Forest of Dean protesters fight big woodland selloff
- There's been nothing quite like it in the ancient Forest of Dean since the last time a Conservative government tried to privatise Britain's largest oak forest.
In 1993, the threat to sell off 42 square miles of woodland between the rivers Severn and Wye in Gloucestershire was only repelled after huge protests by locals and ramblers. At the rally today more than 3,000 people, backed by celebrities, bishops, leading conservationists and politicians, pledged to defend "the people's" trees from what they fear will be a corporate land grab.
"It is extraordinary that one of the country's most ancient forests – a place of great beauty that is enjoyed by so many people – is also one of its least protected. The Forest of Dean … should continue to be managed as a whole for the widest public benefit," said the writer Bill Bryson, president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
"The green heart of Britain is not for sale," said conservationist David Bellamy.
No one climbed the trees as at the Newbury road protests in the 1990s, but as snow fell on the Forest of Dean objectors marched, sang songs and then ignited a bonfire built to resemble Big Ben to show their opposition to Westminster plans.http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/03/forest-of-dean-protesters-woodland?INTCMP=SRCH