken prior to employment will give them that little bit extra help to find employment in their desired field.

The aim of the outdoor education programme at the college is to help young people to:

  • Develop resilience and adaptability in occasionally adverse circumstances
  • Allow young adults to become more able to identify hazards and risks
  • Develop a love, appreciation, and respect for nature and all that is living
  • Develop an understanding of how we can look after our environment
  • Develop self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem
  • Develop collaborative-working and communication skills
  • Provide positive health benefits – both physically and mentally – and assist gross and fine-motor development
  • Develop a lifelong love of the outdoors

Young adults spend so much time indoors, they can lose touch with nature – with the seasons, the weather, what it feels like to be cold. By letting them experience that, we are encouraging them to be present again. That’s very powerful.

Robert Lee is the Outdoor Education and Life Skills Coordinator at Aurora Boveridge College in Cranborne. If you would like to get in touch with Robert to find out more about the work they’re doing, you can email him at robert.lee@the-aurora-group.com

The Wonderful Woodlands project is part of the Chase & Chalke Landscape Partnership Scheme which is funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

If you would like to find out more about the project and how you can get involved please email the Chase & Chalke Team.

logo strip