Going Back to the Forest

  • 5th July 2017

WAAS joined other partners at the Forest day at Speke House in April to promote the Foresters’ Forest


The Forest of Dean have been awarded £2.5m by Heritage Lottery Fund for their Foresters’ Forest landscape partnership project, and we’re pleased to say we’ve been appointed to help local people explore and research the archaeology of the forest. A pilot phase had already taken place in specific areas, and HLF are now funding the full project over the next five years. The project led by the Forestry Commission  aims to raise awareness and participation in the built, natural and cultural heritage that makes the Forest special.


As part of the first phase we trained lots of local people to go out and check features which had been identified by LiDAR. This is a form of aerial photography which can strip away trees virtually, revealing hidden earthworks and details of the landscape underneath. This is ideal for woodland areas and means that lots of previously unknown archaeological sites can be seen. These still need to be checked out to see what they’re like on the ground and if they’re really archaeology, so we went and helped volunteers to go out and check out over 225 potential sites which have been added to the historic record.

Rob explaining about archaeology to children at the Yorkley dig


We also ran a community excavation in Yorkley, uncovering evidence of industrial activity. Open days allowed people from the local community to come and view the dig, and we also had local schools come and find out the history on their doorstep.

Community dig at Yorkley


We will be starting training volunteers for the latest phase in the Autumn. Once again people will be going out to check out potential sites identified from LiDAR – there’s about 1500 more to do!. We will also be carrying out further community excavations, giving people a chance to dig under expert supervision, and creating education resources for use in the classroom.


The project encompasses lots of different aspects, and as well as archaeology, there is also environmental surveys, conservation work, as well as celebrating the forest through music and literature. Lots of these strands will combine, and we look forward to seeing how the archaeology can contribute to the overall scheme.


For more information about the project or to sign up as volunteer go to or check out their Facebook page.

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