Days out with the Woodland Trust
The Woodland Trust is the UK's largest woodland conservation charity. They protect and campaign on behalf of this country’s woods, plant trees, and restore ancient woodland for the benefit of wildlife and people. The Woodland Trust organise events all over the UK.
Walk and Draw
I recently had the opportunity to join one of their events. It was a walk and draw event in a wildflower meadow. Now you have to understand my drawing skills are very undeveloped, but they do say anyone can draw. The publicity stated no experience was necessary and all materials would be supplied. And it was true. On arrival we were given a pencil, a board and a few sheets of paper. First we had a talk from the wildlife ranger about the meadow and the wildflowers. Then we started to draw the landscape in front of us. Richard Bavin, the artist had some wonderful warm up exercises for us to do first. We then wandered down to the stream and started drawing. He was very encouraging and I enjoyed the process of putting marks on paper. A lovely way to spend three hours out in the fresh air.
The next day I listened to a conversation between Tobias Jones, Jackie Morris and Zaffar Kunial which was facilitated by someone from the Woodland Trust. They were talking about the role of trees and woods in finding inspiration and mental balance in our lives. Tobias Jones runs a community in Somerset that uses a woodland to help people who need support and Zaffar Kunial is a poet. He told a wonderful story about a laburnum tree in his garden in Birmingham. Apparently when he was a very young, he knew his birthday was when the tree flowered. His Dad was away one year and he asked his Mum when he would be home. She said when the leaves fall off ‘your’ tree. So he went out and shook it! They both have pieces in a book called Arboreal which I am putting on my Christmas list. Jackie Morris is a wonderful artist and has a book just out that she wrote with a favourite of mine Robert MacFarlane.
On 6 November 2017, the 800th anniversary of the influential 1217 Charter of the Forest, the Woodland Trust will launch the Charter for Trees, Woods and People. We had the opportunity to sign the charter and were given up a couple of very young wild cherry trees. We have an ancient woodland of our own to plant them in. So, we’ve bought some tree stakes and tubex shelters to protect these new trees from the deer that we often see in our woods. Fingers crossed they grow!
There are lots of famous forests in the UK and lots of our Trails go through them. You could enjoy The Nottingham Arboretum and City Treasure Hunt. Or the Edge of the Forest Murder Mystery which is on the western edge of the Forest of Dean. Or if you fancied a Spy Mission try one in the New Forest, Lyndhurst Forest and Footpaths. You could also try Symondsbury & Hell Lane. Hell Lane is one of Dorset's ancient holloways, which are sunken paths usually enclosed by ancient woodland trees. Sounds magical.