Greenwood Courses at Clissett Wood

Cleaving, using the froe

Green Woodwork Introduction

An ideal taster for beginners to become familiar with the basic tools and techniques of green woodwork. Starting from the freshly felled tree you will learn to cleave the wood with axes and wedges, and shape it further with drawknives before turning it on the pole-lathe. You will also learn what to look for when buying tools, how to sharpen them, what woods are best to use, and more. Expect to leave with a stool or several turned items such as candlesticks, spoons, tool-handles, baby-rattles or a project of your choice.Courses are 2 1/2 days.


Make & Use Green Woodwork Equipment

A shave horse and/or pole lathe can be made as part of any of the courses listed on the calendar.

There is a materials charge for a pole lathe in ash, oak and elm, and for a shavehorse in ash with ash or poplar seat.

Spoon Carving (2 days)

Tutor; Ben Orford

This course is suitable for complete novices and people with some experience who wish to hone their carving and whittling skills.
Over the two days Ben will teach you the satisfying craft of spoon carving using only a small handful of tools. You will learn the merits of various different types of green wood and their individual suitability for carving. You will learn how to utilise an axe to rough out the shape of a spoon from a split piece of green timber, before mastering various safe knife grasps to produce individual spoons, whether large 'stirrers' or small 'eaters'.
At the end of the course you should feel confident to carve further spoon projects at home.

Bowl Lathe Making and Bowl Turning (5 days)

Tutor; Ben Orford

This five day course provides an opportunity to learn bowl turning skills. Tutor Ben Orford will share his specialist knowledge of bowl turning and tool making, starting with the construction of a Viking style lathe. You have the opportunity to build your own bowl lathe using sawn and cleft timber and Ben's hand forged hard ware. For the remaining days you will learn the range of skills involved in bowl and platter turning under Ben's expert tuition.

There is a materials charge for the pole lathe and for the specialist metal work.

Ben Orford completed a three year coppicing, green woodwork and chair making apprenticeship with us in Clissett Wood in 1999. He soon added bowl turning and tool making to his impressive portfolio and has since built an enviable reputation as a highly accomplished bowl turner, tool maker and teacher.


Using the side axe



Spoon carving


Bowl turning

Using the drawknife on the shave-horse

Development Week at Clissett Wood

During the annual Development Week, now in its eighteenth year, we will wake the workshop up from its winter sleep. This year we will redesign and rebuild the kitchen structure. We will build new seating and storage for the kitchen and improve the cooking and washing facilities, including a new sink near to the cooking fire for food preparation.

Shiela Wynter will lead the sculptural willow weaving for screens and walkways and we will upgrade several greenwood huts.

The week will involve some hard work, possibly in the cold and wet, but should prove a fascinating experience and there will be plenty of fun and good company.

Co tutored by Doug Joiner.

The fee covers the cost of all food and camping is free.


Volunteer Work Placements

There may be opportunities for selected skilled volunteers to assist on courses or contribute their cooking skills throughout the season.

There are no payments but food and camping is free. Volunteers often stay for the whole season because it is such a superb opportunity to develop their green wood and teaching skills to a high standard

To apply please send a letter of application with a brief CV to Gudrun at the contacts below.

Possible volunteers will be asked to attend the Development Week in April as part of the selection process.

Turning on a pole-lathe

to contact Gudrun:

by email:
by phone or fax: 01531 640 125
or by post: Gudrun Leitz, Hill Farm, Stanley Hill, Bosbury, LEDBURY, Herefordshire, HR8 1HE