The Famous Strid Wood animal making course


Parkin Pig


Create your own unique woodland animal using basic tools in the covered shelter set in the timeless surroundings of the ancient Strid Wood.  My workshop, where you will work (and have fun) is completely off-grid with no electricity.  Hand-tools are the order of the day, but they are easy and intriguingly satisfying to use.

Foxy Loxy, looking for his mates Dear Deer and Brock the Badger

Chums together in the woods

Chums together in the woods

It is a completely woody environment.  Water for drinks is heated by burning shavings in a Kelly Kettle and the soup is heated in a dutch oven over my own charcoal which I make in the Summer months.


Nim eats







You will eat from wooden bowls with small hand-carved wooden eating spoons.









The timber you will be using is mainly freshly cut hazel which I coppice either in Strid Wood or further up Wharfedale where I am restoring derelict coppice woodland.  You will learn more about woodland management on the day.


This is an entry-level course and consists of drilling one inch mortice holes with a hand auger and then fitting legs, necks, heads and antlers with matching tenons using a draw knife and rounder plane.  If you are new to making something in wood, you will enjoy the concentration needed, which blocks out all other thoughts.  It requires concentration to make the tools, jigs and clamps work effectively, and the result is so free-form that it always pleases.  This doesn’t mean to say there is no time for chat, it is a sociable activity of up to 5 people working together.

The rounder plane for making leg joints

This course has been running for over four years.  More than 50 people have successfully made the animal of their choice and design.  Everyone from complete beginner to experienced woodworker, young, old, ladies and gents, family groups, fathers and sons, mothers and sons have learnt how to make joints and make design decisions while creating an individual feature for the garden.  Many animals have been made as presents, and vouchers for the course can be bought as gifts too.

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Credit “The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers” by Mark Hatch

What people have said after the course:

“Thank you so much for the lovely photographs.  My mother and me thoroughly enjoyed our woodland animals workshop with you. We are both very proud of our handy work which look lovely in our gardens. We couldn’t have done it without your patient help and guidance. Thank you for a wonderful experience in such a fantastic setting.”

“Thank you very much for the wonderful workshop last Saturday morning. The boys / young men loved it, almost despite themselves. The mum who was given the fox absolutely loved it, and I love my reindeer who is currently sporting baubles and lammeta. The pig is in hiding until Christmas day”

“Thank you for a super day. Both Jude and Michael had a fabulous time. We stopped for a coffee at The Pavilion and people were taking pictures of the deers.”

“I want to thank you for the smashing day of badger-making last Sunday.  It was enormous fun and I’m delighted with the result.”

“A big thank you again Richard for a wonderful day on Thursday. Both Dave and I had such good fun and we are delighted with our deer “Bambi” and “Stag” ”

“… thank you so much for our half term forest fun we really did have a great time our animals are admired daily in the front garden. A lovely thing to do thank you for your expertise – the soup was perfect … ”