Welcome to the Blog of Cutler´s Wood, an Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland in the Kent North Downs AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Cutler´s is 42 hectares (ca. 103 acres) of native broadleaf woodland managed primarily as wildlife and flora habitat but also to provide some timber from coppice rotation which is used for traditional fencing and woodfuel. Adjacent to Cutler´s Wood is Cutler´s Farm, made up of the farmyard with barns and 6 hectares (ca. 15 acres) of pasture land, which presently is used for sheep grazing.

Bordering onto the Forestry Commission´s Kings Wood to the south west, privately owned Stanner´s Wood to the north west, The Woodland Trust´s Park Wood to the north and the privately owned Ridge Wood and Felborough Wood to the east, this area makes up over 2000 acres of connected woodland and one of the largest woodlands in the South East of England. This whole area was once part of a royal hunting forest for deer and boar.

Edward Hasted´s map of Cutler´s area published 1798 but showing the area apparently around 1778. Cutler´s Farm seems not to have existed yet.

Saturday, 11 June 2011


Last year I had the idea of looking for a furniture designer who could produce exceptional pieces of furniture using timber from Cutler´s Wood. These pieces should not be anonymous items from anonymous timber from an anonymous forest somewhere, which would end up being thrown away in a few years, like so much of what is on the market today. Much more so the piece should be an extention of the very tree itself, a continuation of the life of the tree into the future long after the tree itself had actually been felled. We would document the piece, in photographs, from the tree standing in the woods, through the felling process, on into the manufacturing of the item. The people involved would be documented, the woodsmen felling the tree, the transportation of the stem to the yard, the furniture maker actually turning the stem into the piece of furniture through the various phases. The documentation should serve to show coming generations how the piece came about, as the piece hopefully would live on long after the people involved were gone.
The documentation would be the story, the story of the woods, the tree, the people and the piece of furniture as the end product.
It appeared to me that in our Consumption led times we often know little of the items we are actually consuming, items bought are anonymous, we buy and consume with mostly no thought of where it came from or what the original material was, or how it came to end up on our plate or in our homes. The McDonalds syndrome perhaps? Hamburgers come from there don´t they? What have pigs or cows got to do with it all? How can respect be shown for the life that went to make the end product if we have no connection with its past? Our ancestors probably didn´t have this problem, they were often involved in all parts of the making of what they consumed, perhaps through that they were able to accept the natural cycles of life and death better than we can.

I approached Alun Heslop of Chaircreative ( with my ideas and Alun was immediately enthusiastic and agreed to design and manufacture a series of pieces. Alun has made some fantastic items of furniture in the past and his designer talent seemingly knows no bounds.

In February I wanted to fell some larger stems of sweet chestnut in order to ascertain the internal quality of the timber. Alun came along that day and we selected stems which most people would not have been interested in, stems with natural curves and bends, for the furniture should not have sharp corners or straight edges, they were to be something special, perhaps a touch of Gaudi or Dali.
Alun recently started work on the pieces by cleaving some stems before them being taken to his workshops.

The story has started - to be continued.