For the past two and a half years, Axminster Tools & Machinery has been working with the Sylva Foundation based in Oxfordshire.  

Originally, a philanthropist donated twelve hectares of land to Sylva, with the one condition that the land was to be used for something connected with wood. As an environmental charity, Sylva undertakes an incredible amount of work to help raise awareness around sustainable forestry and woodland management. In addition, the Sylva team work hard to highlight the importance of educating the next generation of makers from a young age. 

Today, the land is not only the home of the Sylva Foundation, but also the Sylva Wood Centre. The centre is a hub for small businesses and crafts people who design, innovate or make in wood and related crafts. It provides a dedicated space and equipment, and has an inspiring community of woodworking professionals. In addition to business units for established businesses, the foundation provides facilities to support business incubation.

Just over a year ago in January 2019, Sylva opened its new Teaching Barn. This was the next step of the foundation’s vision to deliver education and training at the Sylva Wood School. The design of the building allows it to easily transform from workshop to classroom, enabling Sylva to host seminars, presentations and events, together with a wide range of practical courses.

Axminster Tools recently held its latest Lunch and Learn session at the Sylva Foundation. The aim of the day was to bring together key business customers and provide a platform to raise awareness around the importance of woodland preservation and the sustainable management of woodlands.

The day consisted of an introduction and tour of the Sylva Wood Centre community and related businesses; a talk on the current climate crisis and future forests, including a visit to its recently planted Future Forest. The Sylva Wood School plans to help fill in some of the gaps within formal education, providing recruitment opportunities for well-established woodworking businesses. Attendees were also able to learn more about the projects Sylva is and has been running. This included seeing the House of Wessex which involved the reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon building, on its original footprint, using tools and materials true to the seventh century.

Commenting on the Lunch and Learn’ day, attendee John Hampton of Artichoke said: “I found the day very inspirational and would welcome more opportunities to do this event again.”

Axminster has also supported the Sylva Foundation’s Future Forest Friends scheme. The scheme comprises several hundred plots planted with tree species that that will hopefully thrive despite climate change, pests and diseases. These plots are available for sponsorship and Axminster has sponsored two.

To arrange a meeting with your regional technical consultant, email or call 0800 371822.