In these uncertain times, it is so good to see so many communities coming together to find ways to support their neighbours, friends, families, local businesses, carers and the NHS. Local online communities for some have been invaluable, whether used to organise support or collect donations for those in need, to share local news, to obtain advise or provide recommendations to others, or to just bring a smile to peoples faces!
We have had to adapt this Spring to a new norm, as have so many other businesses and this has included creating an online shop and pop up Garden Shop to display and sell our crafts! We would like to say a big thank you to our friends, family, customers and local online communities for their continued and much appreciated support in these new endeavours, it wouldn’t be possible to remain in business without you!
As with other event organisers we have not been able to run our workshops and training courses as we had hoped and won’t be able to do so until early July at the earliest. This is a shame as we had so many exciting new events to bring you this year, however, we recognise that the most important thing is to ensure we re-launch all events once again when it is first safe and sensible to do so.
In the spirit of community, we would like to ask you our friends and customers to help support our business even further by requesting a favour, we will, of course, be pleased to offer you something in return, ”quid pro quo”.
I won’t beat about the bush, we would be extremely grateful if you have been satisfied with our products or services we have delivered to provide us with a recommendation!
This action will really help people make purchasing decisions and also help us to bounce back when lockdown restrictions have been lifted. We have found recommendations including those provided on social media and by word of mouth to be the best way to share good experiences with others and to help promote our business to new friends (customers we haven’t met yet).
The competition will run from 22nd May until 31st May.
The live draw will take place on Monday 1st June 2020 at 2 p.m. This will be promoted live on Instagram. We will contact the lucky winners directly after the draw via telephone and/or email.
CLICK HERE to make contact and enter our free prize draw.
I mentioned earlier that we have had to adapt and find a new norm, we are pleased to say we have been able to do this by bringing our products and services to you by introducing two types of shops:
We have opened a Garden Shop displaying our natural, homemade Willow Crafts and Botanicals including our Obelisk and Harlequin Trees. Our little cottage is situated on a bridal and cycle path so we have had many people passing by our front garden in the past few months, especially with the lovely weather we have been having!
We would normally be exhibiting our business at various agricultural and country fairs across Surrey and Sussex this time of year and given these have all been cancelled was worried we would lose the face-to-face connection with our friends and customers that we value. The Garden Shop seemed like the next best thing but now we consider it to be a unique part of our business going forward as it has brought us so much closer to those in our local and nearby neighbourhoods, so much so we are on first name terms with many of our visitors and are already seeing lots of people returning on a regular basis.
Rustic Obelisk and other plant support workshops had proven to be a favourite choice of our customers last year, therefore, it made sense to take orders and make these myself this year. I already had Willow in storage from the coppicing I had undertaken earlier in the year, some of this with the help of volunteers, so all I had to do was start weaving! I began by displaying Obelisk and Harlequin Trees (a decorative tree woven in the harlequin pattern from living Willow) of various sizes in my new Garden Shop and when I realised how popular they would be I quickly set about creating an online shop on my website. I had to upskill quickly to master the use of Woo-Commerce but I’m always up for a challenge when technology is involved!
To date, we have a small selection of products on sale plus gift vouchers, however, we will continue to add more over time. Again, this is an adaption that we plan to keep. Paul and I had previously made a range of rustic products to order so it made sense to take this step and set up an e-commerce shop offering free local delivery.
The next step in our aim to adapt is to introduce a selection of online courses to support our existing training courses and workshops. For example, those who have participated in our Wattle Hurdle Workshops know that the steps are quite complicated and difficult to remember and it is only through practise that you can eventually become an expert! Therefore, an online tutorial available to view after the course has ended will help as a reference tool for those who wish to continue to practise and improve their newfound skill.
I am also planning on creating a small number of tutorials to accompany the sale of our Gift Packs, the first of which we launched last week for those who would like to make a Willow Dream Catcher!
All customers who had bookings with us to commence earlier than July have now been contacted, we have been working hard to ensure these workshops and events can be rescheduled where possible.
Moving forward to July and beyond we have a growing list of workshop experiences and training courses available in our Experience Box Office to be held at our various locations. We have ensured that in addition to buying tickets to reserve your place in advance, each workshop also provides you with the choice to join a Waitlist to express your interest in the event rather than pay upfront in these uncertain times. We will make contact nearer the time to inform you if the event is still going ahead and if you wish to make a booking.
We offer a selection of Wood Art, Willow Craft and Bushcraft workshops at various picturesque locations across Surrey Hills and Sussex. We will continue to add further dates and events so do bookmark the following page for future reference:
The desire to conserve and enhance our heritage hedgerows, undertake new (old) skills and spend time in the outdoors has been on the increase and I expect this will continue, especially given the current climate. It may be some time away but we would like to welcome you to join our Coppicing and Hedgelaying Training Course this coming Winter and enjoy an experience that will stay with you for life!
We will have more updates for you in the coming weeks including news of a very special event we will be hosting at the Birtley Woodland Art Space, hopefully in July!
Wishing you all well, stay safe.
Lorraine & Paul
Given the Prime Ministers announcement yesterday evening, we have no choice other than to postpone all workshops planned up until the end of May at this time. We do still wish to learn which workshops are of interest to you, your friends and family, you can let us know by joining a WAITLIST, to be notified once workshops resume!
Below is a link to our Experience Box Office listing all our previously planned events. Please select which event is of interest and add your email address to the waitlist. Ignore the dates on the list, we will contact you once things get back to normal to let you know when the next date for your workshop of choice becomes available:
Our little business has come to a halt at this time like so many others. We had hoped that private events would keep us going but that can no longer happen.
We do not know what the future brings but thankfully, as a business we do not yet have any major overheads such as the cost of a permanent business premise! We tend to rent most of our locations on an ad hoc basis or have a ‘quit pro quo’ arrangement in place, therefore, we hope to be able to pick things up again quite quickly once the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is no longer with us.
In the meantime, Paul will return to his seasonal gardening job at The Titsey Estate in Oxted (at least we hope this can happen now) and I will make Willow crafts and Woodcraft in my garden. I will also have the opportunity to create living Willow structures too and look forward to sharing posts of my creations with you here. Once restrictions for travel have lifted I hope to offer free local delivery of items such as Obelisk, Cloche and Harlequin Trees made to order as well as many other items and plants, watch this space for further updates!
You can make contact here or call me, Lorraine on 07446837492
We wish you all well during these difficult times and can’t thank our customers, friends and family enough for the continuous support you have provided.
Lorraine & Paul
Ever fancied trying Woodland inspired Arts but not sure which skill you would prefer to learn? We, Lorraine and Ruth (head to our Facebook page to find out more about us), are combining our own skills and years of experience to bring you the opportunity to try various arts classes in a taster day down in Birtley Woods.
We both specialise in different techniques and you will have many choices on the day which include Wood Carving, Pyrography, Campfire Whittling or creating a Bird Feeder, Willow Dream Catcher, Hair Wreath and more.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, class numbers are limited so head over to our bookings page now to secure your first choice of class.
Arts can be tailored to adults or children and you will be able to choose three classes which will last around 60-90 minutes. Skill sets will differ and you work at your own pace to create beautiful and unique pieces which you will be able to take home to decorate your own house and garden.
Art sessions take place in the woodland of the beautiful Birtley Estate which stretches to 48 acres. There is plenty to explore, including walks around the grounds, lunch by the lake and at some point during the day we will toast marshmallows around our campfires. If the weather on the day isn’t the best, don’t worry as we have plenty of shelter.
The day starts at 10am – 4pm and we will allow for a 1 hour lunch break. We will provide tea’s, coffees and cold drinks throughout the day and there are toilets onsite. We just ask that you bring your own lunch to enjoy and keep you going.
All T&C’s are listed on our bookings page.
Just 5 miles outside Guildford town centre in Bramley, in the Woodland that sits within the Birtley Estate. Sat nav location: GU5 0LB.
Note: Please use the main Birtley House entrance entering via the main gate and parking in the left hand car park overlooking the lake. Please DO NOT head to the main house to ask for directions, the arts space is sign-posted and can be easily located beyond the lake and into the woods where Lorraine and Ruth will be waiting. Sadly, at this time our other gardens are restricted and cannot be explored. The Birtley Estate is primarily home to our long standing Care Home, and we ask that any visitors of the Woodland only use the front garden which is home to our main lake, just in case our Residents wish to use the gardens themselves.
If you pick up a copy of “My Weekly Special” you will see that I have been featured in the “people” section by author Claire Saul. The article provides an insight into my personal story of how and why I dramatically changed career, I do hope it will help and inspire others who are going through a similar experience!
There are no strangers here just friends we haven’t met yet! So welcome friends both old and new to our first newsletter of 2020. We aim to bring you updates from time to time, share our blog posts and provide you with the opportunity to also share your feedback so we can continue to improve the services and experiences we offer to you, your friends and family.
As many of you may already be aware Paul (aka the woodsman!) has been delivering our Coppicing, Hedgelaying & Wattle Hurdle Making Courses since 2018 and these courses continue to grow in popularity. The courses have previously taken place at New Pond Farm, Reigate between October and February each year. This year we have moved the coppicing to Norbury Park, Fetcham because there is quality Hazel in abundance here and the ground is not so saturated from all the rain we had earlier this month. We have also introduced hot food (breakfast and lunch) in the woods for our trainees, which as you can imagine a hot meal on a cold winters day is very welcomed and also reduces the risk of Paul returning home ‘hangry’!
Due to popularity, we have now added another date for our Hedgelaying & Coppicing Course, this will be held on the weekend of 7th and 8th March:
If you have tried Hedgelaying and would like to have a go at making a Wattle Hurdle Panel using traditional techniques we have one more course running this winter, it will be held at Norbury Park, Fetcham on 1st and 2nd of February – do sign up quickly as we only have 2 places remaining!
Please note that our ratio of trainer to the trainee is usually 1 to 7. However, we can facilitate larger private groups and will bring in another qualified tutor when needed.
We are finding that more of you are keen to have one to one training with Paul, particularly those who wish to up-skill really quickly and put what they have learned into immediate practice. We will always consider requests, for example, one of our customers requested a one-to-one Coppicing and Hazel Arch course with Paul next month. The coppicing will take place at Norbury Park, Fetcham and the Hazel Arch will be made in situ in the customers garden in Reigate so it can be immediately erected into place.
For the first time, this winter we filled our commercial hedgelaying calendar before the coppicing season commenced in October! This just shows that attending country fairs over the past two years and engaging face to face with our prospective customers really makes a difference, not to mention how helpful the great reviews and referrals our customers have provided have been for us too! If you are an existing customer and wish to provide a facebook or a Google review for our business then you will find us @hedgesandhurdles or you can just send me (Lorraine) a quick email with some text for inclusion on our website: Lorraine@hedgesandhurdles.com
It’s nearly a year since I held my first workshop at the Priory Farm Estate, South Nutfield. In the first workshop we made rustic Obelisk using either Hazel I coppiced myself or with Willow that I harvested on-site with the help on occasions by volunteers! I took these workshops a step further and combined them with a Mini-Wattle Hazel Hurdle workshop that I ran with Paul in the summer at the beautiful location of Sussex Prairies, near Henfield. I highly recommend a visit to the Sussex Prairie garden and tea rooms owned and run by the lovely Pauline and Paul.
My workshops have developed considerably over the past year as I introduced you to Willow Dragonflies, flowers, hearts and more. I have been learning new Willow weaving and Wood Craft skills to continue to bring you a range of exciting new experiences to choose from in the coming months. In January I have already held a Willow Bird Feeder workshop with more planned.
Next Tuesday I will hold my first Willow Cloche workshop! Can I share a secret, this next workshop was supposed to be in March but I added the wrong date to the facebook event page and as I received immediate bookings decided it would still go ahead. So sorry for the late notice but there are still places available if you would like to join me, it would be good to have a full house (barn), I will take a heater so we can go inside if it really is too cold out there too!
If you fancy learning a new skill this year and enjoy being in the outdoors we currently have 33 workshop experiences published for the year ahead and still more to add, do take a look to see if there is one that interests you:
I would like to thank those of you who volunteered to help me in harvesting Willow at Priory Farm Estate. I must admit the coppicing undertaken this month was much easier than that undertaken in November. I was also delighted to be joined by Anthony (Ant), one of the people who originally planted the Willow when he worked at Priory Farm many years ago. The Willow is now less brittle and of course, all of the leaves have fallen off so no double handling needed. Without these volunteers, I think my back would have broken by now but with the help of these new friends, it has made this work so much easier but most of all, it has created the opportunity to bring people together from the local community and further afield to share in this mindful, relaxing experience!
If you are familiar with Reigate Heath then you will have heard of The Skimmington Castle, a great little pub near to the golf course. You may not yet be familiar with Grow at the Skim a “small, independent plant nursery and garden boutique set in under 0.1 acres in the grounds of the Skimmington Castle pub on Reigate Heath. Every effort is being made to ensure that Grow at the Skim fits in as a beautiful part of this stunning natural landscape and our tranquil community.”
This little boutique popped up just before Christmas and I was invited to display my Willow Crafts for sale and also took commissions for my rustic door wreaths and large Hazel and Willow chandeliers. Apparently, I was the top seller, which was great news to hear for such a new collaboration.
This month I have been busy making Bird Feeders of varying sizes to display at Grow At The Skim and look forward to filling the decking with Willow Obelisk and other Wood Craft creations I have in mind! In addition, I will be running some workshops here, the first one will be to make Willow Bird Feeders!
Watch this space! I mentioned in a previous newsletter that I have joined forces with Ruth Wheeler an experienced wood sculptor and artist. This year we will be launching our Weekender Workshops at the “Birtley Woodland Art Space” located within the woodlands within the stunning Birtley Estate in Bramley Guildford. We will be offering various workshops for you to choose including Willow Art, Wood Art, Pyrography, Whittling and Spoon Carving. As with all things good, it takes time to develop our offering but we hope to have booking details for you very soon. I can announce that our first workshop will be held on 14th and 15th March so do drop me a line if you would like to be added to our waitlist!
The Birtley Woodland Art Space is also a fantastic new location for our “Hen In The Woods experience.
“Planning a Shabby Chic or Rustic themed Wedding? Bring your friends and family together to design and make your own bespoke accessories whilst participating in a fun-filled outdoor ‘experience’ set within the beautiful surroundings of Surrey Hills.”
As well as offering you a full range of arts and craft activities to choose from we can also include woodland walks, picnics alongside the picturesque lakes and create a bespoke one or two day Hen Party event for you all to enjoy. Camping may also be a possibility (depending on dates).
We usually only send this newsletter via our mailing list but thought we would add it to a blog post on this occasion given the nature of our ramblings as hopefully, they will be of interest and relevance to you all! If you would like to register your email address to receive our newsletter and any other special offers we may have from time to time you can do so via our facebook page here:
GIFT VOUCHERS NOW AVAILABLE Dismiss