A major part of the Our Woods festival was an invitation for local people to discover, explore and celebrate the rich heritage of Corby’s urban woodlands and royal forests stretching back to pre-Roman Britain through to the present.
The project examined the past, using it as a tool to inform and understand the present, creating interest and momentum within the local community. Our aim was - and continues to be - for this rich heritage to be more highly valued, more frequently used, and better maintained for the future.
The strength of the project revolved around the involvement of local experts with in-depth knowledge of this heritage. Together, they worked with local people, informing them about the rich natural landscape around them, collaborating with them to draw out and document their developing understanding of this unique heritage.
Central to this process was Ben Waddington, whose company, “StillWalking” (https://twitter.com/stillwalkers), aims to engage the world through walking. Ben’s approach was the perfect vehicle, not only for helping our local experts evolve their own methodologies, but also ensuring a coherent and consistent design to the activities.
Our local experts were:
- Peter Hill has an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge about the ancient Rockingham Forest within which Corby sits
- Jeff Best has extensive knowledge about Kings Wood (managed by the Wildlife Trust) in Corby, its heritage and history, how to manage the woodland, and about the flora, fauna and arboriculture
- Ian Wilson works for the Wildlife Trust and manages Kings Wood
- John Haughton is an active volunteer within Kings Wood and an expert on local fungi
- Jo Blake Cave is Northamptonshire’s most talented and experienced storyteller with an in-depth understanding of the county and its local tales.
The activities these experts ran gave people a new appreciation of these woodlands, through both heritage and natural heritage, a better understanding of how and why the woods are managed in the way they are, combining to inspire the people of Corby to experience, celebrate, take ownership and explore their woodlands on a regular basis.