Woods’ new ecocentre is taking root

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WORK has started on a new eco-friendly visitor centre at Bradfield Woods national nature reserve.

The woods, owned by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, had a visitor centre that was little more than a shed in the trees, but this is now being replaced with a green-oak framed, cedar clad ecocentre.

The trust said the aim was to make the building as eco-friendly as possible. It will be carbon negative, meaning there will be more carbon locked up in the fabric of the building than was used to construct it. No concrete or gypsum plaster will be used, the timber will be sourced from the nearest locations possible and recycled materials will be used where they can.

Instead of foundations, it sits on a grid of green oak beams laying on a system of stone filled trenches. Though work on the ground has only just started, cutting and preparing the timber has been going on since the beginning of February.

The building was made possible by a £25,000 from the UPS Foundation

Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Steve Aylward, who is overseeing the work, has a Bradfield ecocentre blog at http://bradfieldwoodscentre.blogspot.com which will follow the work’s progress.

Bradfield Woods, in Felsham Road, Bradfield St George, is unique because it has been under continuous coppice management since 1252. Coppicing is where tree stems are cut at ground level promoting vigorous re-growth, creating woods of high wildlife value. It traditionally supplied straight poles for many purposes, including thatching, hurdle making, baskets and firewood.