Our Story

About Us

Forest Crafts is small team of highly skilled artisans, sculptors and craftspeople who design and make a range of products which include items for the garden, unique pieces of play equipment and furniture for outdoor learning areas, and highly creative bespoke commissions. Forest Crafts undertakes work for a broad range of customers and organisations, but their main work is in the educational field. Past clients have included Bristol Zoo, London Zoo, several wildlife trusts, the woodland trust, RSPB Arne, National Trust properties such as Antony House and Saltram, RHS Rosemoor and other organisations such as exclusive hotels, blue chip company’s, and themed bars and restaurants.

Ben May and his wife Larry are at the heart of the business. Ben’s degree in Agriculture and then MA in Landscape Design sowed the seeds of a fledgling business in rural crafts and chainsaw sculpting. He now extracts much of the timber from the woods with his beautiful shire horses, designs and quotes for individual commissions, sawmills the timber, and does most of the carving work on the sculptures.

Having trained in artwork at Winchester, Larry has honed her skills for the artwork and surface design of Forest Crafts products. Larry tends to focus on the initial concept, plans and maquettes for bespoke commissions and site specific projects.

How the Business Developed

Established in 1996, the business has developed from horse logging, charcoal burning, rustic furniture making and hurdle making to where it is now. It has been a journey of discovery and now over 25 years later, Forest Crafts is a well established family business, with an immense amount of knowledge and experience behind it. This means that they have all the skills and equipment at their disposal to be able to take a tree in its natural form and convert into whatever you the customer would like. It is this relationship with the timber that enables them to capture the spirit of tree in many of the products that they make.

Environmental Credentials

Environmental issues have always been a concern for Ben and Forest Crafts has always at the heart of it’s business tried to locate its raw materials from as locally as possible. Trees are only felled as part of a proper sustainable woodland management plan as agreed with the Forestry Commission. Large tree trunks from trees blown over in storms are also used. Timber is often extracted using Ben’s magnificent shire horses (see www.DevonShireFarm.co.uk) which means that damage to flora and fauna in the woodlands is kept to a minimum. The onsite sawmill on the farm plus ancillary equipment enables the entire process from milling through to design and shaping of trees to take place on the farm, keeping transport and its associated harm to the environment down to a minimum. In an effort to keep as carbon neutral as possible, waste wood from the wood carving and furniture making processes is even used in the biomass boiler to heat the home, office and timber drying facility.