Foresters Forest is a National Lottery Heritage Fund Landscape Partnership programme, formed from an association of partner organisations and local community groups within the Forest of Dean, the Project includes 36 individual but linked projects, which aim to raise awareness and participation in the built, natural and cultural heritage that makes the Forest special.
To find out more about Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust's involvement in Foresters Forest click here.
To find out more about the Foresters Forest project click here.
Milton Avenue Green Space, in Podsmead
The Trust has been working with the Podsmead (Gloucester) community since 2016 at the Milton Avenue Green Space. This is a great space for wildlife with a balancing pond, small woodland and wet grassland. Surrounded by housing, but full of wildlife, this green space had become overgrown and unloved. Working with the community the Trust has improved habitats, created interpretation features and increased usage by local people. This work continues and is in partnership with Podsmead Big Local.
In June 2021 we launched a new project, funded by Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioners, called Nature Nurtures. This project is a pilot and aims to demonstrate the preventative mental health benefits of nature for children. Working in Gloucester, Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean we will wild nature activities with children aged 5 - 14 years that have been struggling with low level mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression.
Over 5 weeks we are running activities including bush craft, wild art and foraging, to build children's confidence, social skills and team working. We are monitoring mental wellbeing throughout the 5 weeks.
This project is working in partnership with Young Gloucestershire, and concludes in March 2022.
Carers in Nature
From March 2021 we started running a programme of horticulture and nature activities for carers in Gloucestershire. This is giving carers some much needed respite from their caring work. They have the opportunity to attend sessions at Robinswood Hill Country Park in Gloucester, and learn about wildlife gardening, go on nature walks, and create features for their own gardens.
Supported by the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, carers will be given support to attend sessions where needed. Research carried out by Gloucestershire County Council in 2020 showed that carers are most looking forward to getting outdoors in nature and gardening following the pandemic. Carers in Nature will allow carers to do this in a safe, and guided environment. It will also demonstrate the benefits nature and green spaces can have on improving our health and wellbeing.
Return to the Hill
Since 2013 the Trust has been working, in partnership with Gloucester City Council, at Robinswood Hill Country Park in Gloucester to improve engagement by local communities with this green space. We have run events, education sessions and volunteer days.
‘Return to the Hill’ is a two-year project which began in January 2021 supported by the ‘National Lottery Heritage Fund’, Gloucester City Council and Gloucestershire Gateway Trust. Working with local partners such as Age UK, Star College, and the World Café, this project aims to make the reserve a place for everyone in the local community.
There are three main arms to the project, all with the aim of making nature more accessible to all:
- Memories of Robinswood Hill
Collecting stories, images and memories of the site from local people in the community. This will then be displayed as an exhibition in our new building. If you have a story or photo to share, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Improving Accessibility of the Hill
We will have access to a tramper mobility scooter for hire, and will be working with Star College to look at wheelchair friendly routes. We are going to develop some ‘all weather’ explorer backpacks and offer welly hire so that the site is easy to enjoy year-round.
- Increasing diversity
We are developing some ‘wildlife champion’ volunteer roles to help us think about how we can reach out to members of our community who don’t always know about us or think of visiting. This will include some events celebrating different local cultures, and some ‘takeovers’ of our café on site with delicious themed food offers.
We are running a series of events through the Spring and Summer this year, beginning with COVID-friendly self-directed activities. Keep an eye on our events page for the programme.
We will be launching a monthly ‘Nature Tots’ group running outdoor activities for preschoolers to enjoy. This is building on the success of our other groups at Crickley Hill, Greystones and in the Forest of Dean.
If you are interested in helping us with our events or any other aspect of the project please contact email@example.com and take a look at our volunteering pages for more details on volunteering.
Starting in June 2021 we are working with the Environment Agency in Gloucester to install 3 demonstration rain gardens. These will be located at the Friendship Cafe and City Farm in Barton and Gloucester Rugby Clubs Kingsholm stadium. Interpretation and leaflets will accompany the gardens to provide information on how people can create their own rain garden or use rain water in a more sustainable way. Find out more about Rain Gardens here.