Volunteers turn coppice into craft at Hughenden
Chris Raymond and Clive Tebby started out as Chilterns Countryside volunteers, helping the Rangers with thinning and coppicing in the woodlands. When they saw good timber going for firewood, they spotted an opportunity.
It started with charcoal
Initially, we started making charcoal for sale. Then, a year ago, Clive and I thought that some of the timber was too good to burn and we asked the Countryside Manager if he could give us some time in the workshop. The idea was to make products from timber cut on the Hughenden estate and sell them to raise funds to help care for the Chilterns Countryside.
Now we're on boot racks and bumble bee boxes
We went on a recce to Nymans to have a look at what they do for inspiration. After some initial training from the rangers on the band saw and drills, we started on peanut bird feeders, coasters and bug hotels. The first versions were very rustic - they still are - but people seem to really like the stuff.
First prize at Naphill fete
We took the products to four local fetes this year and we were very well received. We mainly wanted to talk to people about the products to see if they like them and ended up selling our prototypes, even a reindeer - in June. We won best stall at Naphill fete and received a trophy.
At Christmas we held a pop-up market in front of the manor at Hughenden selling wooden reindeer, Christmas trees and other festive products. There are three other volunteers in our team and we're currently looking at what we can make for spring and summer. If you have any ideas for what we should make next, get in touch and Let us know what you think.
" You don't get many opportunities these days to cut the tree, build the whole product and then sell it too."