I was born and brought up in Woolaston, so cannot ‘officially’ claim to be a Forester!
Like many of my generation, I left the area at age 18 to attend college, and then found work away. So it was only as retirement approached that we were able to make the decision to return to Gloucestershire, now living near Coleford.
The timing of the move couldn’t have been better as I soon heard about Foresters’ Forest – then starting its Development Phase, which had a whole host of projects that were of interest to me. I first heard about it at a Forest of Dean Local History Society meeting, shortly after I became a member.
Although we had visited the Forest many times over the years, when visiting family in Woolaston, I had never had the time to develop more than a basic knowledge of the history and traditions of the Forest. Foresters’ Forest seemed an ideal way of rectifying the gaps in my knowledge!
Foresters’ Forest has given me the opportunity to become involved in a range of projects. Some reflect long-term, but little explored interests such as archaeology (I’ve been involved in field surveys and two digs… so far!) and research (profiling writers with links to the forest for the project ‘Reading the Forest’). Some have taken me in totally new directions (such as participating in Bat Surveys). Others have tapped more directly into existing skills – such as a background in linguistics and (next on the agenda) conducting interviews (both within the ‘Voices from the Forest’ project).
In all these projects, I’ve got to know other people with similar interests. Some are true Foresters or have lived in the forest for many years. Others, like me, are people either new to the area or have returned to the area after living away.
I continue to enjoy the various projects with which I am now involved. The only problem is, I keep seeing additional very tempting projects being promoted!!
Keep it up, Foresters’ Forest.