Green woodcrafts & Nature course 2015


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Green woodcrafts and living in harmony with nature.

A one week activity holiday to inspire and relax you.

from May 24-30th, in Southern France, cost £420.


A unique opportunity to learn green woodwork skills with family and friends or by yourself and at the same time deepen your connection with nature.  Create lovely handmade artefacts, forage for  wild food plants, make charcoal and BBQ and cook on open fires. Reenergize, unwind and nourish your creativity, letting the earth stimulate and sustain you within a beautiful setting.











“ I spent a wonderful week at Os Figueiros, in which just like each plant there we were fed, watered and nurtured and were rendered stronger and happier when we returned home. It’s the perfect place to reclaim any lost energy, meet kindred spirits and learn an abundance of new things.”     Catherine B


With expert tuition and support from Phil Harwin ( you will have the opportunity to make spoons, knives and forks, progress on to carving cups and bowls and to construct a simple stool or learn how to sculpture a beautiful and practical walking stick. And learn techniques to work safely using a variety of traditional hand tools and develop your skills in green woodwork.


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“Phil’s extensive knowledge and expertise in green wood working has been truly inspirational both to the participants he teaches and those connected with the course.”

Jane Watts Dame Hannah’s at Seale Hayne



An important aspect of green woodcraft is knowing what species of wood to use and when and how to harvest it. Felling and coppicing techniques are essential to sustainable woodland management practice; therefore how to select and cut the wood you will use for your own projects are an integral part of this course.





This course offers an holistic approach to working and living with nature; gathering and preparing wild food to eat, making charcoal and building fires to cook on. However it is more than just learning green wood techniques. Meals will often arise out of the day’s activities and everybody will get the chance to help prepare a meal once or twice. You can use the spoons and forks you make to eat with, the walking sticks you create to ramble. And there will also be time and space devoted to just being present and open to the world around us; entering into a deeper relationship with the earth.


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There will also be plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind, whether it’s swimming in the river, sunbathing in the beautiful enclosed courtyard far from the bustle of everyday life, sharing a meal and chatting with friends, visiting a market or charming local town, spending an evening at a nearby village festival or simply doing nothing.


 “I had the best time. Really enjoyed the community that sprang up during the week; loved the outdoor work and feeling of accomplishment, plus the health benefits of working with my body (as opposed to mind!), and I can’t rate highly enough the wonderful food we shared. Os Figueiros is a unique place, spacious and harmonious, and is set in beautiful countryside.”                      Joan Byrne





Os Figueiros, ‘the house of figs’ is an historic bastide farmhouse in a small hamlet in the Tarn, in rural south–west France, 60 miles from Toulouse.  An exceptional venue with its old world charm; an enchanting interior courtyard and balcony, dovecote,  large gardens and orchard.  You will feel sheltered and far away from the stresses and strains of modern day living, in a timeless oasis of tranquillity dedicated to well-being.  Nestling amongst open hills from where you can see the Pyrenees on clear days and close to the river Viaur, Os Figueiros offers many opportunities to explore nature and an abundance of beautiful places nearby to visit. ( www, for more pictures and details.)







The week will be led by two experienced teachers and guides Phil Harwin and                    Dave Wassermann.


Phil Harwin

Phil has been practicing and teaching greenwood crafts and  practical woodland management for the last 15 years, running his own courses as well as teaching for the Workers Educational Association (WEA) and Dame Hannah Rogers Trust. In 2002 he set up The Tree-Claim Project, a wood recycling venture teaching creative and practical woodwork skills to people of all ages and abilities.

Phil loves the outdoors and teaches rural skills and campfire crafts and has also worked on environmental projects both in UK and Europe. In 2013 he led a group of students in Slovakia renovating a rural dwelling using traditional techniques and materials.

A passionate and skilled wood sculptor and craftsperson, Phil’s enthusiasm for the outdoors is matched by his love of music.  A versatile musician and composer, he now combines music and greenwood skills to inspire and engage individuals by running instrument making and composition workshops.













You can find more information about Phil and the courses he runs at



Dave Wassermann

Creativity and transformation have been important themes in my life for the last 40 years. For a quarter of a century I worked as a cranial osteopath and have done many things including being a cook in Paris, leading a children’s theatre group, writing and staging plays, creating earthworks and pottery and animating nature awareness courses and have taught and hosted many and varied groups.


Nowadays I put my energy into creating a forest garden, deepening awareness, growing fruits and vegetables and dance and movement and run a centre for individuals and courses, supporting guests in realising their potential and dreams.



FOOD                                                                                                                                                            Os Figueiros is renowned for its nourishing, fresh and tasty dishes. Fruit, snacks, hot and cold drinks etc. are always available.  Do please inform us of any food allergies in advance.


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Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be primarily vegetarian with occasional meat or fish (always a vegetarian alternative); featuring seasonal, local, lots of organic, fresh and home-grown ingredients.


 “This is a very special, magical place. David is a warm, thoughtful host who welcomes you as family. He is also a superb cook who orchestrated a brilliant pot luck meal with all the guests. Our children were welcomed and there was plenty for them to do. We all loved our stay.”



Bedrooms are either for two people sharing or single (£70 supplement). They are rustic in style and full of character and most open either onto the balcony or into the courtyard –there is also a bedroom in the dovecote. There are 2 lounges, 4 bathrooms and many different places where you can sunbathe, sit, lie in a hammock, stroll in the gardens etc.








For more details and pictures click here





Over 16yrs        £420

10 yrs to 16yrs  £300

6- 10yrs            £150

5 & under           £75


Single room supplement (limited number): £70

Prices include teaching and support, all tools and materials, all meals, food and drinks at Os Figueiros, and accommodation in a shared bedroom.  Adults and children of all ages are welcome, though you must be above 10 years old to participate fully in the greenwood working activities.

To secure a place a deposit of £100 is required and as numbers are limited the deposit is required by the 27th March. Up to this date your full deposit will be returned if you have to cancel for any reason. After 27th March deposits are not refundable.

Final Payment (full fee – deposit) should be made by 27th April.


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Fees can be paid by cheque or bank transfer. To book please contact Phil Harwin at   .

Your participation on the course will be confirmed at the latest by 27th March. We recommend you do not book your airline/channel crossing etc. until you receive confirmation of your place from us.


For enquiries and information use the contact form below or email

Dave Wassermann  (travel, food, accommodation etc.)

Phil Harwin  (green wood and outdoor crafts)


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Os Figueiros is located in the Tarn department in the Midi Pyrenees region of south west France about 65 miles north east of Toulouse and travel connections are good.


Toulouse and Rodez airports are the most convenient and nearest; with train connections and car hire available.

Toulouse airport offers flights from various British airports amongst which London and Bristol. A shuttle service, every 20 minutes, is provided to Toulouse railway station. From there you can take a train to Carmaux, (1hr journey) where we will meet you.

Rodez has Ryanair flights from London Stansted and we offer a pick-up and return service at 30 euros per journey on the day the course starts and ends. You can also take a taxi to the station and a train to Carmaux, with 4 or 5 trains a day.


Travelling by train:

The nearest train station is Carmaux. There are direct trains from Paris to Toulouse, travelling by TGV from Gare Montparnasse 5 hrs.  or from Gare d’ Austerlitz 6 hrs.

And from Toulouse take a train to Carmaux from where we will collect and return you.


Travelling by road

There are 2 major motorways you can take from northern France,  A20 and A75. For detailed instructions on how to reach Os Figueiros please contact






You can stay longer at Os Figueiros for a relaxing holiday or break and to explore the area. For more details, prices etc. look at the site or contact Dave Wassermann via email 


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