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Heritage Lottery Fund - The Foresters' Forest

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What is the Foresters’ Forest?

For some of us, being a Forester is a birth-right, for some of us our claim is based on the sense of belonging that we get through living here.

Our Forest means different things to each of us. We all see it, touch it and enjoy it in different ways.

Our Forest is nationally important for so much, it is unique and irreplaceable and we want to protect what makes it so special.

We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund have recognised the importance of our land, above and below ground, with a grant of £2.5m to the Forester’s Forest Landscape Partnership. 

This funding will support 38 different community based projects that uncover, reveal, share and celebrate our heritage.


The projects are based around five themes – 

  • Our Stronghold for Nature
  • Revealing our Past
  • Celebrating our Forest
  • Exploring our Forest
  • Securing our Future

Our Stronghold for Nature recognises the national importance of the Forest of Dean for wildlife, and will provide fantastic opportunities for us all to learn about the plants and animals that make the Forest their home, as well as opportunities to help maintain and improve the forest’s habitats: waterways, ponds, mires, heathland and woodlands.

 Get involved:

  • Help survey, record and monitor our flora and wildlife including bats, butterflies, birds and reptiles!
  • Learn about our ancient and notable trees and help contribute to their future conservation
  • Help restore our waterways and create accessible ponds
  • Support the creation of open habitat and help to maintain it through grazing

Reveal our Past and rediscover our history and heritage through historic buildings, buried heritage, or capture the memories of local people and learn traditional craft skills.

Get involved:

  • Look for and record built and buried heritage hidden in the Forest
    Help to conserve historic buildings and sites
  • Hear about the geology, history and memories of local people in the forest through walks, talks and oral history recordings, using Forest Dialect
  • Learn traditional craft skills such as tanning, spinning, dying and weaving, woodworking and blacksmithing

Celebrate our Forest with our vibrant musical and literary traditions, to tell the story of our Forest, our villages and our people in books, poetry, art and music,

 Get involved:

  • Learn to play a brass instrument or participate in a choir and perform at Scarr Bandstand
  • Research or write a review about your favourite local author
  • Learn traditional skills to grow food in your own back garden
  • Volunteer to help clean up the forest by taking part in litter picking days
  • Work with the elderly in care homes to help them tell stories about the history and heritage of the Forest

Explore our Forest above and below ground, whether virtually through the internet, through improved access for all abilities at key sites or using new technologies such as mobile phone apps.

Get involved:

  • Download the Hidden Heritage app and explore our heritage while navigating the Family Cycle trail (available through the Apple or Android app store)
  • Volunteer to be a guide accompanying people on a mobility scooter
  • Take part in Heritage Open Days or develop a walk around the heritage sites in your village

Secure our Future by ensuring the next generation have the opportunity to see, hear and touch our Forest through traditions such as Freemining  playing in a band, or speaking in dialect. We need to encourage the next generation to explore what makes our Forest so special giving them a better understanding and respect for the unique landscape and heritage that we have.

Get involved:

  • Consider Freemining as a career with a new National Occupational Standards  qualification
  • Lead conservation, heritage and art activities for young people and families
  • Help local schools learn about our Forest heritage

How do I find out more?

 There are lots of things to see, do, explore and get involved in, so we hope you’ll join us, helping to make sure future generations of Foresters have the same opportunities to know, love and cherish the Forest of Dean as you have.


Visit our website –


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The Foresters’ Forest – Let’s keep it special.


Heritage Lottery Fund

Last updated: 10th October 2017

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.