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Family Forest Gatherings

A day of family connection through nature, mindfulness and crafts

Our Family Forest Gatherings run monthly either on a Saturday or during the school holidays, from Spring to Autumn.  Family connection in nature incorporating Forest School, nature crafts, bushcraft, traditional crafts, games and outdoor play.

A Day of Family Connection

Our next Family Forest Gathering will be held in Spring 2024.

 

Join us for our monthly gatherings (2024 dates TBC) where we will be running family friendly activities throughout the day.

Our activities encompass our themes of wellbeing, nature, experiential learning and play. We will be running workshops in bushcraft, family yoga/mindfulness and textiles.

Some of the family crafts & activities offered in 2023 were: making elder necklaces, wet felting, cooking on the fire, willow weaving, den building, toasting marshmallows, forest school games, making nature crowns, happa zome, clay faces, making wild garlic pesto (see gallery below for photos).

We will provide hot drinks and water, please bring a packed lunch/picnic for your family (we may provide food for some sessions, please check when booking).

Family Forest Gatherings are open to all family members and are SEN and neurodiversity friendly.  So why not bring along the grandparents, or maybe send the grandparents with the children while you have a break!

Address: Beaver Lodge, Whitecroft Road, Parkend, Lydney, Gloucestershire, GL15 4HG

If you have any queries please get in touch.

Example Day

10:30 am Arrival and free play

11:00 am Circle time (includes greeting, safety talk and what will be happening that day)

11:15 am Family Yoga Class (optional) or bushcrafts or play

12:00 noon Lunch - Please bring a packed lunch

12:30 pm Activities such as bushcraft and den building

1:30pm Activities such as felting and woolcrafts

During the day there will also be free play and art activities, snacks and drinks available.

Upcoming 2023 dates:

  • 20th May - Beltane / Late Spring theme (see below)

  • 17th June - Mid Summer / Summer Solstice (Litha) theme

  • 8th July - Growth & Abundance

  • 10th August - FREE places for those in receipt of free school meals - Food included this month

  • More dates coming in Spring 2024 (exact dates TBC)

  • Bursary Places available for families on low incomes.

Family tickets can be booked through our website.  There are three prices depending on the size of your family.  £35 for small families (e.g. 1 child) and single parent families. £40 for medium sized families such as 2 parents and 2 to 3 children. £45 for Large families with 4 or more children.

May 2023 Family Forest Gathering

Theme - Beltane / May Day / Late Spring

Garden themed family yoga class

Planting seeds

Foraging

Herb tea party

Bushcraft

Playdough

Mud kitchen

Green Man clay tree faces

Craft workshops

Craft Holds Space for Community

Why we include traditional crafts in our sessions

The connection between craft and family may not seem apparent in modern times. The current craft landscape has become a solitary and personalised journey with emphasis placed on outcomes rather than connection to the origin of materials and its history.  However, I invite you to get lost in the process rather than the final result. To feel the hands who have shaped the elements of craft and the stories behind it. 

 

Forest Family Gathering offers a respite from modern craft ideals and encourages you to be freed from the constraints of perfection. During the session, we allow the craft medium to hold the space. 

 

Traditionally, skills such as black smithing, willow weaving and wool processing, would be shared through generations. Supporting families and wider communities to gain an enriched relationship to land, animal and material. People would be brought up learning each step of the process. As they grew older, their skills would develop with the guidance of their siblings, parents and grandparents. 

 

Not only does craft hold space for families to connect through shared knowledge, it also has a number of significant neurological benefits. Craft supports fine and gross motor development, helping young people's ability to hold pencils, tie shoe laces etc. The process is meditative by engaging in the here and now. This has a number of benefits for mental health and helps reduce depression and anxiety, one of HARE's main aims. 

 

Craftwork encapsulates reverence. It holds spaces for intergenerational and ancestral connection. An ancient unspoken language, woven into our muscle memory. All we need to do to reconnect is re-establish this knowledge. In a world intoxicated by individualist ideologies, our antidote can be found in cultivating community craft.

Article by Georgie Chadwick

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