Here comes the Fair

Matthew Bevan, Ranger Matthew Bevan Ranger
Wood for sale Ickworth

Ickworth Ranger, Matt talks us through the preparations for our biggest event of the year, our Wood & Craft Fair.

We are fast approaching one of the main events of the year, not just for the Ranger team but for the whole of Ickworth and one that requires long term planning. For us the whole ‘Wood Fair’ journey started last December when, as part of our normal woodland management and tree safety inspections, we felled a lot of the timber to be milled.

Wood Fair is a perfect opportunity to buy specialist wood from across the estate
Wood Fair stacks
Wood Fair is a perfect opportunity to buy specialist wood from across the estate

Last winter we took out three Oaks which provided us with several good straight lengths of timber for milling. We then replant around 10 Oaks grown from acorns collected at Ickworth as replacements. A lot of these coppice blocks also have larger Silver Birch in which we will take out as they are reaching the end of their lives anyway.

In other areas, we also fell timber for safety reasons, so this year we took out a large Sycamore from the edge of a property on the estate, and also a Hornbeam that was leaning over a track. On the blue route by the Fairy Lake we took out some Silver Birch and a large Ash, partly to open up the track and let more light in but also, they were reaching the end of their lives. Oak is generally the most popular so we make sure we have plenty of that but then we also like to have variety and a few more specialist woods to sell at the fair.

Once the trees are felled and cut into length, then we need to get them onto a saw mill. We don’t have one ourselves, but use a mobile sawmilling company. Tim from Eastern Counties Mobile Sawmilling comes in three times over the year to mill the timber we have felled into the planks you see at the Wood Fair. Whilst the tractor can load the logs onto the mill, it is up to us and our volunteers to take them off and into the store. They are then brushed down and stacked with spacers in between to keep them flat.

Our wood on its way down to the fair
Wood at Wood Fair
Our wood on its way down to the fair

Then begins the week long process of moving everything from our wood store down to the Wood tent. Stacks are loaded onto a flatbed trailer with the Telehandler and then off again at the other end, where each plank is priced depending on species, size and general quality of the wood before being stacked in the tent. The only thing left to do then is wait until the gates open and the first morning rush. We hope you'll join us over the weekend on the 7 & 8 October.