wood

encouraging the use of home-grown wood by supporting skills, enterprise and innovation

The Sylva Wood Centre is an exciting new hub for small businesses and craftspeople who design, innovate or make in wood – and those who want to learn the skills to do so. The Centre provides dedicated space, equipment and an inspiring community of woodworking professionals.

Following the generous gift of farm buildings and land in South Oxfordshire in 2013, the Sylva Wood Centre opened its first business incubation units in April 2015. In 2016 we opened a Machinery Workshop and launched our Start-Up scheme - providing short-term, flexible rental of bench space in an open-plan workshop at the heart of the Wood Centre. Plans for the near future include hosting a sawmilling business, and starting a series of training courses in woodworking run by some of our businesses and external trainers.

As far as possible we are trying to practice what we preach by refurbishing and building in timber in both traditional and modern structures. We've used innovative ash and sycamore thermal cladding on our first incubator building, and we worked with student designers in a TRADA-sponsored competition to explore the science of timber as a modern construction material for the new Arboreal building we hope to build in the near future.

We are also transforming the surrounding landscape. We've planted a community orchard and an educational "Future Forest" with tree species that can thrive in the UK despite threats from climate change, pests and diseases. We have a new dedicated forest education area with space for children to learn about and enjoy woodland.

If you'd like to get involved please get in touch. Whether you are a designer-maker, a wood business needing space to grow, a Forest School Leader needing space to run sessions or as someone who shares our passion for timber and would like to help fund our projects at the Wood Centre we'd love to hear from you. We are also keen to hear from woodworking tutors who can work with us developing our training programmes.

Contact Paul Orsi

"Our new partnership with Sylva means we can provide our graduates an ideal first step towards launching their own businesses." Joseph Bray, Programme Leader FdA|BA Furniture Design and Make, Rycotewood Furniture Centre, City of Oxford College

latest wood news

our wood activities

Business Incubation

Thinking of starting a wood-based business? We have dedicated incubation space at the Sylva Wood Centre.

We have a limited number of dedicated small units. We also have an open-plan workshop with flexible bench spaces under our 'Start-Up' scheme allowing short-term rental. The business incubation is supported by a fully-equipped machinery workshop.

How to apply for business incubation How to apply for
business incubation.

Sylva Wood Centre community

Business Description   Website
Chris Boreham Bespoke Woodwork Furniture business originally supported under our Start-Up facilities   www.chrisboreham.co.uk
Colin Henwood Builder of wooden boats: restoration and rebuilds  
Face North Forestry Professional forestry contractor offering low impact management of the rural environment, plus mobile sawmill and firewood processing   www.facenorthforestry.co.uk
Julian Angus Carpentry and fitted joinery. Education workshops for young people   www.julianangus.com
Mary’s Chairs Furniture restoration and upholstery, also offering tuition and creative workshops   www.maryschairs.co.uk
Matt Estlea Woodworker, designer and creator (2017-18 Rycotewood craftsperson-in-residence)   www.mattestlea.com
Neil Scott Furniture Bespoke furniture business   www.neilscottfurniture.com
Oxford Oak Outdoor furniture and pergolas using home-grown oak   www.oxfordoak.co.uk
Rokesmith Media company specialising in creating educational woodworking material   www.rokesmith.com
Rycotewood craftsperson-in-residence Rycotewood Furniture Centre, at City of Oxford College, supports one graduate each year in setting up their businesses at the Sylva Wood Centre   www.cityofoxford.ac.uk/our-courses/furniture
Simon Clements Carving Wood carving and sculpture, also offering training courses   www.simonclements.info