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Local man, Colin Elford has spent more than 20 years working for the Forestry Commission – and his dedication looks set to pay off as his book ‘A Year in the Woods’ goes on sale this week.
53-year-old Colin is putting his years as a New Forest wildlife ranger (across Dorset and Wiltshire) to good use by sharing his love of the great outdoors with interested readers. He explained:
“I have always enjoyed writing and I have so much enthusiasm for the forest that it seemed natural to share my experiences and knowledge with others. My wife has often joked that I’m married to my job but when you read my book you realise why. The forest has so many elements to excite you and I would encourage anyone to turn off the TV, pull on a pair of walking boots and enjoy the unique atmosphere literally on their doorstep.”
Colin’s wildlife ranger role is incredibly varied – from deer management, clearing ponds, and inspecting fences to meeting visitors, overseeing forestry work and monitoring certain species of butterfly and reptile. He is also responsible for wider habitat management, ensuring that the age structure of plant life is varied enough to create diverse habitats for the forest’s many creatures.
“Essentially I spend my working days alone – alone but for the deer, squirrels, rabbits, birds and many other creatures inhabiting the woods. To be able to share this ‘hidden nature’ with others is very fulfilling. It was also important for me to demonstrate that, unlike nature reserves, Forestry Commission woodlands are working forests - a place for both timber production and visitor recreation. I hope my book will provide a better understanding of the work undertaken by Forestry Commission staff to ensure that, within this working environment, the diversity, interest and beauty of the woodland is maintained.”
Colin’s book will be available in hardback by Hamish Hamilton, priced £14.99, from 4 March 2010. Colin lives in Cranborne Chase with his wife and enjoys regular visits from his three grown up children and grandchildren. He concluded:
“I have been able to prove something to myself in writing ‘A Year in the Woods’ – a subject so close to my heart – and I certainly hope to continue writing about our stunning local wildlife in the future!”
NOTES TO EDITOR
1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. It supports woodland owners with grants; tree felling licences, regulation and advice; promotes the benefits of forests and forestry; and advises Government on forestry policy. It manages more than a million hectares (2.5 million acres) of national forest land for public benefits such as sustainable timber production, public recreation, nature conservation, and rural and community development. For more information, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest
Paula Quigley or Louise Perfect at Grayling PR, tel 02380 382970 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Libby Burke at the Forestry Commission on 02380 286832.