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Bodgers revive Sherwood's rustic traditions

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Bodger Ian Major wood working in historic Sherwood Pines Forest Park

When Ian Major clocks off as a conservationist working in Sherwood Forest, he likes nothing better than to unwind by reaching for a lump of locally grown timber and re-learning the skills of the area’s once famous rustic craftspeople.

Wood turning and furniture making has been in his blood for two decades.

Now together with fellow craftsman and chairmaker, Bryan Eskriett, from Clipstone, he plans to share his love for wood by helping to stage a two-day rustic stool making workshop for beginners on 31 March in the Forestry Commission’s Sherwood Pines Forest Park, near Clipstone, Notts.

Together, Ian and Bryan dub themselves 'The Jolly Bodgers of Sherwood Forest' and stress-busting is how they describe their hobby. 

But for both it’s a pastime that also touches on a longer-term vision for ancient Sherwood Forest.

“I spend my working life protecting and encouraging people to cherish Sherwood, but trees are not just for looking at,”

said Ian. 

“We have a brilliant raw material and wood has been worked for thousands of years.  It would be great to see more local craftspeople using our timber.  Areas like Worksop and Ollerton were once famous chair making areas and the potential remains.  Sometimes we can’t see the wood for the trees and don’t realise timber is a fantastic resource, as well as providing us with a wonderful and historic landscape.”

The pair make chairs and stools and other household items, most of which they give away or use themselves.

“We'll be teaching people how to make a stool and spurring them to be creative with the design," he adds.  "Wood, shaving horse, draw knife and mallet, together with practical advice are all you need to get started.  There’s tremendous satisfaction in making something with your own hands and taking it away to use.”

Tools, materials and refreshments will be provided and lunch on Sunday will cooked over a camp fire.  You can also spend the night in the woods with tents and sleeping bag and enjoy breakfast cooked in wood-fired clay oven.

Booking is essential.  Contact Karina Thornton on 01623 821459, email  The cost is £85, or £110 if you stay the night.

Notes to Editor

  1. Historically, bodging, or wood turning, was the way household furniture and many other items were made.   Not only did Sherwood Forest provide a source of  food and shelter for people, it also supplied an important building material. The name ‘bodger’ is thought to be corruption of the word 'badger' as wood turners were often seen foraging in woods, albeit for timber rather bush food.

  2. Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive woodlands.  To find out more about the region’s woods log-on to

Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.