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Saving skills from our rural heritage

 A social enterprise is encouraging people to revive traditional, land-based skills that were once common in the Forest of Dean.

 The Rewild Project runs Heritage Craft and Edible Forest workshops subsidised through the Heritage Lottery Funded Foresters Forest programme.

 Heritage Craft Skills workshops include green woodworking, woodland skills, textiles and natural dyeing, willow weaving, organic traditional tanning and blacksmithing.

 The Heritage Craft workshops tap into the Forest’s rich rural heritage, and it’s hoped that they will preserve and revitalise the ancient skills for new generations of people living in the Forest of Dean.

 Edible Forest Skills workshops teach people how to manage traditional organic, perennial, edible food systems in back gardens, fields or community spaces. Workshops include designing edible spaces, pruning fruit trees and propagation, as well as fermenting and foraging.

Scott Baine from The Rewild Project said: “Many traditional skills are sadly in danger of being lost in our modern world, and we want to change that. The forest is home to many old or neglected orchards, for example, but people can feel that they lack the skills or confidence to know what to do with them.

 “It can be hugely rewarding to learn how to grow your own food, or make something practical and beautiful.

 “We want to inspire people, bring them together and build confidence. Traditional skills and knowledge can make our communities stronger, healthier and more resilient. They are part of our heritage and belong to all of us.”

 The Rewild Project has worked with the Forestry Commission so that courses can be run in the Forest from a sustainably refurbished old forest workers’ shed, known as Kensley Shed.

 A variety of experienced instructors will be teaching workshops throughout the spring and summer. To find out more about the Rewild Project or to book a workshop, visit www.therewildproject.com.

 Edible Forest Skills and Heritage Craft Skills are part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Foresters' Forest Partnership programme. 

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