This year’s RFS flagship summer visit is to be held in the National Forest.  This project is transforming 200 square miles of central England – demonstrating the power of trees to benefit lives, the landscape and the economy.  At the centre of the National Forest is an area of about 10 square miles which has seen the most significant increase in tree coverage over the last 25 years, with woodland cover increasing from 1% to 27%. This area, around the mining village of Moira, has been designated as “The Heart of the Forest”.

The day’s visit will focus on this story of rapid transformation from an intense mining heritage to one dominated by forest – literally turning ‘black’ to ‘green’.  To put this in context we will have a brief introduction to the heart of the National Forest before continuing the journey through time by the exploring the changed landscape on foot.  Topics en route will include:

  • challenges of establishing woodland on land reclaimed after coal and clay extraction;
  • lessons learnt from woodland establishment in the National Forest;
  • creating a whole new landscape from a palette of woodland, grassland, wetland and parkland;
  • the next steps for reclaiming a huge, yet-to-be-transformed open-cast mining hole; and
  • opening inviting the public to relish the outdoors, the newly created habitats on their doorstep and the value of trees in particular.

A range of experts will be on hand to draw on their own first-hand experiences in these subjects and more; so expect lively discussions on quirky wildlife thriving on post-industrial soils, under-planting disease-affected ash, hosting major public events in a woodland setting, obtaining licences to enable roading infrastructure through woodland that is also home to great crested newts, recycling plastic tree guards, setting up bait stations for grey squirrel control and beehives in woodlands.  We will conclude the day by hearing from a community woodfuel group who are helping to manage local woods in return for firewood – demonstrating how a wood culture is gradually emerging from a society once centered on coal and clay.

The itinerary for the day is as follows:

   10:00   Meet at Conkers Discorby Centre carpark, Moira, North West Leicestershire DE12 6GA

   10:00 – 10:30   Coffee and Tea, Radon Room, Conkers

   10:30   Introduction / Presentation

   10:50   Walk (lunch on route)

   15:00   Close

Please note that this will be a circular 2.5 mile, grass path route on foot, and do bring a packed lunch, to be taken outside on one of the stops.

For disease control, please bring clean sturdy footwear, and wear suitable outdoor clothing – the cap for the day will be £3 for members and £5 for each guest.  Your footwear will be sprayed both at the start and finish of the meeting with a disinfectant. 

To confirm your attendance at this visit, please RSVP to [email protected]

If there are any queries please do not hesitate to contact either Rob Stockley or Liz McGhee on 01536 408840. 

We look forward to seeing you on the 20th!

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