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Gravenhurst lies equidistant between Bedford and Luton. It's a parish on the edge of 
Bedfordshire's bit of the Greensand Ridge. From its hill-top location there are lovely views to the south towards Shillington and beyond to the last vestiges of the Chiltern Hills - Pegsdon Hill, Telegraph Hill, Noon Hill, Sharpenhoe Clappers.

It's a quiet village, hidden away and not really on the way to anywhere, although surprisingly close to Luton, Biggleswade and Bedford. Good walking on public rights of way make it a lovely spot to take in a ramble through Bedfordshire's middle bits. Read on to find out more.
the view from Wassledine [image thanks to Barry Halton/CPRE]


Training courses
Here at Wassledine we run whole day training sessions in crafts and outdoor education. Make a plant support for your garden, a simple basket, a willow ball, learn to tell a tale, carve a spoon...
Courses take place outside on the farm, in the willow field, in the woods or in the shelter of the barn. Equally we often travel to run courses for other groups, so if you'd like one of your own do let us know.
If you would like to book a place on one of our courses at Wassledine or arrange a training day at your own venue please contact us; 01462 711815 
email
make an obelisk training day (image thanks to C doherty)


Storytelling in the woods - Saturday 26 September


storytelling in the woods on Sunday 7 June 2015
Storytelling in the woods - Saturday 26 September 2015, 10am-4pm

This course is particularly aimed at people involved in helping children discover their local wildlife.It is also suitable for anyone who works with children in an outdoor setting and/or would like to take the first steps to telling a story themselves.

A sense of wonder needs to be part of every wildlife discovery session. The natural world provides countless amazing and wonderful factual and scientific stories but there’s room for imagination too. Part of the process of wanting to find out more about the natural world is making an emotional connection to the environment you’re in.  How we tell wild tales and introduce children to the natural world makes a big difference. Imaginative ways of looking at the natural world can engage a wider audience.  Storytelling is one way of doing this.

A storyteller tells a tale rather than reading from a book, giving them more engagement with their audience and flexibility to respond to the environment around them and the reactions of their listeners. Storytelling enables listeners to form their own pictures in their minds and so can open imaginations, encourage children to discover and relate to their local wild spaces. Stories can be great fun; everyone likes a good story – adults too. However, you don’t have to be an experienced storyteller to begin using stories within your activities. This course aims to develop confidence in using stories and gives participants the opportunity to take the first step to telling a tale themselves. 

Course tutor:  Jane Lambourne, Wassledine Storytelling
Jane has been telling stories for over 15 years. She has a wide range of experience that combines storytelling and environmental education with countryside management and farming. In the past Jane has been in employment with The Wildlife Trust, English Nature and Bedfordshire County Council. Jane has worked as a freelance storyteller for several years working on school projects and at countryside events; telling stories and leading activities for nature reserves, museums, parks, libraries and community groups.

Recent clients have included The Greensand Trust, Central Bedfordshire Council, The Royal Horticultural Society, The Forest of Marston Vale Trust and The Wildlife Trust.

For more information about Jane's storytelling work click here 

Course venue:
The course will take place outside in Bottoms Corner Wood, part of the Wassledine farm, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire.

It’s a beautiful setting but please be aware the facilities are quite basic. There is off road parking along a surfaced but bumpy track. It’s then a short walk along rough uneven ground to the venue in the woods. The toilet facilities are outside (a composting tree bog) with camping style hand wash.

Cost £65 to include tea, coffee, cake and fruit. Bring your own packed lunch. To book or find out more please contact us on 01462 711815 or email
Jane Lambourne on storytelling in the woods Wassledine training day



Interactive storytelling with Jane, Storytelling in the woods, Wassledine course

Storytelling in the woods Saturday 26 September

Storytelling in the woods - Saturday 26 September

Ed Burnett teaching basket making on Wassledine course

basket making course Sunday 27 September
Basket making for beginners - Sunday 27 September

On this course you will have an introduction to working with willow and get to grips with making your own round basket to take home. Participants with some experience will be able to try some different techniques.

The course also provides the opportunity to spend a relaxing day in the beautiful and peaceful setting of Bottoms Corner Wood. Plenty of tea and coffee with homemade cake is on offer throughout the day.

Course tutor:
The course will be led by local craftsman Ed Burnett.
Ed is a self-taught green woodworker and basketmaker. He reckons his first baskets were dreadful so he'll be able to help you avoid all his mistakes! He enjoys making functional, beautiful things and knowing about where the materials come from.

Course venue:
The course will take place outside in Bottoms Corner Wood, part of the Wassledine farm, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire.

It’s a beautiful setting but please be aware the facilities are quite basic. There is off road parking along a surfaced but bumpy track. It’s then a short walk along rough uneven ground to the venue in the woods. The toilet facilities are outside (a composting tree bog) with camping style hand wash.

Cost
£70 to include all materials, tea, coffee, cake and fruit. Bring your own packed lunch.
To book or find out more please contact us on 01462 711815 or email
Relax with a basket course at Wassledine

Finished baskets and happy makers at the end of a Wassledine basket making course

Join a basket making training day on Sunday 27 September

An Introduction to spoon carving

9.30am-5pm Saturday 10 October

A day for complete beginners, the course will teach you the basic knife skills required to carve your very first wooden spoon. Participants should leave with a wooden cooking spoon.

The course also provides the opportunity to spend a relaxing day in the beautiful and peaceful setting of Bottoms Corner Wood. Plenty of tea and coffee with homemade cake will be on offer throughout the day.

Course tutor: 
The course will be led by Martin Hazell green woodworker, spoon carver and creator of weird and wonderful things. A good friend of Wassledine and one time resident of Gravenhurst, Martin started buying willow from us over 10 years ago and supplied us with baskets when we had a stall at local farmers' markets. Martin has recently been nomadic, appearing at woodworking and spoon carving events around the country.  We are delighted to welcome him back.

Course venue:
The course will take place outside in Bottoms Corner Wood, part of the Wassledine farm, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire.

What to bring:

  • Packed lunch (We’ll provide tea, coffee, drinks, biscuits, fruit and homemade cake) 
  • Suitable outdoor clothes, boots, waterproofs or sunhat(remember we will be outside all day)
  • All tools will be provided

Booking & Payment:
The cost of the course is £65 per person.  

To book or find out more please contact us on 01462 711815 or email

spoon carving with Wassledine Saturday 10 October

spoon carving with Wassledine, Saturday 10 October

spoon carving with Wassledine - Saturday 10 October

Find out how to make a ball from willow on Sunday 22 March 2015 Make a willow ball - next date to be confirmed (please contact us if you are interested)
We've been making willow balls for several years and they always prove popular,especially with gardeners who buy them to use as a focal point, perhaps to train plants through or even to hang from trees.
After repeated requests, we ran our first training day last autumn. It went so well that we thought we'd try it again. Here's a chance for you to have a go.
You'll make a ball of about 12-18 inches diameter, entirely from some of our finest willow. There's no wire, string or anything else involved. You'll need a fair amount of persistence though!

Held on site, most likely in the barn, depending on the weather.
You'll need to bring a sharp knife, secateurs (we have some spares if you don't your own pair), warm clothes and some lunch.


Cost
£65 to include all materials, tea, coffee, cake and fruit.
To book or find out more please contact us on 01462 711815 or email
Find out how to make a willow ball with Wassledine on Sunday 22 March 2015

Join a course and learn how to make a willow obelisk Make a plant willow support - Next date likely to be April 2016
Please contact us for details
A day session to learn how to make a simple obelisk shaped support for your garden from willow.

We make lots of obelisks or pyramidal plant supports from willow each year. They are great for growing sweet peas or any other climbing plant and are relatively easy to make. In the day, you will create something to take away and use in your own garden. We’ll also spend a little time talking about willow – choosing, sorting and selecting.
Held on site, outside on the farm in Gravenhurst, in the woods or in the barn, depending on the weather.

To find out more please contact us on 01462 711815 or email

Learn to make a willow obelisk to support your sweet peas with Wassledine, Sunday 19 April

Withie Workshop (to be confirmed)

This new course will give you the chance to make a few simple things from willow ranging from wands to bird feeders and gain ideas for running activity sessions yourselves. Jane’s been making willow crafts with children and adults for many years; she’ll be sharing ideas and providing tips on how to make a variety of willow creations: flowers, fish, webs, whirls, stars, wreaths, lanterns...

Suitable for Forest School or Wildlife Watch Leaders, Cub Scout or Brownie Leaders or anyone who simply enjoys making things from natural materials.

Cost £65 to include all materials, tea, coffee, cake and fruit. Bring your own packed lunch. To book or find out more please contact us on 01462 711815 or email

learning to make willow whils and wands on a Wassledine training course

Come for a walk
Much of our small farm is accessible all the time, either on public footpaths or through permissive access that forms part of our Countryside Stewardship Scheme.
The farm also lies on a promoted walk that passes through Silsoe and Shillington - details at www.letsgo.org.uk so if you just fancy a walk, why not take a look?


Find out more

Lots of locals enjoy walking around our fields every day of the week. People are interested in the cattle and the willow and regularly ask about what we do and how it affects the countryside and the wildlife that lives here; we can often be found chatting – it’s a friendly kind of place. If you’d like to find out more about the farm; what we do, how we do it and why (and a whole load more besides), we would be delighted to show you around. Read on for details.
Jane leading a guided walk


Group Visits

Let us introduce you to the cattle, visit our willow beds, find out about wildlife on the farm and hear about the day to day issues we are dealing with at the moment. Here’s a chance to get a little closer to the land, ask anything you wish about what we do and enjoy this beautiful bit of Bedfordshire. Visits can be tailored to your group and could include storytelling, willow weaving or a “farm detectives” activity. We can provide refreshments or you are welcome to bring your own picnic.

Terrain: unsurfaced, undulating grass with some slopes of up to 1:10. No stiles or other similar barriers.

Charges:
Small group (20 people or less): £50 total
Large Group (over 20 people) £2.50 per person

Charges are for a general guided walk lasting between 1.5 and 2.5 hours. Please note additional charges may apply and there may be a restriction on group size depending on the activity you wish to do.

Refreshments:
If you would like us to provide refreshments please choose form the following options:
Squash and biscuits: add 50p per person
Hot drink and homemade cake:  add £2 per person

If you'd like to book a group visit please call Jane and Guy 01462 711815 or email 

Listening to farmland birds, playing sound moose on a group visit to Wassledine

Wildlife Watch Group meet the cows

Woodland Visits

Bottoms Corner Wood is on a secluded part of the farm with no public access. We can offer guided activities - den building, campfire stories, games and crafts or you can hire the woods to run your own activity session.  The perfect location for youth groups, Guides and Scouts.

If you'd like to bring your group to Bottoms Corner please speak to Jane and Guy 01462 711815  or email

Rainbow Guides visit Bottoms Corner wood

Talks
We are very happy to come to your group's meeting and provide a talk of perhaps 40 minutes to an hour. Currently we offer two standard talks -
'Wassledine's farming year' - a season by season account of what we do, how we do it and why; with the opportunity to get your hands on some willow if there's time.
'Storytelling' - the whys, hows and whens; a chance to hear some tales and perhaps even try some of your own.
We charge from around £50
fresh cut willow
t.   01462 711815
m. 07794 013876
e.  info(at)wassledine.co.uk
 
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Wassledine landscape [image Barry Halton/CPRE]
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