The Forest Fellas Project

Most of us know about Men In Sheds, well this is Fellas in the Forest.

Whilst we dislike gender separation as a general principle, we do make some exceptions, especially to encourage more men to focus on their mental health.

This project is aimed at bringing men of all ages (including young men) together to undertake woodland work and activities that strengthen the body and the mind. All of it ‘old school’: greenwood working, bodging, felling the odd tree, whittling, chopping wood, drinking strong coffee around the campfire, comparing check shirts! All the things to bring out your inner lumberjack. Currently we run two tailored sessions (below) with more in the being planned at sawmill central.

Drop us a line if you are interested in joining in – either as a participant, a host woodland or as a sponsor.

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Chop Therapy

Using an axe demands attention. You get direct and immediate feedback from your actions with each and every swing of the axe. It not only requires real focus but its quite challenging too. You might think that the task is quite simple, its just swinging an axe after all. But it takes scores of micro adjustments and choices, on the fly, to get the right split, safely and with less effort. Its not just swinging your arms, its moving your whole body. It also moves your whole mind.

We invite you to join us in the forest, around a campfire with bottomless coffee and tea and engage in the art of wood chopping. We provide a high level of safety training along with expert tuition on wood types, splitting techniques, use of splitting axes or mauls and chopping blocks. It might make you a better lumberjack, however the aim is to equip you with one of the best activities to help step out from the troubles and worries of your hectic life and re-centre yourself. Please take a look at this blog entry if you are in any doubt about the mindful benefits of chopping wood!

Chop Therapy sessions every month from April until November. Dartmoor and Haldon, Exeter.

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Whittling in the Woods

We undertake many mindfulness activities in the woods. We are especially interested in what we call double-loop activities – those which mutually re-inforce each other. By this we mean activities that reconnect ourselves with nature at the same time as reconnecting ourselves with ‘self’. This could also mean that a particular activity works on several different levels but are connected in some way. This is one of the distinct qualities of our work

In these sessions we carve items from wood. This is a mindfulness exercise that is based on ‘flow‘. This intense activity is not only a practical skill, it has a mental, spiritual, environmental and even cultural context. It connects carvers on many levels to themselves and to nature. It is also intensely rewarding.

Here, the point is not to make anything of great accomplishment – although you are welcome to – it is the act of ‘being’ whilst carving. If you leave the session with a serenity and just a pile of wood shavings at your feet then this will be fantastic.

We host these sessions deep in the forest, surround by trees, with a campfire serving endless tea and coffee.

If you want to know more about mindful whittling then click here

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(nb. We respect gender equality. If you are a woman and would like to do any of the activities above please drop us a line)