On Sunday and Monday I attended the Government's Independent Forestry Panel's first visit which was to the Forest of Dean. We stayed in the heart of the forest and had two fascinating days of meetings and visits. What was remarkable was the passion local people have for their local woodlands - a strong culture of association, sometimes through employment, residence, family or simply leisure. The history and traditions still active and / or treasured were legendary. The support for their local Forestry Commission representatives was obvious. We were made welcome and I know that all the Panel got a lot from the visit. I am looking forward to the contrast with Keilder Forest (the largest man made forest in Europe) and the NE which we visit next.
On the Monday afternoon John Wilding, in his capacity as member of the SW FC Regional Advisory Committee, attended a workshop the Panel was holding with regional stakeholders. There were seven tables each chaired by a Panel Member - John was allocated to my table but we both agreed that he should find somewhere else to sit! It was great to see the great and good from the forestry world congratulating John on the award of his well deserved MBE!