NCFed Gathering and AGM 2017

Hosted by The Avon and South Cotswold Coppice Group

Date & Venue

‘weather warning – the forecast is for strong winds on the Saturday which may affect our ability to operate in the woods’

Ruskin Mill, Nailsworth, Glos., 21st and 22nd October 2017.  Try ‘GL6 0QE’ on Googlemaps for the approximate location of the site.

Ruskin Mill College is part of an Educational Trust ( with several venues around the country. Here, on this extensive south Cotswolds site near Nailsworth, they cater for learners with complex needs. Students grow (and sell; there is an organic Farm Shop) their own biodynamic produce and also run a biodynamic fish farm. The craft curriculum includes weaving and felting (reflecting the wool heritage of the area), greenwoodwork and basketry and metal working (with an iron age forge).

There is a range of historic buildings as well as interesting new ones and several areas of (steep-sided) woodland to compliment the agricultural land (please note: because of the livestock on site, dogs will not be permitted).



Friday 20th

Arrivals – not before 5pm, please. Because this is an educational establishment there may be teaching activities going on until then. Early birds may be co-opted into helping with setting-up!

Please note: as this is a working farm with livestock, you’ll not be able to bring dogs.

Saturday 21st

A packed program featuring a number of hands-on and interactive sessions including: re-tanging and handling billhookswith Bernard Graves and others; coppicing with an axeSimon Fowler;  scything in woodland situations – Mark Allery.

There will be tours around the site and to the neighbouring Lower Woods (700 acres including some 40 of coppice and the venue for a proposed link-up between the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the local coppice group, the ASCCG).

Sales of second-hand tools (courtesy of TFSR Cymru) and a bring/buy/and sell table for participants tools.

A demonstration of the Hookway retort kiln, a home-made retort kiln and a small ring-kiln. 

*STOP PRESS* – the hoped for Exeter retort kiln isn’t going to make it.

Gary Alexander from Beech Tree Insurance should be leading a Q and A session on the Insurance Scheme sometime on Saturday afternoon and there will be several other discussion groups.

The evening talk will be on the History, Manufacture and Use of Billhooks from Bob Burgess, host of the website ‘A load of old billhooks’ ( and will be preceded by the formal AGM (around 45 minutes).

Sunday 22nd

Discussion Groups on NCFed chosen topics (including Affordable Housing, Grown in Britain, Expanding Beanpole Week) and continuing some of the craft demonstrations from Saturday, but with the addition of tree felling with axe and crosscut saw – the Ruskin Mill Crew and a hazel layering tutorial with Brian Williamson.

Departure after lunch time. For those heading southwards (and others. of course) there is a visit to the Cherry Wood Project (, near Bath.

More details to follow.


Members of Affiliated Groups – £35. Non-members – £50. Coppice Apprentices – £28 (20% off) – note: you must still be a NCFed member to be eligible.


There is plenty of camping space available. Limited space is available for camper vans and this will be allocated on a first come first served basis. You will need to book your camper van slot on the booking form below.

Food & Refreshments

All meals (apart from on Friday) are included in the price of the event.

Friday evening…..BBQ area and fire-pit for our use – please bring your own food but bbq’s   and charcoal will be provided.                The bar will be open on Friday evening as well as on Saturday.


Breakfast foods will be supplied (bread , butter, marmalade, cereals etc). Lunch will be soup and sandwiches. Fully catered, sit-down evening meal (with veggie/vegan option). Bar of local beers and cider – you’ll have to pay for this as you go along so bring some cash.


Again, breakfast foods will be provided (as above) and there will be a soup/sandwiches lunch.

Tea, coffee, water… will be constantly available. We’re going to ask you to bring your own crockery/cutlery to keep our logistics as simple as possible – and there’ll be a 50p ‘swear’ box for anyone eating off plastic!


  • Please complete the form below and then press the ‘submit’ button at the bottom.
  • You’ll have to both submit a form (and pay) for each individual separately. Sorry about that.
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  • If you would rather pay by cheque or BACS , details will be sent to you once you’ve submitted the form

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