THE joint winners of a challenge to harness broadleaved woodlands and increase their value have been announced.

Simon Feather of Leeds Beckett University and Sandra Reith of the University of Leeds have been named as the winners of the ‘Branching Out’ brief, one of the RSA Student Design Award briefs in 2019/20, sponsored by designer and furniture maker John Makepeace OBE, with additional support from Woodland Heritage.

The ‘Branching Out’ brief set the challenge: How might we harness broad-leaved woodlands and their resources to increase their local economic, social and environmental value? Of particular interest was making better-value use of small-diameter hardwood roundwood to help improve the economics of woodland management and to maximise the benefits of this largely overlooked but adaptable timber resource.

“One of the great successes of ‘Branching Out’ has been how the brief has been interpreted, reflected perfectly in the two winning entries: Sandra studying an MA in Design Future Study and Simon an MArch in Architecture,” said Woodland Heritage’s Guy Corbett-Marshall. “The winners also reflected the almost perfect split of UK and international students entering, showing that the opportunities woodlands provide know no boundaries.”

Simon’s winning entry is called ‘Re-Foresting’ and is a systemic approach to mobilising local woodland resources, proposing nine model villages set along the M62 corridor. These villages will grow and harvest diverse forests in order to build timber homes, while also addressing the housing crisis, increasing woodland cover, supporting ecology and generating healthy places to live.

Forestry Journal: Sandra Reith’s TREOW.Sandra Reith’s TREOW.

Sandra’s ‘TREOW’ is a new material for high-quality processing made from small-diameter logs. It supports the use of domestically grown wood to strengthen the local timber industry and envisages applying it in products such as wall panelling, flooring, chair seats and backs, boxes and even plates. ‘TREOW’ is a material in the field of Engineered Wood Products, which is intended for visual use due to its appearance. ‘TREOW’ can be used for different shapes due to its malleable raw mass.

Sandra commented: “It has inspired me not to limit myself and to go different ways. I am not from product design, but it was a great experience to experiment and get physical results.”

Forestry Journal remains dedicated to bringing you all the latest news and views from across our industry, plus up-to-date information on the impacts of COVID-19.

Please support us by subscribing to our print edition, delivered direct to your door, from as little at £69 for 1 year – or consider a digital subscription from just £1 for 3 months.

To arrange, follow this link:

Thanks – and stay safe.