A wide range of people visit the Forest and benefit in different ways from spending time in the woodlands. Tom and his wife Vishva are both enjoying retirement after demanding careers and take daily walks in the Forest. We find out from Tom why they both have a special affinity with the Forest.
What attracted you to visit the Forest?
We live in Spernal in the heart of the Forest and have been firm supporters of its development almost from its inception. With a keen interest in history, having read it at university, I appreciate that the development of the Forest has redressed the overuse of land and the use of chemicals. Gypsum was mined in his area and the ghosts of quarries show some of the extent of the industry.
What does the Forest mean to you?
The Forest is part of our home. The barn we live in was built in the 16th century with oak beams from the original Forest of Arden. The new Forest gives the area its identity. It adds to our sense of belonging and it now part of our lives.
Do you have a favourite part of the Forest?
The area of the Heart of England Forest around Coughton Court is steeped in history right back to the 11th century and witnessed the plague and pestilence of those days. I am sure the folk back then enjoyed the forest around them and benefitted from the environment as much as many of us do in the current pandemic.
We both love the Millennium Way with its centuries old Oak trees and appreciate the work that the charity is doing to protect and enhance this historic area.
How much time do you spend in the Forest?
We enjoy a daily walk from our front door and find it helps us to relax, both physically and mentally. Sometimes we will walk for six or seven kilometres, especially if we follow the footpaths through Middle Spernal taking in Windmill Hill with all its history.
Have you learnt anything new from visiting the Forest?
We learn new things every day. Walking in the Forest has helped us discover the history of the area, and taught us more about the flora and fauna and their importance to the environment. We see new animals and people on every visit too. It all adds to the overall experience of our walks. We look forward to more of the Forest being opened up to the public in future, so we can discover new places to explore.
Has the pandemic changed how you feel about the Forest?
During lockdown we have found being in the natural environment helps us to see the bigger picture and to feel part of a larger, more meaningful community. We have noticed an increase in wildlife and have found our walks encourage us to be increasingly calm and reflective.
Visiting the Forest
The Forest stretches along the Warwickshire / Worcestershire border, taking in Shakespeare’s Forest of Arden and the ancient Forest of Feckenham, from south Birmingham to the north Cotswolds. It is a beautiful and very special part of the world, rich in history and legends, rolling green countryside, rivers, and busy market towns. Plan your visit to the Forest.