2003 2001


In our second year, we had the extraordinarily ambitious four day Woodland Festival at Quarry Wood and some singing training, as well as a horse racing fundraiser and carols…

af-race-night-2002Ascot Race Night – 26 April 2002

Wind-up wooden horse racing hilarity set down at the Royal Enclosure. Racegoers entered the festively decorated Royal Box where they were able to observe the beautifully turned out mares and fillies. The scramble by potential owners to purchase horses was intense given the magnificent prizes on offer from race sponsors. Add to this the quality buffet and magnificent display of headwear for the Ascot Hat Competition.

Woodland Festival at Quarry Wood – Weds 12 June to Sat 15 June 2002

A four day festival including woodland crafts, guided tours and talks, and a woodland performance.

We were worried about the weather as Quarry Wood took on more and more of the characteristics of the Somme rather than a pleasant Sussex Woodland, but over two hundred children from Crowhurst and Catsfield schools grasped the opportunity of a lifetime to slide, splash, slither and fall face down in the mud as a glorious alternative to sitting in a dry classroom.

They quite liked the Vikings too, and their stories of Viking culture, history and weapons, their fire and woodcraft, and building an authentic reproduction of a Viking longhouse.

Then there was Chris Hamson and his Bodger’s Camp, demonstrating pole lathing; Bruce Cripps making miniature hurdles; a huge iron giant of a charcoal kiln courtesy of Steve Blackford. There was basket making and weaving with Rachel Holton, making tree decorations with Mary Upson, and learning about tree identification and working out age and height. And Paul Clark came to tell us about the railway which used to run through the wood, and about the six million bricks in the viaduct and how they were blown away in a few seconds.

What about the adults? Many of those who had never been in Quarry Wood expressed surprise at its extent, while those who remembered it remarked on the improvements which had been made by the Crowhurst Society since it was bought for the village. Guided walks were led by John Hicks from the Powdermill Trust and Paul Johnson (click here for Paul’s write up on the Tales from Quarry Wood website).

On Saturday evening, nearly two hundred gathered for the Woodland Performance, organised by Murray Lachlan-Young and Steve Royston. Poor Murray tried to read a piece of poetry he had written especially for the event but was almost constantly interrupted as we all wended our way round the wood following the Daisy Root dancers and drummers. Eventually, on our musical walk, we met the Men of the Trees (bravura performances from Pete Linfield and John Saunders), who combined forces to chase the villainly council men from the woods to thwart their dastardly development plans for Quarry Wood. This left us all relieved to find our picnic spaces for the second half of the concert to round off a wonderful four days.

Nearly seven hundred people attended the Festival, an astounding success.


It had always been intended that we would make a woodland seat as part of the Festival, but with all the other activities going on, this didn’t happen. So on 1 September, the Vikings returned (Will and Tom) to show us how to do it, Pete Linfield, Alan Stainsby and I. It took longer than any of us imagined and we didn’t finish until 10pm, the last two hours providing much amusement and frustration as we tried to insert very delicate wooden pegs by the light of a flickering fire and fading torches.

Nevertheless, it did get finished and we are quite proud of the result. It is suitably Vikingesque in scale and commands a wonderful view down the pond (when it has any water in, that is). It is made in traditional style using only hand tools and chestnut.

– John Spall

af-singing-2002Singing Weekend – Free Your Voice – 26 & 27 Oct 2002

Twenty-four aspiring singers gathered for this two day course led by professional singing coach and jazz singer, Jan Ponsford. This was aimed at those who thought they couldn’t sing and those who thought they could but their friends and family said otherwise.

Our first task was to loosen up our poorly maintained vocal equipment, which involved a variety of exercises, including lying on the floor with paperbacks on our heads and pretending we had a ball bearing in the middle of our foreheads. We then progressed to individual sounds which slowly blended into a common and harmonious group sound which brought us together musically. We then explored scales and harmony, and by the end of day one we were actually singing a simple riff in reasonable harmony. On day two we moved on to more complicated rhythms, and for a final piece we made a reasonable fist of singing a bossa nova in three part harmony.

– John Spall

af-carols-2002Community Carols – 18 Dec 2002

We repeated our Community Carols in the Plough car park with nearly twice as many eager singers as last year.




2003 2001