Wooplaw fires up the public’s interest in woodland

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WOOPLAW Community Woodland has organised an event to look forward to after the festive period.

The tree enthusiasts are holding a bonfire and barbecue event, Light up the Woodland, on Sunday, January 29.

The day will involve gathering wood in the morning to build and light the bonfire at about 4pm, making lanterns for candles, with a barbecue and potatoes in the fire.

Horse logger Rab Erskine will demonstrate how to make fire by rubbing sticks, using a fire drill and sparks from steel, and there will be fire spinning.

The organisers are looking for a fire eater to go along to entertain and any musicians willing to help with a singsong around the fire.

Wooplaw was the first community woodland in Britain, started in 1987. The 55 acres, with ponds, buildings including a log cabin, paths, sculptures and lots of trees, are open to visitors.

The community group which maintains it organises an event on the last Sunday of every month. For further information and anyone wanting to join, visit www.wooplaw.org.uk

Meanwhile just over the border on Sunday, New Year’s Day, Forestry Commission rangers are holding a free two-hour walk to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first train crossing the multi-arched Kielder Viaduct.

The structure, built in 1862 and closed in 1958, linked Hexham with Riccarton Junction via the Border Counties Railway line. Further anniversary celebration are planned for later in 2012.

Rangers will take hikers across the multi-arched bridge and along the former railway line and anyone interested should meet at the viaduct near Kielder Castle at 11.30am.