The Forest of Dean is our land, the land between two rivers, a land on the edge, isolated and bypassed.
Shaped by its geology and its physical isolation this is the story of a hard-working, self-reliant community, a cradle of industry entwined with a stronghold for nature. Our Forest, our community – not quite in England, but nor in Wales, the Foresters' Forest.
Our Forest is a shadow of our past industrial endeavours, our built heritage is being lost, our memories are fading and our knowledge of our past is becoming blurred and grey. We have unique cultural traditions that are in danger of coming to an end as this generation passes. We need, we want to grasp this opportunity to draw a line under a long period of steady decline and loss, to take time to refocus on what makes our Forest, our Community, our Story special. To take time to inspire our youngsters and capture the knowledge and memories of our older generation before we lose that special link with our past. We want to learn about our Forest, to share that knowledge with our neighbours and our visitors. We need to channel that knowledge and expertise in to a renewed vigour and vibrancy, a renewed love and respect for the natural environment, our built and industrial heritage, and a renewed respect for and engagement with those who carry on our unique traditions. We would like to get involved – to do the right thing for our Forest, the Foresters' Forest – The Forest of Dean.
We wish to focus on understanding our natural heritage, surveying, recording and monitoring our wildlife
to plan and devise a permanent network of open space and ecological connections – bat-scapes and flyways – to determine a robust, deliverable network of open space to maintain what plants, animals and insects we have, and provide the backdrop to secure and expand the vibrancy of our natural environment – and by the end of the programme we would like to have increased the number of people directly involved in working with the natural environment; and have increased the level of knowledge and awareness of our wildlife and wild spaces within our wider community.
We need to explore our past, to rediscover our history and heritage. We would like to reveal our past, to tell the story of the Forest.
We aim to secure the knowledge we reveal through this programme so that we can use it to share, inspire and enlighten our neighbours, our children and visitors to our Forest. We must halt further decline and loss of our built heritage, whilst ensuring our Forest does not become a theme park or a stale fossil. We would like to channel our new knowledge and our vivid and vibrant story to support appropriate and sensitive economic development, and guide our decision making processes. We would like to enthuse our younger generation so that they carry our passion for our Forest, their Forest – the Foresters' Forest – into the future – to safe guard a unique, irreplaceable land – a land on the edge, between two rivers, isolated and bypassed.
A much loved and cherished land, a valued and supported heritage – loved by our ever changing and inclusive community – that is our vision.
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