We are very grateful for the financial support of Scottish Natural Heritage and LEADER towards this work.
We are also grateful to the BIG Lottery Community Wildlife programme for their support of our work with children and young people.
Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world
Giants in the Forest
So if you go down to the woods today remember to look out for our new residents Bob, Anton and Fergus they moved to the forest in April.
Giants in the Forest combines art, technology and the natural environment, to inspire creative activity. Giant organic masks have been constructed, seeded and suspended in the forest of Falkland, where they will hang throughout 2013, growing and changing with the seasons.
Giants in the Forest is all about getting outdoors and experiencing Scotland's most amazing wilderness.
Giants in the Forest is a Vision Mechanicsproject and is part of Year of Natural Scotland 2013.
After the storm
Wood carver Martin Brockman, builder Jamie Proud and colleagues, directed by John Fox, co-director of Dead Good Guides and former director of Welfare State International, created a temporary sculptural trail which John refers to, with a touch of self-mocking humour and pathos, as "an arboreal cloister with twelve stations of the forest".
Created by recycling fallen wood left by the storm with a minimal budget (fuelled by local generosity including a family who wanted to support a project in memory of their daughter who loved these woods and had been killed in a recent tragedy) the work involved over two dozen volunteers.
The twelve stations took you from a view over a storm-blown ravine past a crucified blood-coloured beech tree which then turned ghostly white. Following the marks of destruction, you came across a procession of refugees by Hannah Fox. They were emerging from the tangled roots of an upturned tree – not sure who was leading them or where they were going. Finally you arrived at the heart of the site marked by 3 flags handcrafted by Naomi Edwards. Here you were welcomed by the return of the light, a place to rest for a short time and a sound installation by Dan Fox (from a solar source) that offered storm stories for reflection.
Finally on your way back, you had an opportunity to leave your own reflections on a beautifully crafted clootie tree by Duncan Copley before returning to the starting point, perhaps with a different perspective. A temporary installation delivered in partnership with the Centre for Stewardship, was situated in compartment 50 by the Pillars of Hercules on Falkland Estate.
Subject to benign elemental and human forces, it remained in the woods till 3rd of January, the first anniversary of the storm that blew down many thousands of trees in the landscape and millions of trees in central Scotland.
2012 has been a very busy year in the Forest of Falkland.
The January storms brought both chaos and opportunity (as described above). Clearing paths blocked by fallen trees took time and effort, but brought in a number of new volunteers; some of these have since become regulars in the Monday Conservation Group task days. If Mondays don’t suit, we always need help with surveys and other tasks which can be done at any time – just get in touch with Sam, our Woodland Ranger.
Our ‘Woodland Awakening’ programme of events, celebrating signs of spring as part of Fife’s Snowdrop Festival, was very well attended with enthusiastic feedback from participants. Snowdrop-themed craft workshops for families and adults produced some lovely felted and quilted wall hangings, and for our feathered garden visitors, we made willow bird feeders. We enjoyed the visits of over 100 children from ten different primary schools who came to learn about woodland wildlife and completed some beautiful artwork with artist Jan Hendry.
During the Easter and Summer school holidays the woodlands were lively with youngsters taking part in our holiday clubs for ages 8-12. These activities encourage children to explore, play in and learn about the forest, developing new skills and having a lot of fun. Please check the events pages for details of future holiday clubs in the Forest of Falkland.
In May and June, we ran another Introduction to Forestry course for pupils aged 14-16 from Bell Baxter High School. As well as tackling a range forestry tasks and learning about woodland ecology, they also tried their hands at green woodworking and all went away with a stool made from an ash tree they had watched being felled. Funding from the Forest Education Initiative Partnership made it possible to run this course.
The Big Tent festival in July was a great success with over 10,000 people enjoying a wide range of wood-related activities, crafts, demonstrations, talks and debates. The Woolly Tree has been a great attraction since it was dressed in its coat of many colours in time for the Big Tent. At least 40 people aged 9-93 contributed to this community arts project, knitting and crocheting colourful pieces representing the usually unseen parts of a tree (roots and wood cell structure). Several members of the group have now joined the new Living Lomonds Quilt project which will be continuing into the New Year. Details of this and other art and craft workshops and events are on the Events Page, which is regularly updated.
A new team of Woodland Assistants joined us in October; they’ll be with us for six months under the Community Jobs scheme, making a much-appreciated contribution to woodland management, path maintenance and landscape restoration. We are delighted that nearly all of our previous Community Jobs team went on to full time employment after leaving us.
All of these activities fit within the Statement of Intent we have put together to describe the ways we hope to develop our work in the Forest of Falkland.
Bench made by green woodworker Kenny Grieve with help from the pupils of Auchmuty Secondary School in Glenrothes, part of the outdoor learning base
People’s lives will be enhanced by:
The forest will offer opportunities for good work, with people:
The forest will become a popular and reputable place for learning with: