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A good place to start your journey thru' this site. Dates available throughout the year on use of the polelathe and associated tools Part of the Greenwood Worker Group at Amberley museum Some interesting links. Not all related to wood! An annual Classic Land Rover Event at Amberley Museum



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Photos of the GWW archive material Photos of previous days and shows attended plus greenwood village Training videos and you tube links.



polelathe and green wood working at Amberly museum. tuition in pole lathe use. how to make a polelathe Click the tree for information on courses


Early days of the Green Wood group





During the winter of 2005 and into 2006 we set up a more permanent demonstration area in a woodland glade and accessible via the nature trail. The main feature is the construction of a 'Bodgers Hovel', a shelter traditionally used by woodland workers to sleep, eat and shelter in. Wood for the hovel and other display items were sourced locally from managed woodlands and brought onto the site. The Amberley site itself is unable to sustain high rates of cutting at this time in its evolution. Hazel is being planted near to the Glade and will eventually provide some coppice wood. 

Note since the summer of 2017 the bodgers hovel has been taken down as it was getting unsafe. The area is now being reused as a classroom for outside learning, woodland crafts and Forest school activities. More information is available upon contacting Colin.


nature trail at amberley museum west sussex the galde at amberley museum for use by the green wood worker group
Nature trail walk leading to Glade (2005) The Glade as it looked prior to commencement of work (2005)


The Beginning (2006)


the galde cleared for the green wood worker group and pole lathe demonstrations

colin next to first A frame in glade

Glade cleared and materials ready

First 'A' frame in place (Colin posing again)

the bodgers hovel in the glade

making chopping blocks for the pole lathe and bodgers hovel

Skeleton of hovel now complete

Mike cutting 'Chopping Blocks' from Ash

Thatching with Birch courtesy of

'Arthur' besom broom maker on Amberley site

Hovel finished with Pole lathe in place

Sawing Dog

Kettle on for brew      (Kelly Kettle)

Long view of sun drenched Glade (3/4/06)

Archive photo of Bodgers at work with a 'Hovel' in background






A Bow & Bobbin lathe

Would have been the design favoured for working in an enclosed area.

Ideal for moving around the site for different events.



Email to contact the group co-ordinator.

Help with this new area would be gratefully received from people interested in  green wood crafts (see also polelathe course information).  New comers to this activity will get training and support. Current crafts people who would like to spend a little of their time in helping out or giving advice are most welcome. We are looking for Hurdle makers to set up a display and use the site please contact Colin for details.

Keep yourself posted by reviewing this site from time to time. Add it to your favourites.





Bodgers Hovel (traditional type)

Polelathe tuition at Amberley museum. Picture was used to create Bodgers Hovel in the 'Glade ' at amberley museum

Pole lathe workers (bodgers) at work late 1800's showing a typical 'Hovel' for shelter

Photo supplied by the late Barry Plant


CIRCA 2009

Barry Plant one of the main stays and supporters of the APT and the Green Woodworker Group sadly passed away March 2009. He will be greatly missed by all the people who came in contact with him. His sense of humour and enthusiasm for all things to do with wood was a testament to his ability to research in depth all aspects of the craft so that he was able to get the best from it. And thereby demonstrate it at shows etc. Although a dab hand at using the pole lathe, his favourite area of expertise was in spoon making and he would sit for long periods chatting away to the pole lathe turners and carving his spoons.

Barry will be missed very much


February 2008

Jims Hovel workplace (now moved) Lathes and Shave horses (now in new sit) Nature trail to glade location
Hovel with winter storage Hovel with new birch cover Woodyard from rail line


Amberley in the snow April 6th 2008

Bodgers lathes etc, in snow storm Nature trail to bodgers camp
The Hovel, dry inside. Winter scene on nature trail (Spring 08!!)
The wood yard looking West

April 2008

Wayne's new hovel (extension) for bow making (now moved) birch roofing



CIRCA 2007

Colin featured on the front page of the Wheelbarrow Magazine, May issue. This publication is the in house magazine for the Amberley Museum and is distributed to all volunteers, supporters and staff at the museum also available to the public when visiting. Page 14 of the publication has photos and a brief write up about the green wood worker group, glade area and Hovel --- see below for a clearer copy of the write up.

From the Magazine above


(Colin Wells introduces readers to the 'Hovel in the Glade' at Amberley)

Colin Wells started the green wood worker group, at Amberley Museum, in late 2004. Since then most of the Polelathe demonstration has been in the area adjacent to the ‘Sussex Wood Turners’. However during the winter of 2005/6 and on into 2007 Colin and his associate Mike Gordon plus many other volunteers,  both national members of the ‘Association of Pole lathe Turners and green wood workers’ (APT), have been very busy transforming the ‘Glade’ within the Amberley Museum nature trail into a centre for old crafts, primarily Pole Lathe turning. Also an additional feature will, when attended, demonstrations on traditional survival techniques and fire lighting.

All the resources for this project have been extracted from the Westdene woods near Chichester (many thanks to Richard Ede).


It is hoped that the Glade will become a focal point for old crafts over the ensuing years and will promote their continued existence, and thereby educate visitors on the need for sustainable woodlands and the protection of the environment. Crafts such as Pole lathe turning, hurdle making, besom broom making (see Arthur on site for more information), rake making and much more.


Also courses in pole lathe turning will be offered and it is hoped that through this the group will grow in number and eventually it will be possible to have someone in attendance when ever the Museum is open to the public.

The 'new' Hovel (in the glade) with 'Saw-Dog' in foreground




Filming at Amberley Museum

in the Glade 2006/7

A film crew working for the Discovery Channel did some shooting in the Glade at Amberley Museum during April 2006. The object of the exercise:- A documentary to show how old crafts supported the furniture industry in years gone by. It was a question of Colin and Mike showing the presenter how to perform a task then he would present to camera doing the set task. Not badly done considering he had not attempted anything like it before (or was it our tuition...........??)

The finished programme shown Winter 2006/7


The start of sequence explaining the way it was in the early days


The Presenter Roland Roland in casual mode
Using Beetle & wedge for log splitting Using the Saw-Dog
Using the shaving horse Turning a billet
Putting the legs into the stool The finished article 'A Stool'
... ...
 Billet preparation area Director, Mike, Roland, Colin, Cameraman, Soundman
Colin at work Mike at work

Other shots

 from the day

out take or set up....??? Mike at rest
Time for a brew Colin 'The overseer' (no way)

What did Colin do over the past three decades?

Click on him above to find out

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