Discover the Wondrous Wildlife of Woodlands
An exciting 3-year project based at Cromer’s Wood in Sittingbourne funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund to reconnect people to the crafts and skills of traditional woodland management that benefit both wildlife and people.
Find out about the plants and animals that live here in this unique woodland Cromer's Wood, as it changes over time. Discover how the woodland provides all that they need.
Adventures in Woodlands with lots to Make and Do
An ancient coppice woodland offers up many unique habitats to explore as well as a range of different materials that can be turned into many things from a modest tent peg to a woodland bench, or a nature-inspired piece of artwork. Discover the many ways in which coppice materials can be used to make and do.
Activities and Events
We are currently planning the public events for next year, so keep looking in at this page to find out what exciting events and activities we have in store for 2019.
Check out the Journey So Far
April to July 2018
Mini Projects, Reserve changes and Corporate Volunteers
Our first mini project.
In our last update we were still working to develop our mini project programme. Since then we have run our first mini project with The Abbey School Faversham.
We worked with a group of 8 children aged between 12 and 13. The group were put forward for the project for a variety of reasons; some lacked confidence and others struggled academically, for some this was a reward for their academic achievements.
The aim was by the end of the week to put on an event for a group of invited guests. So for the rest of the week the group was taught the skills they would need for the event, such as fire management taught by our own Forest Schools, greenwood working to make decorations and cooking skills taught by the Community Chef.
The group’s event was a great success and all of the individuals that were involved really enjoyed the experience.
The woods are going through changes
The Suez Communities Trust project ‘Down the Woodland Path’ is a project aimed at improving accessibility to the reserve as well as enhancing the visitor experience.
The work started with the installation of a brand new viewing platform by the pond to replace the old bird hide, then a pair of new picnic benches. Both of these were supplied by Marmax Ltd a company that specialises in recycled plastic products. They have been installed by Benton Landscapes a Kent based gardener.
The next job was to improve the entrance track and the main path through the woods. The entrance track has been levelled and resurfaced so the big potholes are a thing of the past, the main path through the woods has been widened and levelled so that wheelchair users can know enjoy the reserve with greater ease. These works were completed by Digger Dave and his fantastic team.
Corporates volunteers have been supporting us too
We have been making some rustic resting benches with the help of Concur Technologies who came to do some corporate volunteering.
We had a group 8 people who came out to help create two rustic benches using traditional greenwood working techniques and hand tools. We provided them lunch that was cooked on our fire pit. None of the group had done any work like this before but all of them enjoyed the experience and learn new and unusual skills.
Our series of summer events are in full swing and we have already run two public events so far this year.
The first event was a tree walk focusing on myths and legends surrounding trees with a craft activity making tree sprit faces. The next was a fantastic fairy door trail walk that was self-lead with a customised map to follow and a craft activity making wild fairy masks. For anyone that missed the event but is still interested in following the fairy door trail it will remain at the woods all summer and the map will be available to download from the website.
Still to come this summer is a series of events that will be led by Karen Crosby a local artist and we also have a second local artist Sioux Peto returning to run an event at the end of August. The Wooden it Be Crafty team will be putting on two Wildlife events, an evening Bat walk and one looking at the Moths and Butterflies of Cromer’s Wood. Both of these are events are being led by Alison Ruyter our Medway and mid-Kent downs area warden.
January to March 2018
Youth forum and the Mini Projects
A new exciting project that we have been developing with the aim to provide the young people of swale a unique opportunity to develop new life skills, this has been supported by the Swale Youth Forum.
We have been trying to develop a mini-project programme for young people to give them some practical life skills such as; financial budgeting, event planning, time and risk management by planning and holding an event for a number of guests to attend. The project focuses on greenwood working and woodland heritage, but really it is all about getting outdoors and having fun.
We have attended two Swale Youth Forum meetings to date to promote these mini projects to the various schools who are involved. The meetings are always fun and informative to attend and it has been great to see the highest level of local government in attendance and answering to the school children.
Cromer’s Wood Improvements
Winter has also provided us with the chance to make some improvements to the reserve such as a brand new custom made sign and the removal of the old bird hide.
Skillnet’s eco shed project is a partner group of Wooden it Be Crafty and their aim is to teach disadvantaged individuals practical skills with the aim of getting them into work. So when we had the chance to create a new sign for the entrance of the reserve we couldn’t think of anyone better for the task.
During the winter we have had a number of different volunteer groups from our project partners helping us, they have been learning the ancient art of coppicing as a woodland management technique.
There have been three groups so far that have braved the elements to come out on one of our coppicing days; they have all gone away having learned some valuable skills not least of all how to safely fell a tree. Cooking sausages over the fire for lunch has been one of the highlights of each of these events, allowing each group to relax and bond around a fire at lunchtime. Gemma Hayes has been leading these days for us; she is a patient and gentle teacher who has lots of experience of conservation work having worked for both Surrey Wildlife Trust and the Kent High Weald Partnership previously.
Suez Bid And upcoming Changes to Cromer's Wood
At the end of last year, we applied for a funding bid from Suez communities trust so that we could make some improvements to the reserve for its visitors. This bid was successful and the works will be starting soon.
When ‘Wooden it be Crafty’ started we had a project target to seek funding to improve the accessibility to the reserves for disabled visitors and improve experiences for all visitors. So we applied for a funding bid with Suez Communities Trust which we were successful in obtaining.
February till December 2017
A recap of the fantastic first year that the ‘Wooden it Be Crafty’ have had with a number of very successful events run at Cromer's wood as well as a number of events that we have been lucky enough to attend.
For the first year of this project, we have held seven events at Cromer’s Wood exploring themes such as tree ID and the myths and legends that surround them, Butterflies and Moths, Natures’ Favourite Foods and Minibeast hunting. These summer events were well attended and we will have another series of events with different themes over this summer 2018.
We have been running ‘greenwood working workshops’ for some of our partners making Bat boxes, mallets, tent pegs as well as a hand carved memorial sign for the Quays Riverside.
Also, we have taken Wooden it be Crafty on the road to various public events around the Swale area; at Milton Creek Country Park and Oare Gunpowder Works. Lots of people enjoyed making coppice pencils with our pencil making machine and news of the project has been spread throughout the area.
Lastly, in cooperation with Optivo and Families on our Doorstep project, we ran a 6 week Forest School program based at Cromer's wood one of the few times that forest school has been run at a reserve.
Kathryn Barton the forest school leader summed up the summer program;
In my opinion this project has been a huge success and, during reflection on the last session, we were pleased to see that all parents and children were keen to spend more time in the woods and asked about future family woodland events.
It is nice to see how comfortable everyone appeared to be at spending extended periods of time in the woods showing an increased connection with nature. Their sadness expressed that these regular sessions were coming to an end.
Look out for more Forest School next year!
Things to do at Cromer's Wood
Faerie Door Trail at Cromer’s Wood.
Welcome to the Cromer’s Wood Faerie door trail. This is a self-led trail that is suitable for all ages; it is designed to help you explore the woodland and maybe to see things you wouldn’t normally see in this woodland.
Please use the accompanying map to help you find the doors. The doors are mainly located at the bases of notable trees and some are on stumps. Not all are easy to find, they may be located around the back of a tree away from the path or simply hidden by the undergrowth. Pay particular attention to the nearby features on the map to spot the exact location of each door.
In addition to the marked locations of the Faerie doors on the map there are a number of bonus doors that are not marked on the map. Finding these will take a degree of luck and some skill.
Please download a copy of the fairy door trail map to follow, this map shows all of the non-bonus doors. As well as a map feel free to download a check list for the doors this shows a picture of each of the doors that are on the map as well as the bonus doors.
Good luck with the Cromer’s Wood Faerie Door trail.
Check Out The Journey So Far.
In this section find out about the journey of the project from it tender beginnings in 2017. We aim to update this section every 4 months, so keep coming back to find out more.