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South Shropshire forest's folklore brought to life

By Lucy Todman | Ludlow | South Shropshire entertainment | Published:

A community project has been brought to life in a south Shropshire forest.

Local arts organisation Storymine and Forestry England have teamed up to mark the centenary of the Forestry Commission this year and work on a new trail in the Mortimer Forest near Ludlow.

The trail opened this week and is called the ‘Portal/ Here and There’ project. It was inspired by the famous ‘Doors of Ludlow’ poster, fairy tales and folk stories.

The door handle symbolises a Portal into the lives of the residents of Ludlow and the surrounding area. Casting multiple, individual, porcelain ceramic door handles, the work explores what Mortimer Forest means to people and how it shapes their sense of belonging, identity and relationship to the area.

The project collates the stories of local individuals, as well as former and current forestry staff, to explore the diverse community that enjoys the forest. These personal perspectives of the forest have been turned into online films linked to an installation around the Easy Access Trail from High Vinnalls car park.

Amanda Dixon, learning and communication officer at Forestry England said: “The project has been a great way to commemorate 100 years of forestry. The Forestry Commission was founded in 1919 to restore the nation’s woods and forests following the First World War, and the first tree planted in Mortimer was in 1923. The memories captured really show how much forestry has changed over the years and just how much the woodland means to people for many different reasons.”

Local artist Emma Summers from Storymine CIC added: “We are delighted to be creating an art project with Forestry England in Mortimer Forest in this significant centenary year; to gather and share some of the many stories and memories of people’s connection to this beautiful space and to celebrate its unique stories.”

Six local community groups have been invited to participate in hands-on workshops in the forest in September to slip cast a door handle of their own and explore the new trail with a Forestry England guide.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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