The Heart of the Forest

Keep history alive. Celebrate our heritage.

The Heart of the Forest is an area of roughly 10 square miles right in the centre of our Forest. It is the area that has seen the most significant forest growth and change in the last 25 years. Transforming from a landscape scarred from years of coal mining and heavy industry, to the beautiful green landscape you see today. Most of our inspiring projects have started here, and we continue to put focus on the area to ensure that its history is always kept alive and we have a community that is as engaged as we are in its future. We are looking for people to join us in telling the story of extraordinary landscape change, celebrating areas with rich industrial heritage and continuing to ensure the area is rich in wildlife and positive change. Whether you’re interested in wildlife, creative arts, conservation tasks or simply becoming a walk leader – we need you.

Connecting with industrial heritage

Tell the unique story of the landscape change in the National Forest and join the Heart of the Forest heritage group. Passionate about keeping history alive and accessible for generations to come, this group is focused on digitalising photographs, maps and other documents that might be of interest, as well as ensuring that local heritage features and collections are kept preserved. Helping to provide opportunities for volunteers to learn about heritage and archiving and care of collections.

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Immerse yourself in history

There are many places in the Heart of the Forest to connect with history and immerse yourself in the industrial and social heritage. Here is our list of local places and useful links to reconnect with history. Some offer more volunteering opportunities for you to get involved in.

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Connecting with natural heritage

See what wildlife wonders exist in the Heart of the Forest by helping to record sightings and identify species. The Heart of the Forest wildlife recorders group is a group of local nature enthusiasts who regularly meet to do just that. Surveying over 70 sites in the area, the group has regular field visits to record the species they encounter, to ensure that landowners are able to manage their sites to the benefit of wildlife.

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More volunteering opportunities

For a full list of volunteering opportunities in the Heart of the National Forest, you can visit our volunteering page.

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