Welcome to the woods!


I would like to tell you more about a great location we began developing last year to host our workshops and courses and would like to share with you our plans from May onwards.

Birtley Woodland Art Space is a community art, crafts and wellbeing space for people to come together and learn from professional instructors passionate about sharing and passing on their knowledge and skills to others.

Helping people gain new skills and knowledge isn’t only a commitment, but also a passion. Co-founders Ruth Wheeler and I (Lorraine Ellery Matthews) offer a wide variety of workshop experiences and courses between us and are growing our offering by inviting Artists, Makers and Wellness instructors to join us from time to time to continue to make the learning experience both interesting and fun.

Birtley Woodland Art Space is nestled within the woodland beyond the lake on the Birtley Estate in Bramley, Guildford a beautiful Surrey Hills location, so picturesque with its lakes and gardens and woodland walks and not surprisingly it is classified as an “AONB” an area of outstanding natural beauty

Ruth and I are both members of Surrey Hills Enterprises a membership organisation supporting local enterprises. We first met at the Pippfest festival in Dorking in September 2018 exhibiting under our own independent brands ‘ScuptIt’ and ‘Hedges & Hurdles Country Skills & Crafts.’ It wasn’t until several further discussions at Surrey Hills member events the following year that we began carving out a collaborative approach and offering at the Birtley Estate. We launched early last year, ran a few workshops in March and then we all know what happened next!

We are now back running workshops and looking at further developing Birtley Woodland Art Space within the Birtley Estate, with plans to utilise even more of the woodland and surrounding spaces available on the 48-acre site, we will have further announcements to share in the coming weeks!

What arts and skills can people learn at Birtley Woodland Art Space?

At the beginning of each year during the coppicing season I teach volunteers including members of the HALO Project (a charity supporting young adults with learning difficulties), about the tools and skills needed to pollard and process the Willow grown on the estate. The picture above shows one of the groups revisiting the Willow coppice recently.

The Willow is used for many forms of art and craft including the creation of Plant Supports and teaching trainees the heritage skill of weaving traditional Willow Wattle Hurdles. I also buy in specialist basket Willow from Somerset for my varied workshops making Butterflies, Dragonflies and Flower sculptures to Foraging Baskets, Tension Trays and my unique Botanical & Willow combinations of crafts. Hazel, Chestnut and other natural materials are also coppiced locally to be used to create Wood Art of various forms.

Ruth teaches traditional wood carving at Birtley, using locally sourced wood to make 2d Relief Art Work and Signs plus offering her popular Pyrography workshops (meaning: to draw with fire). Ruth is inspired by the local Surrey landscape, particularly Birch Trees, Ferns, Woodlands, Landscapes as well as Indian, African and Maori cultures.

In addition to working with wood, Ruth is a qualified Yoga and Nia instructor. As a fusion practice, Nia integrates wisdom and practices from a diverse range of influences through the lens of the body to create a holistic practice that enhances overall health and well-being for everybody. To stimulate movement and energetic variety, Nia blends the Martial Arts, Dance Arts and Healing Arts which are comprised of 9 Movement Forms: Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido; Jazz, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance; and Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, Yoga.

Additional skills visitors can learn in 2021 include: Spoon Carving, Felt Making; Soap Stone Carving, Ceramics, Decoupage On Wood, Natural Wreath Making, Mindfulness plus seasonal art and crafts and activities offered by guest artists and makers.

Birtley Woodland Art Space is also a great location for private group events, something we are looking forward to running more of in 2021 onwards, these are very popular so need to be planned as much in advance as is possible. Catering options can be requested too.


We have a varied selection of training courses and workshops coming up at various venues including Birtley Woodland Art Space in May:

Spring Willow Craft Workshop
Saturday 1st May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford




Plant Support Workshop
Saturday 8th May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford




Willow In The Woods
Friday 14th May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford




Plant Support Workshop
Saturday 15th May
Private Woodlands, Smallfield, Horley




Ruth’s Spring Pyrography Workshop
Saturday 15th May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford




Weekend Wood Carving Experience
Saturday 15th May & Sunday 16th May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford




Earth Goddess – Women In the Woods Series
Friday 21st May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford




Botanical Dreams
Saturday 22nd May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford




Plant Support Workshop
Saturday 28th May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford




Botanical Dreams
Sunday 29th May
Flitton’s Nursery, Woodcote, Surrey




Surrey Artists Open Studio

This coming June, in collaboration with Surrey Artist Open Studio (SAOS), ten amazing artists and makers will take part in an Open Studio, to be hosted in and around Birtley Woodland Art Space. They will join Ruth and Lorraine to exhibit their work displaying paintings; textiles; mosaics; wood and ceramic sculpture; Willow art; 2d art; jewellery; metal and green woodwork and also outdoor furniture.
See here for information about the Artists and Makers.


“Art In The Woods” is the name given to the taster workshops to be delivered each Saturday during Open Studios’ by the Surrey Artist Open Studio Group members. The first taster workshop is on Saturday 5th June and the following two Saturday’s thereafter.


Thank you for your continued support, we look forward to welcoming you to our further events this year at one of our fantastic locations.

We will be back at Sussex Prairies and Priory Farm in June and will be bringing more courses delivered by Paul later in the year.

Lorraine & Paul

My Wonderful World of Willow

Welcome to my wonderful world of Willow!

We can now all finally look forward to getting outside and spending time in the great outdoors enjoying the company of other like-minded people. Step into my world and join me, Lorraine to learn how to create your own Willow Art and Sculptures in a morning, afternoon or full-day workshop suitable for beginners and people of all ages and abilities! It’s relaxing and great fun plus I have patience in bucket loads so don’t worry you will leave content and with an art piece to be proud of!

Browse through the selection of events we have planned for this Spring held at several locations within the Surrey Hills including the picturesque location of Birtley Woodland Art Space in Bramley, Guildford; private woodlands in Smallfield, Horley and Flitton’s Nursery & Plant Centre, Woodcote, Wallington.

We have experiences for adults and teenagers as well as those designed with families in mind. Learn how to create a beautiful Butterfly, Dragonfly, Flower and Dream Catcher or create a selection of Plant Supports including Trellis and Obelisks for your garden. Living Willow Harlequin Trees can look amazing standing up to 6ft in height and we have different styles of Bird Feeders and planters for you to weave too!

It’s great working with other artists and makers, our Botanical Dreams Workshop is run together with Garden Designer,  Renée Canter and our Birtley Woodland Workshops with Wood Artist & Sculptor, Ruth Wheeler.

If it’s a group booking you are interested in or a themed event then please contact me, Lorraine, to discuss further. I can host your private event at your own outdoor location (if suitable) or you can bring your group to one of my locations, the choice is yours! Make contact to learn my availability and to book.

I love running my workshops, they are really enjoyable but don’t take my word for it, see what others have to say:

“Great crafts and lovely teachers. We have a few crafty builds in our garden now including an Hazel arch, hearts and obelisk ”, facebook review by Samantha Ryan, March 2021

“Highly recommend Lorraine’s Willow class. Myself and my Mum attended the bird feeder class today and loved it. Clear instructions and help when you need it. All covid safe. I hope to come back. Thank you”, facebook review, Caz Councell, September 2020

See here for our full calendar of events.

This is me with my Willow bounty following coppicing at Priory Farm Estate, South Nutfield in March. We are expecting our workshops at Priory Farm to commence again in June.

To Mum With Love

There is one thing I know and that’s time with your Mother is so precious! Whether you plan to send flowers or other gifts via the post this Mothers day I know more than anything you would prefer to be spending face to face, quality time with her! We may not be able to do this on Mother’s Day itself this year but we CAN plan ahead and give her a gift you can both look forward to and share together!


This coming Spring I have a wide selection of Willow Craft & Wood Craft workshop experiences for you to share with your Mum and other friends and family in your life that are so special to you. I also have a choice of locations for you to choose and if you prefer I can arrange a private workshop for you to host in your own garden!












“Highly recommend Lorraine’s willow class. Myself and my Mum attended the bird feeder class today and loved it. Clear instructions and help when you need it. All covid safe. I hope to come back. Thank you.” Cas, facebook review.

The locations we have spread out across Surrey Hills & Sussex, here are just a few:

  • Birtley Woodland Art Space situated within the 48 acres Birtley Estate in Bramley, Guildford classified as an AONB, an area of outstanding natural beauty with its picturesque lakes and woodlands. Perfect if you also wish to explore, you can bring your own picnic too!
  • The stunning 8 acres Sussex Prairie Garden near Henfield, West Sussex open from 2nd June through to October. Garden access is included in all our workshop tickets and the Tea Rooms are open for refreshment, ice creams and delicious cake!
  • Flitton’s Nursery & Plant Centre, a family run nursery (as old as me) with both indoor and outdoor space for our workshops and a lovely coffee shop “Blossoms”, you can pre-order a delicious lunch or afternoon tea.

Take a look at the full range of workshops and courses we have to offer here. You can also view our calendar of events.

I also have a Mothers Day special offer, just for our readers. Enter the following promo code on booking for two people in one of our Spring or Summer workshops to receive a 10% discount (offer valid until Mothers Day 2021):

Promo code: LOVEYOUMUM

Light at the end of the tunnel

There is finally light at the end of our green tunnel!

The new roadmap published by the Government on 22nd February will allow us to safely commence our workshops and training courses as follows:
  • Our one-to-one outdoor courses can commence from the 8th of March
  • From 29th March the rule of 6 applies for our adult-only courses and workshops
  • From 29th March we can also run our courses and workshops for Parent & Child groups with a limit of 15 attendees (children under 5 do not count towards the attendee limit)

Your safety (and ours) is very important and we will continue to review our risk assessments and ensure we are following Government guidelines. For more information please see here: Health & Safety

We look forward to welcoming you to our forthcoming EXPERIENCES, if you have any questions or want to book a private workshop or training course please MAKE CONTACT.
Thank you all for your support through these challenging times. Paul and I are looking forward to a busy Spring and Summer and bringing people together in the great outdoors!
Lorraine & Paul
Learn a new skill today!

Birtley Woodland Art Experience

Book your place and join us on 29.08.20

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.

Here’s what you can expect…

  • The opportunity to practice at least three different Woodland inspired Arts, taught and guided by qualified and experienced instructors
  • The chance to relax and enjoy being outdoors, with walks around Birtley Woods, lunching by the lake and taking in the picturesque views
  • Discounts on group bookings
  • Suitable for all the family
  • Perfect for beginners
  • FREE onsite parking

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.

Full details here.

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.

Where is this taking place?

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.







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