Making Local Woods Work conference at Hill Holt Wood: Reflections by Hannah Burns


Hannah Burns, founder/director of Nature by Nurture Forest School CIC, kindly shares her insights from our recent Making Local Woods Work conference at Hill Holt Wood.

“What a pleasure to be welcomed by staff with big smiles whom guided us to the beautifully designed Wood Hall for much welcomed coffee and pastries. Just in time to be directed through to the stunning ‘rammed earth hall’ where we were introduced to the Founders and staff team at Hill Holt Wood by Norman Dandy, Project Manager for the Plunkett Foundation and the Making Local Woods Work programme.

“Sitting with my coffee and cake and taking it all in I felt a sudden sense of belonging. Looking around the room it became clear that I was the ‘baby’ of the group; a room full of enthusiastic, like minded, passionate people. Traveling from Scotland to Devon and coming from many different projects spanning many different outcomes all with one common theme. ‘Saving and sharing ancient woodland’

“Hearing from all the speakers left me feeling I was definitely in the right place, my inner fire burning fiercely again and for the first time ever a feeling of ‘I am able to reach my dreams’. Because seeing is believing, and hearing Karen, Nigel and their team talk about their own journey to success resonated so loudly within me. During Karen’s speech I found myself biting my cheeks and wiping back the tears; hearing her talk about the resilience they had had, the sacrifices made and the energy they both ploughed into ‘Making their Local Wood Work’ Karen’s passion for supporting the young people and Nigel’s vision and the determination they showed in the face of challenge and adversity.

“Following this we engaged in our workshops where again my inner fire was fuelled; clarity gained and much learned. The amazing staff, venue, exquisite food and service all encompassed within the beautiful woodland a place of quiet contemplation. Just perfect for learning and developing at your own pace. Seems visions can become realities and in a short space of time.

“I took a lot away from the conference, strength in knowing I too in 10 years’ time could be standing in our own earth building giving a similar talk to others following their dreams. Thank you for welcoming and sharing your stories at a time it was much needed to support our exciting development at NBNFS.”

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