Sylva's Rodas Irving with BBC Countryfile presenter Anita Rani What's OnWhat's On section icon

Axminster Tools & Machinery is now working with and supporting the Sylva Foundation based in Oxfordshire.

Originally, a philanthropist donated twelve acres of land to Sylva. However, the one condition was to use the land for something connected with wood.

Sylva Foundation supports businesses

Today, the Sylva Wood Centre is a hub for small businesses and crafts people who design, innovate or make in wood and related crafts. Also, it is the home of the Sylva Foundation.

The centre provides a dedicated space and equipment, and has an inspiring community of woodworking professionals. In addition to business units for established businesses, the Foundation provides facilities to support business incubation.

Crafts-person-in-residence

One of these incubation areas is assigned to Rycotewood Furniture Centre. As a result, each year the college supports one graduate to launch their career. This year the Rycotewood crafts-person-in-residence is Matt Estlea who works part-time in the Axminster Basingstoke store.

Matt Estlea

Future forest friends

Among the Foundation’s initiatives is the ‘Future Forest Friends’ scheme. The scheme comprises several hundred plots planted with tree species that that will hopefully thrive despite climate change, pests and diseases. These plots are available for sponsorship and Axminster will be sponsoring two.

Another project is a new dedicated forest education area where children can learn about and enjoy the woodland. What’s more, the centre offers a range of wood related courses for members of the public. Examples include making a canoe paddle with Colin Henwood of Henwood & Dean and spoon whittling with woodcarver Simon Clements. (Simon also carved totems to celebrate the Charter of the Tree 2017.) Plans are afoot to develop this teaching facility in the future.

Oxfordshire Art Weeks

Sylva’s Wood Centre is occasionally open to the public and will be open later this month during Oxfordshire Art Weeks.

Consequently, the centre will be open on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 May, and also the following week on Saturday 26, Sunday 27 and Monday 28 from 10am-5pm on all of those days.

Venue: Sylva Wood Centre, Little Wittenham Road, Long Wittenham, Oxfordshire OX14 4QT

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