NESTLED in the heart of the Wentwood forest is a crafter's paradise - reclaimed wood, freshly sawn timber and a good helping of raw talent all combining to create the perfect place to pick up a unique gift this Christmas.

Gavin Hyatt took over the sawmill in 2011 after it fell into disuse after the Forestry Commission upped sticks.

(Gavin Hyatt inspects some timber)

"It was empty for about six months after the forestry commission pulled out," he said.


Magor Services named one of the most expensive service stations in the UK

Extinction Rebellion in General Election climate protest in Abergavenny

Stagecoach to trial new service after Chepstow residents' protests

"However, it had been run as a timber yard by Monmouthshire County Council for about nine years before that.

"We're trying to create a market for local wood owners."

All of the timber sawn at the site is UK-grown, and mostly from within an hour of Wentwood Forest.

(Just one of the drying sheds at Wentwood Timber Centre)

The showroom area is almost alone in its class in the UK – a substantial stock of hardwoods all arranged by species and thickness and easy to browse .

The site is deceptively spacious when viewed from the road.

The sawmill and numerous drying sheds - used to condition the timber - are just part of the picture.

(Wentwood Timber Centre's showroom)

Local crafters have taken up shop across the site, using individual fully-kitted out workshops to create unique pieces which are then sold on.

The materials used are nearly always locally sourced - it helps to have a sawmill less than 100 yards away - or reclaimed.

Among the things made at the site are wooden items such as chopping boards, mirrors and larger items such as coffee tables. There are also ceramics, glasswork, jewellery and other pieces.

One of the crafters on site is John Phillip.

(Some of the hand-crafted items for sale)

Mr Phillip creates what he describes as "desirable yet functional pieces for your home and business".

Employing traditional techniques and state-of-the-art technology such as laser cutting and engraving, Mr Phillip can create bespoke items and one-of-a-kind pieces.

The items are, for the most part, exhibited for sale in the building at the bottom of the site which also houses the newly open cafe.

"It's a far better place to come for Christmas shopping than a lot of places," said Mr Hyatt.

"It’s great to get something handmade."

Construction on the cafe began in January on a part of the site which used to be used to store wood.

All the wood used to make the bar area has been reclaimed.

(Henry Dawson runs the cafe at the Timber Centre)

The bar top was made from a pew bay in St Woolos Cathedral and the bar fascia utilised reclaimed wood from Sudbrook School.

Henry Dawson, who runs the cafe, said: "Before I did this I was landscape gardening, but I have a hospitality background.

"Working here is absolute bliss, it’s wonderful.

(A sign from the Forestry Commission days)

"The whole point is to promote the forest and how good it is for you.


"A disgrace" - biker slams motorcycle ban at popular Newport tourist attraction

Bulging beagle no more - Luigi of Newport is a canine slimming champ

Cremation fees in Gwent to increase by 7.5 per cent next year

"You also don’t have the traffic and the fumes. It can get fairly busy here throughout the school holidays and at weekends."

The site will soon cater for even more people as plans are in the works to create a kids’ area as well as a place for mountain bikers to park their bikes and horse riders to tether their horses. This is in the works at the bottom of the site beyond the cafe.

"Guided mountain bike tours are planned to start from next year," said Mr Dawson

"We’re also planning on serving homemade gingerbread and hot chocolate once the Christmas tree sales get under way down the road."

For more information about Wentwood Timber Centre, visit