After years of trustworthy use, heating the sauna and Long House it’s time to say goodbye and thank you to our wonderful old wood burner.
As many of you will know, over the last 18 months we’ve been steadily investing in changes to our buildings to make them safer and bring them in line with current health and safety standards.
The Long House was our first building to include sleeping accommodation, and we’re now in the process of refurbishing it to install a new wood burning stove that will be housed in a purpose-built hearth constructed at the back of the Long House.
The stove will have a new opening formed from the back into the centre of the rear sauna wall, which will will make the stove safer in terms of fire safety, and the new flue will rise up outside of the building rather than internally.
This will also allow us a better layout within the sauna with more benched area. Our new stove will heat the bedrooms as well as hot water for showers, and we’re excited about this upgrade to the accommodation at the wood.
Pictured: Tim our Facilities Supervisor dismantling the old burner
I’d been looking for somewhere to run a singing weekend to re-connect people with the natural environment and each other, and I knew as soon as I arrived at Hazel Hill Wood that it was absolutely perfect.
There’s something quite magical about the space and the energy that hits you as soon as you arrive. My group absolutely loved it – from spotting deer in the trees to the smell of the wood smoke mixing with the decaying autumn leaves, to singing songs about the moon in the moonlight and songs about forests under the trees.
The space itself was really homely and welcoming – so lovingly crafted and well thought through, and the well stocked kitchen met all of our food and tea and coffee needs.
Everyone wanted to know how soon we could come back – with more than one optimistically asking if we could just sneak back the following weekend and do it all over again.
Thank you to everyone who has put time and love into creating such a wonderful space, and to the woodland itself for allowing us to share our harmonies with it. We can’t wait to come back.
Xenia Davis, Choir leader/community musician/singing teacher
The sun shone and the woods buzzed with fun, conservation and learning at our family weekend and ‘open afternoon’ in early April.
Held in Spring and Autumn and aimed at families and individuals alike, these popular events are an opportunity for everyone to get their hands stuck into the soil, play games, make campfires and relax together in the fresh air, with the added bonus of experiencing the off-grid eco-lifestyle.
An extra draw this Spring was the Nature Discovery Open Afternoon on Saturday, led by Salisbury Natural History Society Experts, Kevin Horner Bee Keeper & Jason Turner Forestry. With a table laden with curiosities in front of the Oak House our experts entertained and educated the group showing fascinating objects such as dormouse nests, feathers, skulls, eggs and up-close views of bugs under the microscope.
The open afternoon was well attended by local residents who received a free pass to join the group at the woods, and activities included a nature trail, forest walk, “tracks & signs”, bees and beekeeping demonstration and tours of the beautiful, functional eco-buildings at Hazel Hill Wood. The fun didn’t end there for the weekenders, Steve and Mandy led a wonderful clay-mask making session around the campfire – the sheer concentration everyone felt creating these was reflected in the brilliant expressions of the masks which ended up adorning the surrounding tree trunks.
But of course it wasn’t all play and the group managed to complete some vital conservation work at the woods. Assisted by the local scouts with their leader Duncan, over one hundred new cherry, oak and sweet chestnut trees were planted out. Recycling the tree tubes for new stakes proved a surprising hit with the children, and the satisfaction of helping to ensure new growth was rewarding for everyone.
These wonderful activities, along with energetic bursts of “Capture the Flag” with Sarah, meant hearty appetites all round. Despite going down with an unfortunate bout of flu our lead cook Claudia kept on smiling and created fabulous meals and home-made cakes to nourish and sustain the hard-working conservationists.
After the weekend, posting lovely pictures on our facebook page, one attendee summed up her feelings: “So many wonderful things took place in the woods at Hazel Hill this weekend. Catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, so much growth and expansion. Thank you Alan for your vision.”
These wonderful events are only possible with the hard work of Alan, Marcos, Kate and the rest of the team, and the generosity of the wood opening up its wealth of experiences for all to enjoy.
Check our Facebook or Twitter for future Nature Discovery and Family Conservation weekends.