One Tree

felling tree with an axe

The Camp –  2018 (new dates soon)

Gloucestershire –  2 day wknd (inc camping) – £175 (Most of this money goes to hire the venue and to buy the tree)



The Camp

A journey into the art of Woodsmanship led by Adrian Leaman, who supervised the felling of the big oaks in Kevin McCloud’s Man Made Home on C4. Every year one tree is felled the old fashioned way by hand using axes. That tree is cleft into shingles and beams for our charitable building projects. What is left becomes firewood, nothing is wasted. Half the firewood is donated to charity and some remains for you.

“Immerse yourself in the woodland life and learn to fell a mature tree with axes and hand saws. It’s an exhilarating, humbling and primal experience.”

During the camp you will train in traditional tree felling techniques and then put these into practice. It will likely change the way you look at trees and timber forever – see the testimonials below. Suitable as continued professional development, for career/life-changers and for anyone who loves sharing time in the woods with like-minded folk. No previous experience required; suitable for participants aged 18+ – those aged 16-18 must be accompanied by an adult.



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felling tree with an axe

“Felling a tree using traditional hand tools with Adrian was a profound and inspiring experience, and I think that all the members of our group felt similarly about it.” Peter (2013)

felling a tree with an axe

“A wonderful and humbling experience. A once in a lifetime opportunity and one I will never forget. Thank you!” Chris (2015)

Day in the life of an Axeman.

I strode out this morning across field and lane carrying nowt but lunch box and axe. At the woods I joined my work fellows and we struck a fire first thing. Fairly soon wood chips where flying and the thud of axe strikes resounded through the woodland. The brutal reality of a razor sharp lump of sold steel on the end of a stick. Why is that so appealing?

felling a tree with an axe

There’s no escaping it, it’s a primal experience to pit your body weight and your sweat against the might of a huge tree towering above you. You huff and puff, grunt and curse but there is a timeless poetry in the arc of the axe as it swings through the air bighting deep into the timber. It’s a giddy sensation when that tree finally yields and starts to move. Who knows the modern world may never offer you this experience again. A humbling and exhilarating day and you’ll never look at trees the same way again.

So we took the life of this grand old tree. For many this may be of no consequence and for some it’s an emotional moment. Come the winter a trees wood will warm our house, it’s planks form the table we gather round to dine and it’s timbers hold the roof above our heads, so fall the tree must. In it’s dust saplings sprout and lovingly tended will sustain the woodland of tomorrow. This is the way of the woodsman. As the light started to receded I lifted my axe and ducked out of the wood to stroll home cross-country. Time maybe to explore a new route home, a perfect day from a time gone by.  (Adrian Leaman – course tutor 2016)

What happens to the tree?

Every year one mighty oak tree is felled by our apprentice woodsmen the old fashioned way, with an axe! This tree is cleft, riven and cut into the component parts for next years building projects by hand using axes, froes, mauls and wedges. Nothing is wasted. As much spare firewood as we can generate will go to local charities who promote outdoor learning.

If you would like to join us in the woods for this journey please get in touch by email.