The Roots Project was established in 2014 with the intention of reconnecting people and planet through conservation, crafts and play. We’re a diverse bunch from all walks of life, sharing a common passion for engaging with the natural environment whilst having a positive impact on local ecosystems and the wider community.
Together we manage Wonky Wood, an 8 acre site comprising semi-natural ancient woodland, plantation, grassland and scrub which had been neglected for many years prior to our management.
Our little patch of woodland lies within the wider Longbeech Wood complex near Ashford, set within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Wonky Wood is managed primarily for nature conservation and the sustainable production of craft materials which are used on site and made available to the local community.
Our members meet regularly throughout the year to undertake practical conservation tasks, wildlife surveys and seasonal woodland management. We also hold regular skill-sharing events and workshops alongside nature-based creative and educational activities for interested groups or individuals.
We have experienced outdoor activity leaders who facilitate sessions both within Wonky Wood and at other sites across Kent working in partnership with educational establishments, community centres and other non-profit groups. Please see our visit the woods page or events listings for further details.
Since our establishment in 2014, many people have given their time and energy to tasks ranging from reptile surveys and digging ponds to coppicing and planting new hedgerows. We’ve welcomed students on work experience, youth groups, people wishing to learn specific skills and others who simply enjoy being outdoors whilst making a positive contribution to wildlife conservation and community-based outdoor learning.
We’re currently focusing our efforts on developing a long term management plan for the site and have been undertaking comprehensive surveying of the site’s ecology and wildlife. Our aim is to maintain a mosaic of different habitats including herb and flower rich grasslands with areas of scrub and hedgerow providing connectivity to the surrounding woodland.
It’s a slow process, as we undertake all work using traditional hand tools; but working in this fashion allows us to undertake tasks sustainably and with minimum disruption to wildlife. This method of working relies heavily on the efforts of our volunteers and visitors but is extremely rewarding both physically and mentally.
There are always tasks to match different interests and abilities alongside the opportunity to explore and develop new skills whilst being fully immersed in nature.
We’ve also been working to establish an area of edible and woodland with the addition of local heritage fruit and nut trees, shrubs and native herbs. This will provide food for both resident wildlife and our human visitors as well as providing a valuable learning resource for visiting groups.
Other recent activities include public tree planting events, guided walks, creating reptile hibernacula, family forest days, scrub management, green woodcraft skill-share days and nature-based arts and crafts sessions.
We are committed to developing links with educational establishments, local businesses and other community groups in Kent. We welcome enquiries from groups and individuals who would like to arrange a visit to Wonky Wood or arrange for us to facilitate activities at other venues within the community. We offer volunteers of all ages the opportunity to work towards the John Muir Awards and can provide tailored activities or sessions upon request. Please see our visit the woods page and events listings for further details.
We have a qualified session leader, first aid and safeguarding provision in attendance during all pre-arranged visits and maintain appropriate insurance for all activities and events carried out on site. Please contact us if you would like to arrange a visit or work with us.