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Jul. 10th, 2015

Draycott Summer Fayre

This coming Sunday, July 12th is the local Summer Fayre in Draycott, which is held to raise funds for St Margaret's Church. We are very pleased and excited to say that once again Huntley Wood will be represented and advertising our site to local groups, so we hope to see some of you there!

Along with Huntley Events, we have donated a Wilderness Treasure Trail experience day to the main raffle for the weekend. The lucky winner will, along with a group of up to 14 people, be able to spend a morning or afternoon at Huntley Wood on a Wilderness Treasure Trail experience which is suitable for all the family.

We’ll be holding an Open Day at Huntley Wood on Saturday the 5th of September, and hopefully the fayre will be a good opportunity to discuss with the local community what they would like to see and experience at our Open Day.

Further information about the Fayre and what is on over the weekend can be found on the Draycott in the Moors website or the St Margaret's Summer Fayre Facebook page - it's a great day out for all the family, with lots of fun displays and activities, so why not come along. Just need to keep our fingers crossed for good weather!

Jun. 23rd, 2015

Change of Management

For a variety of personal reasons, I (Emma) have decided to step out of the management of Huntley Wood.  I will still be involved with the site on some level, but am handing over the day-to-day running of the business.

Jonathan Ely and Robert Corlett will be picking this up - Jon has, of course, been my business partner for the last few years, and Rob is a long time friend who has been involved with Huntley Wood since the outset; he managed the project throughout the development work here, and knows and loves the site as well as I do.  They are also both interested in many of the same things as I am, and have some great ideas for the site which fit well with my own so I am very confident they will do a great job.

Jon and Rob will both be involved with running the business, however Rob will become the Managing Director and will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the business and Huntley Wood, so please direct correspondence to him directly on rob@huntleywood.co.uk.

There will be a period of hand over where I'll still be very involved with the site day to day, so initially not much will change, but over the course of the next couple of months things will gradually move across.  General contact can still be made through info@huntleywood.co.uk, and you will continue to be able to reach me on emma@huntleywood.co.uk.

Though it has at times been difficult and stressful, I have greatly enjoyed many things about building and managing the site and business at Huntley Wood over the last five years, in particular it has always been a pleasure to welcome groups here and to hear how much people have enjoyed using the site.  I am also as keen as ever on the wildlife and conservation work that goes on here, which is something I hope to stay very involved in after I have taken a short break!

I would like to wish Jon and Rob the very best in taking the business forward from here, and really look forward to seeing how it continues to develop in the future.

Emma King,
ex-Managing Director

May. 14th, 2015

Sustainability

We have owned Huntley Wood for just over 5 years now, and been open for the last 2 years, this being our third summer in operation.  We have one site, the Wyldwood, fully functional, with the second, the Greenvale, being developed at present and set to come online for next summer.  In general things seem to be going well, with the site itself vastly improved from the abandoned quarry we took over back in 2010, and a variety of groups using the site and facilities who seem to greatly enjoy visiting here.  This year we are booked for events almost every weekend from the beginning of March to the end of November, which is our main season, plus have some weekday business, so have good occupancy rates and a great deal of repeat visits from happy event organisers, which is fantastic news.

However, the team we have looking after the site is small, and consequently the work load and stress have been very high throughout the project.  We always expected this to be the case during the setup phase of Huntley Wood, but looking forward it has begun to seem as if this is unlikely to change as we move from setup to regular operations.  Unfortunatley the existing situation is simply not sustainable, so we're having to look hard at making changes to improve things.

At present we are doing some re-organisation of how we run Huntley Wood to try to reduce that work load and stress on key members of the team, and as part of this sadly we need to cut back on some of the additional nice but not necessary things we have been doing.  In particular, the recently started youTube channel is going to stop being a regular online diary each week, and become a much more occasional affair - if something noteable or eventful happens, a video may appear, but day to day we don't expect to be updating it often.  Similarly, we are bringing the monthly photo competition and associated calendar to a close - it was a great deal of fun to do last year, we saw some great photos and we're really pleased it raised some money for charity, but the extra workload on evenings and weekends of sorting out the competition is simply unsustainable when there is so much else to be done.  This blog, which admittedly hasn't been updated that regularly for a while, will again become an occasional affair, only being updated if something especially newsworthy happens rather than trying to maintain a schedule of regular updates.  Our facebook page (which is automatically crossposted to our twitter account) is much quicker and easier to update, so smaller items may crop up there more often, though again the frequency of updates is likely to reduce.

Hopefully cutting back on this sort of nice but unnecessary added extra, combined with some re-organisation amongst the team will help us reach a point where Hunltey Wood is sustainable for the future.  In the short term it will give us more time and energy to concentrate on the core important things - making sure we have a great site for people to use and enjoy - and will also allow us the space we need to look at important issues for our business model, such as minimising our overheads and finding additional business and sources of revenue.

Internally a lot feels like it is changing, though from the point of view of those who visit the site and run events here I doubt there will seem to be much difference, except the reduction in the aforementioned extra bits and pieces we do which are largely online.

If you are someone who has some time to spare and might enjoy helping us out with any aspect of the business - from volunteering on site to do improvements or ecology work, to updating the blog or website or taking/uploading photos, videos, helping with advertising and marketing, etc, do drop me a line at emma@huntleywood.co.uk as all help is greatly appreciated! 

Apr. 13th, 2015

youTube Video Diary

I've just started a Huntley Wood youTube channel.  My first project on the channel is a playlist called "Living the Dream", which will be a video diary of stuff we get up to here day to day.  I'm also hoping in time to add other things such as promotional videos, and videos of talks I've given at various events.

For now I'm mostly figuring out how to take sensible videos on my phone, and how to use youTube, but hopefully the channel and play list will develop over time as I get used to the technology involved.....

To be notified of new videos when they are uploaded you can subscribe to the channel, or follow us on facebook where we will announce new videos as they are uploaded.

Mar. 21st, 2015

Calendar Photo Competition

Following the success of our 2014 calendar photo competition, which saw some fabulous photos, and the subsequent 2015 calendar which raised over £130 for LARP Aid, we have decided to make the Huntley Wood Calendar Photo Competition an annual event.

We will run a photo competition each month to find the best photo of an event at Huntley Wood during that month.  The month's winning photograph will be featured here on our blog, then at the end of the year we will put all the best photos together into a calendar for the following year, which will be available to buy from December onwards.  All profits from the sale of the calendar will go to LARP Aid, a live role playing based fund raising group who support various charities.

If you are running or attending an event at Huntley Wood and wish to enter the photo competition, just send your photos to us at info@huntleywood.co.uk - full detalis of the competition are below....

Terms & Conditions
Please read these carefully if you want to enter!

  • Photo submissions must be sent by email to info@huntleywood.co.uk with the subject "Photo Competition".

  • Photos must reach us by the end of the Friday following the last day of the month in which the event was held (eg for events held in January, photos must reach us by the end of the first Friday in February, etc).

  • Photos should be accompanied by:
        > the name of the person submitting the photo;
        > where different, the name of the person who took the photo, to whom credit should be given;
        > the name and date of the event at which the photo was taken; and
        > a couple of sentences about the photo and the event.

  • We reserve the right to crop the photo and edit the text submitted to make it suitable for use.

  • By submitting a photograph to the competition you confirm that you own the copyright, or have permission to do so from the copyright owner, and that you/they grant us permission to use the photo and accompanying text.

  • Photographs should be sent at the highest resolution possible, in order to be usable in the printed calendar.  Photos which are too low resolution to be used in print will not be eligible for the competition.  Please remember that a few mm will be cropped around the edge when the calendar is printed, and that some space on/under/next to the photo will be taken up with a text box, so please allow for this when cropping the photo.  As a guide, the printing area in the calendar is likely to need a minimum of approximately 3500 x 3000 pixels, though slightly smaller images and different aspect ratios can be accommodated by the careful positioning of text, for example portrait photos can have text positioned alongside rather than underneath.

  • As always, the judges' decision is final!  Where there are joint winners or excellent runners up, we may use multiple photos in one month.  Where no photos are submitted or judged good enough for use in the calendar, we will use our own photograph of Huntley Wood for that month.

That's all the technical bits and pieces - we're looking forward to seeing yet more great photos, and to sharing them with you!

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