Tuesday, 12 July 2011

We did it! But only just....

Thanks to an outstanding effort by Mike Canham and his team the building was just about finished for the opening event. The three glazed sliding doors arrived in the nick of time (so I don't need to name and shame the supplier) and they were fitted ready for the official opening.
So much happened in the last three days apart from the delay with the doors. The light fittings chosen were not in stock so last minute alternatives had to be found (late night trawling on the Internet!) then delivered and fitted. The floor in the main room had to be sanded and oiled and a host of other individual tasks completed.
And so here we are....the finished product (bar a few minor details).
Above is one of the large oak framed sliding doors that created so much angst.

The main teaching room is a delight being half glazed creating a feel of being right in the wood. The recycled pine floor from the Foxburrow Farm barn has turned the most incredible colour after being sanded down and treated with a hard oil. It was worth all the effort to dismantle and re-use (a special thanks for the Ipswich volunteer team who de-nailed and sorted all the good timber).
Small details make a real difference such as using off-cuts of oak to make the window sills and left-over cedar for the window reveals.

The covered deck area is as useful as the main room providing a large space for gathering school groups. The outside areas are illuminated with low energy lighting which is activated by motion sensors ensuring it is only on when required.

Yesterday Lord Tollemache (above left) undertook the honours and formally opened the building in front of an invited audience of funders and donors, SWT Trustees and many other people with a special link to Bradfield Woods.

The sun shone and our guests enjoyed some hospitality and had the opportunity to see the building at first hand followed by a walk in the woods. With around 100 people this was a real test of the building and its functionality.....and it worked brilliantly.

It's hard to believe that the building work only started in March and to reach this point in just over four months has been a remarkable achievement for all involved. There are still some bits and pieces to finish but the building will be open to the public this coming weekend and we are already starting to take bookings from schools and other organisations wanting to use the centre.

I must say a final thank you to Ralph and Richard of Modece Architects. Their inspiration has given us a building we will be proud of for a very long time and one that we hope in the coming years, many thousands of visitors to Bradfield Woods will equally enjoy.


  1. fabulous construction! grand job, well done! :)

  2. i like this construction work ....excellent work..!!