My Day At Frithy Wood

05-03-2014

My venture to the launch of Frithy Wood was a nothing short of pleasurable experience, not only did I get to see some of the work I designed in it's working environment but I got to experience and take in some of the amazing sights and learn a lot more about the project itself, how it came about and what is still to come - it was a breath of fresh air, quite literally! Frithy Wood has been in use for many centuries. Early documentation refers to it as the "great" wood and was also described by some as "great antiquity". The wood was originally estimated at 42 acres and today it measures at 37 acres.

People that make a difference

Whilst listening to some of the people behind the project at the presentation, hearing the work that has gone into the wood as well as what's still going on, it's easy to see that it is a success in the making. One thing that really stood out to me was their involvement in helping the workers that contributed and participated in the production of Frithy Wood. They've had the chance to help youngsters in schools with their qualifications in various subjects like Practical Conservation, as well as girls and boys with learning difficulties and mental health issues. They also gave a boost to those who have got on the wrong side of the law, rehabilitating ex-offenders with work in the wood, giving them references for future jobs and helping them add to their CVs. It was excellent to see in these especially difficult times, giving encouragement to some of the people that need it most, assisting them in learning new skills and gaining knowledge in this particular area of preservation and maintenance.

Touchpoints that educate visitors

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Walking around the woods and trails and seeing all the different Heritage Touchpoints that take you around the woods was amazing. From the work that was happening all over, every detail seemed to have been taken into consideration, even down to the QR codes on the Touchpoints where on one of them you could download an .mp3 of birdsong, which would be relevant to that particular area at that particular time of year. Every technique used in the woodland had a heritage background. They even had a group from Bury St. Edmunds called 'Art Heads', who came in to Frithy Wood to create beautiful art with some of wood, which was added to the Touchpoint trail, making it visually more exciting and giving the woods a unique and quirky feel. It was fantastic. Much of the wildlife is assessed on the vegetation in the woodland, particularly deer, but other wildlife have even made appearances there, some more than others but it's always a good thing to hear. Muntjacs, fallow, road deer, foxes and even badgers have paid a visit to Frithy Wood. Bird Surveys are even being taken to monitor what birds come in and out of the woods, the results of which will be on their website very soon.

Real progress

Frithy Wood is making lots of progress, and is moving in a brilliant direction, not only for the wildlife and the conservation of the land itself but even for the people making it all happen. Everything from laying hedges, coppicing the area and the establishing of brambles is what it is all about - laying the foundations for better woodland for the future. Putting Frithy Wood "on the map" if you will. This is what will keep people coming back for the future and is what's making the people behind it who are pushing the project on, that much more motivated to keep doing what they're doing. It was amazing feeling to see some of the work I designed in their new home where they will stay for hopefully a very long time. Seeing the story behind the whole project also made it that little bit more worthwhile. My work had come to life and it was lovely to see and experience. All in all it was great afternoon; the work they're doing there is just incredible. I came away with a better understanding of just how important Frithy Wood is to the people, community and environment; oh and very, very muddy wellies!