UNEMPLOYED > SOCIAL FORESTER AND WOODLAND OWNER

Tom’s story

I first heard of Tir Coed when I had recently moved to the area and wanted to get out into the beautiful countryside of west Wales, so volunteering seemed the best idea with winter approaching and no prospects of anything like meaningful work coming my way. I was enrolled on a 12 week course at the beautiful Coed Tamsin, tutored by experienced woodsman Bob Shaw. We started to grasp not only the complexity of a woodland system but that this was a great resource - a sustainable wood factory.

  Following my three months of volunteering I was lucky enough to be offered a job as support worker on the next 12 week project. A year later and two more projects as support worker under my belt it was time to get my chainsaw qualifications and start thinking how I could gain more experience working a wood and making decisions for myself. Tir Coed helped here on both counts - they put me in touch with a chainsaw training centre and helped find funding for the exams and then (with Bob's help) allowed us to start working a long forgotten forestry commission wood in Llanfarian.

    With chainsaw tickets and a couple of years of soaking up some of Bob's wisdom, I started working for a couple of private woodland owners and helped with the hard graft of woodland management. At the same time I took on some small commissions to see if what I was making from the cut wood was saleable.  So, a few years after meeting with Tir Coed and I was making a wage to live on through meaningful, outdoor work! Some years later and I am still at times working with Tir Coed in that wood in Llanfarian, but now as a tutor. I am now a woodland owner, still working in various other woods and making a modest but seemingly sustainable living. The work is seasonal and varied, full of creativity and inspiration and of course at times hard but worth every minute. I'd be hard pressed to find better.