You may not appreciate being reminded of the fact, but Christmas is not so very far away. However, the good news is that finding quirky, interesting gifts for friends and family will be a cinch if you head to the Tweed Valley Forest Festival Wood Market (19-20 Oct)!
Held just behind the Tontine on Tweed Green, and now very much the centerpiece of this long-established festival, the Wood Market has gained a well-earned reputation as the premier event of its kind in Scotland.
Down on Tweed Green itself, visitors can watch as some of the country’s top chainsaw artists create intricate sculptures as part of this year’s Carvefest; small woodland owners who’ve always wanted to saw their own timber can have a nosey at a chainsaw-based mobile sawmill; while there are opportunities to discover the world of bodging – a traditional wood-turning craft – plus have a shot at making everything from wooden spoons to bat boxes and traditional broomsticks for Halloween. And with demonstrations of horse logging also lined up, Tweed Green will be buzzing with activity all weekend.
However, it’s inside the nearby Peebles Community Centre where the real Christmas treats can be found. The indoor element of the Wood Market brings together many of Scotland’s finest producers under one roof. Here, visitors can find bespoke wooden furniture, clocks, sawn timber for home projects, chopping boards, toys, carvings, mirrors and pretty much every other imaginable item made of wood. Look out too for a whole range of fun activities and entertainment for the whole family.
Talking of children (both large and small), one of the most popular events in the whole festival is the annual Scottish Conker Championships, again held on Tweed Green. Players compete in four categories – Junior, Youth, Adult and Rogue – using traditional horse chestnuts. The championships are once again organised and refereed by Borders Forest Trust to ensure there is no funny business.
Last year saw almost 100 entrants young and old bid to be crowned king or queen of the conker ring. Smash Off starts at 12 noon on Saturday, so be sure to have your best conkers at the ready!
Organised by the TreeFest Partnership, the 2019 Tweed Valley Forest Festival runs over the weekend of 19-20 October. For more details, visit www.forest-festival.com
Photograph: Rich Rowe