bemix has been working with Kent Wildlife Trust for several years through a number of our projects. Recently, Eco Shed created signage for Cromers Wood.

Over the years, Eco Shed wildlife home products have been stocked in Tyland Barn, one of Kent's Wildlife Trust's education and conservation sites in Maidstone. The Pulse, Swale Schools Project and Kent Wildlife Trust developed a partnership with the Bob Fowler Community Allotment in Milton Regis to open up family friendly eco workshops and garden wildlife themed activities at the allotment. More recently, the Eco Shed and Swale Schools Project teamed up with Kent Wildlife Trust project Wooden It Be Crafty to carry out an accessibility assessment for Cromers Wood in Sittingbourne. People gave advice on what could be improved to ensure that everyone can enjoy the woodland. Our Supported Internships team is currently working with Cromers Wood who are keen to provide work placements for our students.

Cromers Wood Commission

Following the success of the partnership, Kent Wildlife Trust commissioned Eco Shed to build a new sign for the entrance to Cromers Wood.

After agreeing a design, work on the sign began in January 2018 with a large majority of Eco Shed members interested in co-producing the commission. The sign was made from native, coppiced chestnut wood from the woodland.

The first task was to sand and smooth the surface of the planks where the main body of writing would sit.  Many of our members including Robert, Leigh, Scott and Rosemary, took part in this process and the wood was soon in a position to start the planning of the lettering.  With the wood needing to eventually live outdoors it was important that it did not dry out and crack. By day, the wood was indoors being worked on and, by night, stored outside to keep the materials moist.  

We planned the font and stenciled the letters, ready to be carved.  Garry (who is very talented at carving and aims to set up his own business, taking on commissions and hand-making unique handcrafted wooden items) took charge of this part of the process with some help from Jason, Miles and Eco Shed Project Lead, Terie.  Using a process of hand carving and dremeling, the letters soon began to take shape. The sign was hand carved to read “Cromers Wood”.  

Whilst the lettering was being worked on, other members of the Eco Shed carved little woodland animals to decorate the sign.  Once the lettering was complete, Rosemary, Laura, Leigh and Terie painted the inverted letters and applied a top coat of varnish.

We needed to add the Eco Shed logo, so Cheryl pyrographed "Made by members of" and we branded our logo with our branding iron.

Gary carved a beautiful, blue butterfly to represent the Kent Wildlife Trust logo. The butterfly was added and holes were drilled to connect the animals.  To make the signage as easy to understand as possible, we added an arrow on to direct visitors.

The woodland sign took approximately 3 months to make and was completed in March 2018. The sign was unveiled as part of a day in the woods where Eco Shed members learnt about coppicing.  When the sign was unveiled, there was a great sense of pride among the group.

"I feel proud that our work in in a place for all to see" - Gary
"I loved doing the woodland sign and coppicing day out" - Rosemary
"It was a good opportunity to try different things" - Cheryl

In May 2018, our work was featured in a page long article in Kent Life magazine.  To put so much time, effort and passion in to a piece of work and then seeing it in a very popular county magazine was described by our members Gary, Rosemary and Cheryl as "Awesome, fantastic and exciting! It's great for the Eco Shed".  

Kent Wildlife Trust are staging a Fairy Door Trail throughout the summer at Cromers Wood.  Members of the Eco Shed are currently decorating some doors to contribute to the event. To find out about upcoming events and trails at Kent Wildlife Trust sites, visit: