Foresters' Forest
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About Us

Lottery funded

We are delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund have recognised the importance of our land, above and below ground, with a grant of £2.5m to support 38 different community based projects that uncover, reveal, share and celebrate our heritage.

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 land, our heritage, our people, The Foresters’ Forest.

Th’varest is ower wum which is weshed by them there rivers and vur zum time the varester allus kips izzelf to izzelf. Varum th stwuns, oods and ‘ills of these yer varest the varester byunt afeared of workin vur therzelves. We bin proud to zarve our varest land which is zo zed part of thic country of long eared uns, we byunt Welsh either, we be varesters.

[Forest Dialect translation by Derek Yemm]

Our Partnerships

Foresters’ Forest is a National Lottery Heritage Funded Landscape Partnership programme, formed from an association of 32 partner organisations and local community groups within the Forest of Dean.

Led by Forestry England, the partnership brings together a wide range of partners aiming to raise awareness and participation in the built, natural and cultural heritage that makes our Forest special.

The partnership is governed by the Programme Board, which is the decision making body for the partnership, and a Community Stakeholder Group who ensure that the programme is relevant to, and supported by, the local community.

The Area

The Foresters’ Forest programme area is broadly based around the historic ‘Hundred of St Briavels’, but has been expanded in certain directions to include particular areas for specific project purposes.

The ‘Hundreds’ are collections of parishes that are understood to be part of the Saxon administration of England. The Hundred of St Briavels was described in the 13th century as including the parishes of:

Abenhall, English Bicknor, St Briavels, Littledean, Flaxley, Hewelsfield, Mitcheldean, Newland, Ruardean, Staunton and Lea.

Within the Hundred of St Briavels there are 390 listed buildings ranging from Clearwell Castle and the Speech House, to the old offices at Flour Mill colliery. It is also home to 59 scheduled ancient monuments such as Gunn’s Mill and Darkhill Ironworks as well as two registered parks, Flaxley Abbey and Clearwell Castle.

The Team

The day to day running of the programme is led by a small team based at Bank House in Coleford, until 31st March 2022.

The programme partnership has been governed by the Programme Board, supported by a Community Stakeholder Group.

Main Team

Communications & Community Engagement Officer Helen Chick

Programme Manager Sue Middleton

Contracts Manager Anne-Clare Landolt

Finance and Admin Officer Julie Godfrey

Volunteer Co-ordinator Deb Cook