Adrian Leaman – Biography


Roundwood Timber Framing

My career in Woodsmanship began in the jungles of Belize and the pine forests of the Rockies. Now settled amongst the temporate woodlands of southern Britain, I specialise in creating Roundwood Timber Frame buildings and in teaching others to do the same. The courses and training that I offer can be used for continued professional development, a career change or simply a chance to experience the Woodsman’s life for a while.


My path to the woods has been a meandering one. Having graduated in Three-Dimensional Design, I indulged in a life of Rock ‘n’ Roll for 5 years as a drummer in a very noisy band. Some years later I retired my drumsticks to spend 18 months working on ranches and outposts in North and Central America. My work as a jungle guide in Belize inspired me to return home and study the Woodsmanship skills of Britain.

Reciprocal Roof Roundhouse

Back in the U.K. I spent 6 years working part time with a film special effects company- Framestore – on movies such as Chicken Run, Mission Impossible and Sleepy Hollow. During those 6 years I became a course junky, devouring every woodland management and woodcrafts course I could get my hands on. In 2002, after many months in the woods helping Ben Law to build his Woodland House, I was inspired to pursue my passion for woodlands, woodcrafts and community projects. Since 2002 I’ve been roundwood timber framing, particularly reciprocal roof roundhouse building, and sharing woodland and woodcraft skills, with people from all walks of life. I am a Forest School Leader and Permaculture designer working with adults and teenagers on grass roots projects and professionally with Universities, colleges and other educational organisations. I also volunteer as a mentor through the charity Journeyman UK charity and with the Art of Mentoring network SW.

A life with trees – a few evocative words.

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 – Wholewoods 2016)