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View Full Version : Volunteers Invited 19th 20th & 21st April



Hill40rt
24-03-2013, 01:12 PM
I drove up to Medomsley, near Consett a few weeks ago to meet up with a lad called Gary Macklin and take a look at the woodland He's been renovating for the last three years, about 40 acres or so, only a ten minute drive from my place, yet I had no idea he or it existed!:ashamed:

The wood was last "worked" more than 30 years ago, not a long time but enough to allow plenty of strong young birch, ash, beech,hazel, alder and a mix of conifers to settle down again and create a stunning little bit of "other world" tranquility. Just far enough off the beaten track to not have numerous bike trails, litter or signs of vandalism but close enough to be accessible to invited guests.

At the moment, Gary harvests top grade broadleaf firewood, seasons it for two years, then sells it, but He's wanting to diversify and get into more craft based activities, like charcoal production, green woodworking,hazel coppicing,hurdle making and potentially, wild camping provision and some basic bushcraft events.

At the moment, the wood looks a bit bleak, damp and skeletal, like all woodlands but come the spring, it'll take off.

This is his current base for operations, typical of small woodland enterprises, with the ruts and mud etc but that's a good sized log cabin he built himself, under the blue tarps!;)
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/cowclose wood/P2220023-Copy_zpsb8270881.jpg
Obviously needs a bit of work with a bit of clay and a turf roof but loads of potential there.

The wood is located in a small valley, with a lovely little stream running through it.
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/cowclose wood/P2220026-Copy_zpsd19c9824.jpg

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/cowclose wood/P2220031_zpsbaa7c746.jpg
It's been planted in the past but I'd say there's more broadleaf than conifer.

The tracks are in very good nick and you can get around very easily and if needed quite quickly
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/cowclose wood/P2220028-Copy_zpsce8f1668.jpg

The wildlife is quite prolific too, in 20 mins, we saw two deer within about 30m of us, loads of birds including Jays, tree creepers, a load of "spuggies" ( generic Geordie term for assorted small brown birds:o) and of course the Derwent Valley Red Kites, soaring overhead.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3170070_zpsd76092a7.jpg

The tracks take you around a bit of a circuit, a little bit of up and a little bit of down,
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/cowclose wood/P2220025_zpsa401586e.jpg


with loads of potential for bivvys and basha's, as well as open fires too.
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/cowclose wood/P2220029-Copy_zpsedfc482f.jpg
certainly plenty of good hammocking sites.
not to mention tents
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/cowclose wood/P2220037-Copy_zpscfa5eef8.jpg

There are some grand old tree's in there as well, this beech is bigger than anything in my 'other' local woodland, Chopwell Wood and according to the "Friends of Chopwell Wood" their "huge beech tree's" are one of their "main interest points":rolleyes:
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/cowclose wood/P2220039_zps9f4cd40d.jpg
The photo, as ever with my photography, doesn't do this grand old tree any favours, as I missed the base of it:o But take it from me, it's massive!


Gary at one of the current worksites ( shxxe photo!:()
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/cowclose wood/P2220036_zps113265b4.jpg

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/cowclose wood/P2220042_zpsafa4b435.jpg

The potential for a top class, "go as you please" 'wild' camp site alone is excellent. With a possibility of "drive in and camp" for anyone with a decent 4x4

So anyway, the upshot is that Gary is looking for a squad of volunteers, to go along and spend a weekend camping and carrying out various tasks, from drain clearance, to brash stacking and even some wattle/hurdle fencing around the "reception" area ( Well okay, the area just inside the gate!) In return for your labour, you get to wild camp, light fires, wander freely, wild life watch, gather useful raw materials, practice what ever bushcraft skills you fancy, apart from those involving trapping or anything otherwise intended to harm the wildlife. Strictly no guns of any description or archery equipment, cross bows etc.

It's self catering, though there is a 45 gallon drum pizza oven for anyone fancying a go at "F.O.B." baking!

The track in, is rough, wet and muddy and a mile from the nearest road, okay in a proper 4x4 but otherwise difficult/impossible at the moment. I'll keep posting updates but again, if you need more info, contact Gary direct.

I'm not organising this, simply giving a heads up, if you want to go along, you need to contact Gary direct via his facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/CowcloseWood/info

I'll be there and as well as mucking in, I'll also possibly be running some very basic skills sessions, assuming anyone is interested:ashamed:

Ultimately, this will be a commercial wild camp/bushcraft site, among other things but at the moment, there's far too much to do for one person to get it off the ground. I've no financial connections with this at all either, I'm just trying to help the lad get what I think, could be a superb asset for wild campers/bushcrafters etc, off the ground.


Hope some of you can get along for the weekend or even just a day, there should be plenty going on:camping::campfire:


cheers

Steve

ADz
24-03-2013, 01:41 PM
Would have really loved to have helped out on this project but got the Northern meet on 27th plus would have cost about 70 in travel on train. I'll have a look into bus/coach see if I can get price down and may give this a go. :)

butchthedog
24-03-2013, 03:15 PM
About ten miles away from me, wish I was in better health.

Hill40rt
25-03-2013, 08:10 AM
I'm off back up there this morning to meet with Gary again and try and get some more definite information, ref; vehicle access, tasks, and general progress.

Sorry to hear you're not in the best of form Butch,I know what it's like to be out of action for long periods, I usually end up "chewing the furniture" as it were. Maybe next time though?

updates later

cheers

Steve

Chubbs
25-03-2013, 09:31 AM
What a great opportunity for forum members this is. I wish I was closer enough to be able to make a difference, but sadly live not that far away from Lands End !!. There are a few bushcraft forums on the net so why not put a few feelers out and see if there is any interest from others that live in the area.

I hope this works out for you all and we are kept updated on the progress that is being made.

All the best on this great project.

Neil

biker-bri
25-03-2013, 11:14 AM
A 200 mile trip for me but I would like to be involved - would there be other weekends or just this one.
Cheers Bri

rawfish111
25-03-2013, 01:34 PM
What a great opportunity for forum members this is. I wish I was closer enough to be able to make a difference, but sadly live not that far away from Lands End !!. There are a few bushcraft forums on the net so why not put a few feelers out and see if there is any interest from others that live in the area.

I hope this works out for you all and we are kept updated on the progress that is being made.

All the best on this great project.

Neil

+1

EJS
25-03-2013, 02:51 PM
very tempting...is other side of galaxy fo rme but will have a look at FB page and keep an eye here for updates. may well give this a go...thanks

Hill40rt
25-03-2013, 03:25 PM
Well as promised, here's a bit of an update:

The plan will be for anyone driving a 4x4 to park in the wood if they choose to, it'll be up to you but Gary will be offering a ferry service with his Four Track & trailer, from the main road at Medomsley, where there is a mix of off road and sideroad parking, not ideal, but adequate I guess.

As for the tasks he's got planned; well the "reception area" still needs a good tidy up;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRGCylgvwFA&list=UURdd L3mkjOvJ3tAtVHpW-XQ&index=1
Don't be disheartened by the look of this bit!, the rest of the wood is mostly pristine, with some really fantastic bivvy, tent and hammock/tarp opportunities.

And the log hut could do with the roof re-doing and the walls chinked with clay, though that may well be a job for warmer weather!:rolleyes:
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3260066_zpscbb1175e.jpghttp://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3260056_zpsad31adbc.jpg
but he's thinking about building some brash screens for a toilet area somewhere near the hut. He's a dab hand at open fire grilling, this is probably the smallest fire I've seen in a barrel, to turn out such well cooked results! Oh and he uses that "rambo" thing for any and every thing! very much a multi tool;)

Tidying up a few of the potential pitches around the wood, basically just clearing dead wood and piling it up as fire wood stacks, leaving the ground clear for tents or whatever.
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3260045_zps1fc7ce9f.jpghttp://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3260060_zps8c0a75c1.jpg
Maybe some trail breaking, just nosing about, clearing a path or two through the tree's and bushes.
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3260044_zps796d7baa.jpghttp://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3260062_zps2c5df3b6.jpghttp://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3260034_zpsf66d3607.jpghttp://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3260048_zps1779afc9.jpg
I think it's going to be very dependent on how many folk show up, as to what gets done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVPz35FmspI&list=UURddL3mkjOvJ3tAtVHpW-XQ&index=2
He's in doing this sort of thing, most days.
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3260014_zps21c04038.jpghttp://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x125/stalch/P3260067_zpsdd07efe6.jpg One man and his dog


Once again, contact him directly via the link posted earlier in this thread, the mobile is probably your best initial bet.

cheers

Steve

Hill40rt
25-03-2013, 03:44 PM
A 200 mile trip for me but I would like to be involved - would there be other weekends or just this one.
Cheers Bri

We were just talking about this, this morning and he's already talking about some sort of regular volunteer type events.

It'll obviously depend on the response he gets from this first go but all I'd say to folk thinking about traveling a fair way, is: How near is your closest, real wild woodland, that you can legally camp, light fires on the ground( not in fire-pits, rings or barrels etc), collect raw materials etc?

It might be worth noting, that apparently, Gary had a "wild camper" who went along and decided it was "too wild":confused: :camping::campfire:

Mind you he did try to drive a Fiesta down the track, so this may be the deciding factor that made it a bit too wild:rolleyes:

Basically, this isn't centerparks or any other sort of beautifully laid out caravan club site, it's a wild woodland, with a muddy track for access;)

best wishes

Steve

Kernowek Scouser
25-03-2013, 03:44 PM
What a great opportunity for forum members this is. I wish I was closer enough to be able to make a difference, but sadly live not that far away from Lands End !!. There are a few bushcraft forums on the net so why not put a few feelers out and see if there is any interest from others that live in the area.

I hope this works out for you all and we are kept updated on the progress that is being made.

All the best on this great project.

Neil
+2 but I live even nearer to Land's End than Neil does, so it is a little far me to walk to, with my bad knee.

Great little enterprise, I have no problems with doing a bit of graft for a free camp in return and if I was nearer, I'd definitely put my name down for this (then probably have to pull out at the last minute, as life keeps getting in the way of fun at the moment). I am going to be up in Yorkshire for a Uni reunion later in the year, so if this graft / camp arrangement is one that is likely to be ongoing, I could be tempted to push on a little further to Geordiland and check this place out (would probably be best to visit before the reunion, as I'll likely be suffering at least a two day hangover after it).

Cheers for the info Steve.
T^

Silverback
25-03-2013, 04:03 PM
Sadly cant make this one, got the Northern Soul Meet the week after and I've just come back from a weekend in North Wales

Hill40rt
03-04-2013, 01:53 PM
still plenty of spaces available for this, just contact gary direct.

cheers

Steve

owen
03-04-2013, 05:57 PM
Very tempting, but busy on 21st. would go on other days if could get car load to spread the expense.

Yungen of Bury
03-04-2013, 07:47 PM
im interested, very interested but its about 160 miles for me... (2h40m) and my misses just dropped a financial bomb shell on me, so gimme a couple of weeks to see how the land lies...

Hill40rt
04-04-2013, 09:22 PM
Anyone interested in volunteering for future events ( should there be any of course) would be best advised just to contact Gary direct. He's got a shed full of idea's and potential to run a whole range of stuff, it just depends on response from interested folk.

best wishes

Steve

Hill40rt
14-04-2013, 03:07 PM
Just a final bump for this one, hope to see one or twp folk off here at the weekend.

cheers

Steve

new bear
18-04-2013, 11:53 PM
Hi mate im a builder out of work in New to bushcraft an wild camping but I'm a fast learner an hands on if need any help I would love to come up if want help you will have to show me what to do but I'm up for it

Hill40rt
23-04-2013, 03:16 PM
Pm Sent ref contacting Gary direct

Steve