Lobby for definition of forestry to be updated please!

Deb Millar deb at beccott.com
Tue May 18 16:36:15 BST 2010

Dear colleagues and friends,

It seems appropriate in the run up to what looks like being a fantastic conference "More Children in the Woods" to remind you that there remains a huge obstacle to achieving this.

Currently educational and community use of woods is permitted by planning regulations only if it is ancillary- ie takes place less than 28 days a year. This is a massive constraint for forest school practitioners all over the country and many have informed me that they would be unable to continue their activities if they adhered to this.

Some of you are aware that our community group Central Somerset Outdoor Learning Partnership www.wilderwoods.org  has had to abandon seeking educational use through South Somerset District Council for one of our woods. 

We hoped to apply for educational use so that we could continue to involve children in the maintenance of the wood. We explained that in keeping with our environmental policy to minimize vehicle use and encourage sustainable practice, we used the nearby parish car park but were told this wasn't acceptable. The parking requirements Highways asked for instead were just too excessive for a small conservation project (double entrance, tarmac, marked parking bays, turning circle - all in a heavily sloping wood of less than 7 acres). We therefore continue our activities severely restricted and many of the families we worked with are really disappointed. In particular the informal use by our community - pre-school, primary school, scouts and Sunday School has had to be stopped altogether as the 28 days are too precious. 
Children are being prevented from playing in woods by this restriction.
We need to lobby for the legal definition of forestry to be updated in line with current policy.
Defra's latest strategy for Trees, Woods and Forests makes it clear that community and educational use of woodlands is core to it's aims. 

We would be so grateful if anyone who felt able could write to their MPs about this matter. The number 10 petition service has been disbanded for the moment but individual letters are often more powerful. If anyone would like an example to save time please contact me.

Do forward this to anyone who maybe interested and please bear this problem in mind as you enjoy a great conference.

Kind regards,

Deb Millar
Central Somerset Outdoor Learning Partnership
Wilderwoods Forest School
email: forestschool at beccott.com
tel 01458 223444
mob: 07778563611

From: rowena kenny 
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2010 9:18 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Fantastic Forest School conference!

Dear all,

In case you have not seen this yet, please find attached a flyer and booking form for a conference which may well be of interest to you or colleagues?  The Institute for Outdoor Learning Forest School Special Interest Group is hosting a conference 'More Children in the Woods' at Worcester Uni on 5th June.

The conference, will explore current Forest School practice, research and developments and be an excellent opportunity to network. The line up of speakers includes:

    * Richard Louv - Author of the inspirational ‘Last Child in the Woods, Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder’ and co founder of the Children and Nature Network

    * Jenny Doyle – Oxfordshire Forest School Advisor

    * Sara Knight – Author of ‘Forest School & Outdoor Learning in the Early Years’

    * Jon Cree – Training Coordinator Bishopswood Centre, Worcestershire

    * Susannah Podmore – Forest Education Initiativeincluding Richard Louve

Best wishes


Rowena Kenny

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