Bill heads rural crafts initiative

RURAL crafts in Suffolk have been boosted with the appointment of an expert to lead the revival of its ancient practices.The new interest in hazel may mean bidding farewell to bamboo in the garden as Ipswich man Bill Goodyear, a dab hand at making furniture out of the locally grown wood from the hazel tree, spreads his message.

RURAL crafts in Suffolk have been boosted with the appointment of an expert to lead the revival of its ancient practices.

The new interest in hazel may mean bidding farewell to bamboo in the garden as Ipswich man Bill Goodyear, a dab hand at making furniture out of the locally grown wood from the hazel tree, spreads his message.

Former Greenways ranger in the Belstead area, Mr Goodyear, 65, is the new rural crafts manager at Stonham Barns in Stonham Aspal, near Stowmarket.

He is setting up a centre to train people in traditional methods of making garden furniture, pea sticks, bean arches, bean poles and other rustic arts.


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Mr Goodyear, of Larchcroft Road, said: "We say 'leave the bamboo to the pandas' and we want to get back to coppicing," which he explained was the method of cutting back trees every seven or nine years, which makes the wood ideal for fashioning into attractive garden features.

He said that the centre also has a mini-farmyard with two sheep, rare breed chickens and rabbits that would keep children entertained while parents are given tuition and try their hand at crafting chairs, tables or even a bird box for their garden.

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He said that a programme to grow hazel was first started on the Sidegate Lane allotments by the Ipswich Wildlife Group.

Mr Goodyear's appointment is one of several developments at the countryside leisure centre which also plays host to a range of shops and the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary.

Plans have been lodged with Mid Suffolk District Council to create an indoor bowling green and a carriage museum.

General manager John Philpott added that development of a site for a horse sanctuary run by Redwings, one of the largest organisations of its kind in the country, was also underway.

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