Find your yourself rambling up a leaf-blanketed woodland path in East Devon with the twigs snapping beneath your feet, the smell of moss and the sounds of bird song in the air, and you never know, you might find yourselves encountering the great work that’s being carried out locally by the Axewoods Co-operative volunteers.
Actually, you’re more likely the hear the sound of chainsaws, because as well as gleaning the benefits of being amongst nature and socialising with others, these volunteers also reap the physical and practical rewards of tree felling in a sustainable manner.
Axewoods Co-operative originally begun by offering their fully trained, insured equipped members to local landowners who were unable to afford the hire of contractors for land management, asking only that they got to keep the wood, which they processed into logs, in return.
"Our members benefit from social contact, regular exercise and enjoyment in the natural world, gain training and qualifications – plus obtaining logs for their own use."
The real headline of this story though is what the success of this great initiative has meant for other individuals in the community who have been gifted their surplus logs over the winter periods.
"Research shows that rural deprivation and fuel poverty can affect all levels and ages across a community – particularly the elderly. We have established the means of getting high quality wood fuel to those in need. People in need are referred to us by local agencies such as Citizens Advice, Age Concern, Action East Devon and local Food Banks. We then deliver logs or arrange 'open days' when people can come and help process logs and take away what they need. We have provided wood for over 100 people this winter and discovered a real need not addressed by other agencies."
We are proud to have been able to support Axewood Co-operative at Devon Community Foundation through our Rural Devon Fund. Our grants have helped towards the updating and obtaining of new equipment and the training and recruiting of new volunteers in both 2018 and 2019.
It’s not hard to see why the bright pink hi-vis one of our grants helped them purchase caught the eye of BBC’s Countryfile. Watch their report here and hear Wendy’s story, who says Axewood Co-operative “answered my prayers.”
To find out more about Axewoods Co-operative, visit their website here.
Read more stories here.