Thatching Spar Officer

The National Coppice Federation is keen to recruit a new voluntary ‘Thatching Spar Officer’ to promote the use of local thatching spars which obviously would benefit the domestic coppice industry. 

The National Society of Master Thatchers is also likewise keen to promote the use of domestic spars and have reported that some of the imports from Europe are currently commanding a price of £300/thousand! It is therefore crucial that NCFed has someone on board to champion the cause of UK produced thatching spars/liggers for the domestic market.

A full Role Description is attached and, if you’re interested in representing UK spar makers & gad producers, please email [email protected]

Job description below


We hereby give notice of an EGM (that is an Extraordiary General Meeting) that we intend to hold on Monday 4th December at The White Hart, Bouth. 17:30. We’ll provide some bar snacks.
The reason for this is to discuss the following:

**** Proposed Subs increase for 2024 ****

In update emails earlier in the year I mentioned that CANW has never increased its subs since it was established 25 years ago and that an increase was on the cards for next year. Whilst we love to offer a bargain, the reality is that our costs have increased massively while our income has remained roughly the same. Things we’ve always paid for have gone through the roof (e.g. insurance etc), and since everyone is squeezed nowadays it’s much harder for people to offer significant amounts of their time for free. We now have additional costs for some essential committee work and the production of the fantastic all-new CANW newsletter (another one is scheduled by the way). CANW also pays NCFed membership on behalf of all individual CANW members (this gives you access to the discount insurance deal and a voice as a woodland worker where it comes to national politics). NCFed’s cost per head has also increased.

Basically, if we don’t do something about this we’re going to run out of money!

At our committee meeting on 8th November we proposed to increase the annual fees as follows:

  • Single membership£25
  • Joint membership or Company/Organisation membership: £35
  • Consessionary membership: We propose to remove this as a category but offer that if you are unable to afford the normal fee please get in touch & we may come to an arrangement.

Our aim is to continue to promote coppicing and associated crafts, offer opportunities for learning & development, and bring together all those with an interest into a coordinated group so that we each have a channel for our say at a political level, whilst keeping abreast of changes.

In line with our constitution we are obliged to consult our members with regards to changes to the annual subscription rate. So here is the notice of the proposal, and if you have any strong feelings that you wish to share on this the EGM will give you the opportunity to voice them to the committee. If you are unable to attend the EGM please drop me a line ([email protected]) & I’ll feed your concerns into the meeting or answer any queries you may have.


Just a quick note to say a huge thanks to everyone who helped out at the NCFed gathering. A few of our members stepped up & helped us fit all the campervans in, get folk registered, sort out general calamities, & all sorts of behind-the -scenes stuff that made the event go really smoothly. You know who you are & we appreciate you.

Feedback on the event from attendees was very positive, with someone even suggesting it might have been the best one ever!!!

Job vacancy – National Coppice Federation Secretary

Closing date: Tuesday 14th November 2023, midnight

NCFed are currently seeking a Company Secretary to work closely with the NCFed Directors, to have oversight on the core functions of NCFed. There will be a focus on maintaining good record keeping and due diligence with regards to legal responsibilities.

The position is paid on a self-employed, part-time basis.

Expressions of interest should be sent to: [email protected]

Click here for the full job description:

Swallows and Earthburn!

A couple of pictures of the recent charcoal earthburn event organised by Brian Crawley and Dan Sumner at Glas Knott Wood, commemorating the filming of an earthburn in that exact location for the Swallows and Amazons film 50 years ago. We/they may do another one at some point. Watch this space…

Covering the stack of burning logs with turf.
Cooling of the spoils before bagging up.

In case you’re wondering what an earthburn is (and you’d be forgiven to wonder, especially as we don’t have many photos here to explain things!)… Basically, you pile up some logs, set fire to them, cover them in earth to cut out the oxygen, then let the wood gently cook overnight. The next day you have a pile of charcoal, perfect for cooking on! This method of making charcoal was still being used commercially into the last century. Brian has done great work over the years in re-learning the process, and passing on his knowledge to others.