Turning Ash trees into positivity with Sylva Foundation

Published : Wed 10th Aug

The National Trust has teamed up with students of environmental charity the Sylva Foundation to turn trees lost to Ash dieback into a range of hand-crafted stools.

Ash dieback is a widespread fungal disease that has had a dramatic impact on the UK's native ash. It causes trees to slowly die and drop limbs, and those trees which pose a risk to the public must be felled. Wood from this process has been turned into a collection of bespoke stools, in three different designs, each made from Grown in Britain certified ash from the Ebworth Estate in Gloucestershire.

The Ebworth Estate was given to the Trust, by John Workman, who was considered as one of the most influential foresters of his generation. Part of the estate is dedicated to the education, learning, and development of rural skills and works in partnership with other organisations, such as Sylva Foundation.

For the furniture making students at Sylva Foundation's Wood School, working on this commission allows them to gain real business experience, as the stools will be sold through the Trust's online shop.

Head of Trees and Woodland, John Deakin commented on the collaboration “I'm so pleased we've been able to work with Sylva Foundation and turn the sad loss of our trees into something so positive. This is a great example of how we can manage our woodlands in a positive way, if and when the worst happens. Ash dieback is one of the biggest threats to our native woodlands in the UK with ash making up nearly 40% of composition.

STORY 2 - 2nd image - 1624413 ©National Trust Images, Arnhel de Serra.jpg

“As a conservation charity, we are so reliant on the skills of experts, some of whom are incredibly rare in their field, so by helping Sylva Foundation – both in terms of materials and business training – we are contributing to the future of skilled craftspeople.

“I hope that we can work with the foundation in future years and continue to offer these development opportunities, as well as find practical uses for the resources we have in abundance.”

Sylva Foundation CEO, Dr Gabriel Hemery, said “The collaboration with the National Trust has been a wonderful opportunity for the charity and a brilliant live project for students at the Sylva Wood School. Our students have learnt a huge amount about working with ash and how to deliver high-quality products to meet with a commercial deadline.”

The stools will be available exclusively through the National Trust online shop for £175.

STORY 2 - 3rd image - Stool.jpg