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Farmers wanting to make the most of their woodlands can gain valuable help and advice from workshops organised by Morpeth-based Northwoods.

The organisation is running a new project called WoodWorks, set up to help people get the most out of their farm and small woodlands, and it is offering a wide range of heavily-subsidised training courses as well as advice and support.

During the New Year, Northwoods is running Defra-funded training courses to help farmers manage their woodlands and make money from them.

Kate Hutchinson, from WoodWorks said: "Often woodland owners can't justify the time and resources needed to manage their woodland as they can't see any way to make a return.

"But there are lots of ways to make money from them, such as making the most of traditional products, entering new markets or adding value to timber."

Farmers wanting to find out more about the possible schemes and business opportunities available are invited to attend the Economic Options one-day course taking place on January 17.

Ms Hutchinson added: "We've been speaking to farmers across the North-East and lots of them were really keen to manage their woodlands but felt they didn't have all the skills they needed. Based on this need we are running a series of different courses on practical skills.

"The first course is on managing coniferous woodlands: it's a three-day course but spread out over several weeks, with training taking place on January 29, February 12 and February 26. This course takes a practical, realistic approach.

"Later in the year we're running similar courses on managing broadleaved woodlands and woodlands for wildlife."

The rate of fatal accidents in woodlands, and on farms in general, is amongst the highest of any industry, so WoodWorks is also organising a first aid course on February 22, written specifically for the land-based sector and approved by the Health and Safety Executive.

If you would like more information on WoodWorks or to book on to any of the training courses please contact Kate Hutchinson on (07920) 102712 or by emailing kate@northwoods.org.uk.

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