The Cherrywood Project

Only a ten minute drive from the centre of Bath, an unassuming gate through which a track leads deep into the woods, lies the home of Tim Gatfield - a timber framed yurt within the shade of a 500 year old oak. Tim lives here with his wife and two young children, watching nature pass by his doorway every day.

Tim has opened up his homestead and his love of the woods to teach others how to sustainably manage woodland as well as several centuries old craft techniques.  The workshops include green woodworking skills to produce stools, chairs, spoons, bowls, timber framing and yurt-building, with hand tools and timber sustainably grown and managed in the surrounding wood .  His previous career as a cabinet maker using hardwoods, paved the way, but now he enjoys the freeform, traditional methods using “green” (unseasoned) wood to produce strong, graceful and functional furniture following the natural shape of the wood itself.  Steam bending techniques and shrinkage of the green timber strengthen the joints and Elm bark is used for the seating.  

The offcuts and shavings help cook the supper. The outside kitchen has an earth oven for baking and a fire of hot coals (coal is produced on site) over which kettles and pots are heated. A large table is shared for eating and socialising 

Every year two apprentices live on site in hand-built yurts in order to learn woodland management. This year, Amy and Fiona were the novices learning under Tim’s guidance. Having only been there for a few months, both were already highly knowledgable about their surroundings and adept at using the shave horses and hand tools

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Apprentices and course attendees practise woodland craft at the Cherry Wood Project near Bath, UK

Course attendees learn how to build a yurt, at the Cherry Wood Project, near Bath, UK

Apprentices stay on site in the hand-built yurts and learn woodland management skills. Top left is a house made of cob with a grass roof, and middle bottom is the toilet

course attendees stay on site at the Cherry Wood project.  Shave horses (top) and hand-made wooden bowl