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From Royal Commission to Baby Bear at the National Forest Wood Fair

Thursday, 26th August 2010

Mike, who is based in Warwickshire and is a regular exhibitor at the National Forest Wood Fair, originally trained in Venice and has worked on Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, the Palace of Westminster and many National Trust buildings. During 1997 he supervised a team of carvers to work on the fire damage at Windsor Castle. His work was acknowledged by Her Majesty the Queen with a personal letter of thanks and a specially commissioned medal.

Now Mike has volunteered to provide an oak carved model of Baby Bear to be part of a scale version of The Three Bears Cottage. The cottage is the focus for the National Forest’s One Oak project and is being constructed from a single oak tree which has been taken down as part of woodland management works in The National Forest.

‘The aim is to show the wide variety of uses of a single tree, and how timber from National Forest woodlands might be used,’ explained Simon Greenhouse, Woodland Officer at the National Forest Company. ‘The Three Bears Cottage has really fired the imaginations of local woodland businesses and craftspeople:  one company is producing the green oak timber frame, another, the oak floorboards and cladding.  Visitors to the Wood Fair will be able to see the cottage take shape during the day.  It will be furnished with table and chairs, a mantelpiece, with logs stacked beside it – and of course there will be bowls and spoons and a porridge box, not to mention the three bears themselves – all out of a single oak tree.’

Mike Painter said: ‘Twelve of us, all specialists in different areas of wood crafts, have come together to produce this unique project and it has been a privilege to be part of it.’

Besides the Three Bears Cottage, the Wood Fair features the New Forest and South East Axemen, ‘log to leg’ races in Bodger’s Corner and expert chainsaw carvers turning lumps of wood into works of art.  Children can scale the climbing wall, have a go at eco art and activities led by the Conkers rangers and make their own pizza to cook in the wood fired oven on site.

There will be a charity auction in aid of Tree Aid at the end of the afternoon, and for the first time this year there is a free park and ride facility from County Hall in Glenfield, Leicester.

The National Forest Wood Fair is organised jointly by the National Forest Company and Leicestershire County Council and is supported by emda

It is held at Beacon Hill Country Park, Leicestershire, and will run from 10am – 5pm on Bank Holiday Monday 30 August.  Entry costs adults £7, concessions £4 and a family ticket £15 (for two adults and three children).

Beacon Hill Country Park lies within the ancient Forest of Charnwood and is close to the attractive village of Woodhouse Eaves, just five minutes drive from Junctions 22 or 23 of the M1.  The Country Park, owned and managed by Leicestershire County Council, with its craggy summit and panoramic views, is just one of the many visitor attractions across the three counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire that make up The National Forest.

For further information see   www.leics.gov.uk/woodfair