We are a woodland group who carry out practical conservation and traditional forestry tasks at an 8 acre site within Longbeech Wood, part of the Kent Downs AONB. The site is managed primarily for nature conservation and the sustainable production of craft materials, which are used on site and made available to the wider community. We also promote and share traditional forest enterprise, practical conservation and nature-based craft skills through a range of activities, workshops and skill sharing events.
We meet regularly to undertake practical conservation tasks, wildlife surveys and seasonal woodland management. We also hold craft workshops and educational visits for interested groups and individuals. We don’t charge fees for workshops and activities- instead we ask people to contribute their some of their time during their visit to help us manage the site.
Since we established The Roots Project in 2014, many people have given their time and energy to tasks ranging from reptile surveys and digging ponds to coppicing and planting new hedgerows. We’ve welcomed students on work experience, youth groups, people wishing to learn specific skills and others who simply enjoy working outdoors and making a positive contribution to wildlife conservation.
In 2015 we’ve been focusing our efforts on developing a long term management plan for the site and have been undertaking comprehensive surveying of the site’s ecology and wildlife. Other recent practical activities include public tree planting events, creating a reptile hibernaculum, building compost bins, scrub management, making artists charcoal and rubbish clearance.
We’ve also been working to establish an area of edible woodland with the addition of fruit and nut trees and shrubs. This will provide food for both resident wildlife and our human visitors as well as providing a valuable learning resource for visiting groups. We’re working hard to regenerate our meadow and adjoining woods, which had been neglected for over 20 years.
Our aim is to maintain a mosaic of different habitats including herb and flower rich grasslands with areas of scrub and hedgerow providing connectivity to the surrounding woodland. It’s a slow process, as we undertake all work using traditional hand tools; but working in this fashion allows us to undertake tasks sustainably and with minimum disruption to wildlife. This method of working relies heavily on the efforts of our volunteers and visitors but is extremely rewarding both physically and mentally. There are always tasks to match different interests and abilities alongside the opportunity to explore and develop new skills whilst being fully immersed in nature.
We are committed to developing links with educational establishments, local businesses and community members and welcome enquiries from groups and individuals who would like to arrange a visit to the site. We offer volunteers of all ages the opportunity to work towards the John Muir Awards and can provide tailored sessions upon request.
We have a first aider and safeguarding officer in attendance during all pre-arranged visits and maintain appropriate insurance for all activities and events carried out on site. Please contact us if you would like to join us.