Adrian's FoSF 2010 Report - Taking the Lid off Sherwood Forest
The year started off on the wrong foot, I was suffering health problems, no doubt exacerbated by the stress suffered due to the troubles over the 2009 Robin Hood Festival. I was looking forward to Major Oak Day and on the Friday before found myself in the Radio Nottingham Studio with Andy Whittaker for the morning show. The next day ( 20th ) I was down with the flu, that lingered on for ages and left me with Bronchitis and another idiot for a G.P. I spent most of my time confined to Barracks fast asleep on the bed, missing a great deal of early spring, but as I was not spending I decided to invest in a decent DSLR. Slowly I managed to get back on my feet and walks in the Forest were not very adventurous but distances increased with time. The DSLR opened up a whole new world of excitement and adventure with no processing costs I could happily shoot all day. My portfolio increased considerably and I could easily venture into the realms of Infrared and other disciplines including HDR.
Facebook interest continues to grow, the group has grown considerably, the Charity still continues to be funded out of my own pocket with the exception of one cheque for £20.00 gratefully received. But at least I'm working to try and preserve the forest in any way I can, and lets face it, it needs all the help it can get. The Forest still has the old Bye Laws in place, they are so old they were drawn up on a Typewriter. That's all well and good but it leaves the Rangers running around like headless chickens with their hands tied behind their backs, it's not fair on them or the Forest, they have a difficult enough job to do and are out all weathers and generally get the rough end of the stick, would you believe the Rangers even have to play nursemaid to a Herd of Pedigree cattle in the Grazing enclosures, now there's one happy farmer, don't the Rangers have enough work to do without that extra burden.. Still no sign of any forest Code being published on the Councils website, but they will follow me around Facebook with no trouble.
The Forest had had it's winter felling but I can never understand why the most troublesome trees were ignored, this was often mentioned by one or two of the Rangers, a specialist company being brought in to do the job. I was also experiencing a backlash in terms of harassment from Council staff, this was hotly denied but staff were told not to speak to me and this move prompted a hate campaign with certain members. .Perhaps you might be thinking that this is no more than fanciful dreaming, well you would be wrong. Later in the year I attended the Public enquiry into the Rufford ERF and was told by one person there that he had heard that Rangers were told by senior managers to disassociate themselves from his Group or go. OK so two of you heard the same story > not convinced > you soon will be, please download the PDF document, this was an eMail I received after I strongly complained about the ground around the Major Oak being used as a Circus ring, even displaying an image of the ground showing the surface totally destroyed, Please read they have the cheek of the Devil, they even have the audacity to suggest they are promoting the Friends of Sherwood Forest, what utter rubbish.
Circus Ring, deplorable to think this is the UK finest living monument and it's treated like this and then neglected for a whole year until the next bash !
Prosecution documents were drawn up regarding the 2009 Robin Hood Festival and submitted to Natural England to be actioned, I had ample material at hand, some of which was gleaned from the internet. As the Law stands I could not prosecute at this stage as this is entirely the prerogative of Natural England. While my submission was sound and would have stood up well in Court, the officer involved from Natural England decided to err on the side of the Council and declined to take matters further. The principal offender at that festival had his face plastered all over the prosecution documents, he was to all intents and purposes one of the Councils Blue eyed boys. Well when the 2010 festival came around I made a firm decision to Police that event at night to check on the behaviour of the employed Council contractors. The week before the official start of the festival who do you think we find setting up stall and trading in front of the Major Oak, Yep our little Blue eyed Boy, he stayed there throughout the festival and remained on site for several weeks after. Bear in mind the licence granted was only for one week only, but who cares Nic Broomhead ( Head of Parks ) said they could stay and that's OK with him so he's happy, why Natural England enter into the equation is anyone's guess, Broomhead is apparently a Law unto himself. The suggestion last year about moving the Campsite from the Major Oak area soon turned out to be another pack of lies, Security arrangements had been stepped up and I was working with the Police on every visit. On the first unannounced late night visit I found one fire burning, that was very quickly put out before I got there, apart from that it was quiet. My second and third visits there was nothing untoward which is as it should be, I can say without and hesitation that I had had a remarkable and very sobering effect on the behaviour of the Council employees. I obtained a copy of the Licence for that event and it was no surprise to find the document as you may possibly say " Laughable " Leaving licensing to a Head Ranger is wholly irresponsible and to undertake such a task as organising an event such as this is daunting, when you consider it would only take one stupid individual to cause a death and Izzy Banton ( Head Ranger and event organiser ) could possibly find herself on the wrong end of Corporate Manslaughter charges, not very nice, and considering the way other senior management behave -- well !
Later on in the year a clearing was made in the Forest just at the side of the path down to the Major Oak for the October " Muppet " show, cutting down mature Birch trees just for personal vanity, there are however trees that need cutting down as a matter of urgency only a few hundred yards away from this Muppet clearing that have been ignored for so many years it's just not true, they are growing straight into the roots of Ancient Oaks, and no one gives a crap !
With regard to the community we had a four week Pubic Enquiry into the Rufford ERF at Rainworth, it was tedious and very complex, how one single person could arrive at any decision at all defies belief when you looked at the mountains of paperwork, probably why we have not had a decision yet ( Mid February 2011 ). We were able to support the main opposition group PAIN which was headed by the very competent Mr Slomo Dowen. Believe me no one wants an incinerator of that nature anywhere in the area. Just look at the image on the left, the building dwarfs the twin 250ft high stacks
In the middle of the year UK Coal applied for permission to mine under Sherwood Forest, permission was granted without a single murmur from any of the Councillors. Natural England was allowed to object but this proved futile in what looked like a rigged vote. ( Heard that one before ).
In both the UK Coals application and the Rufford ERF was there any sign of representations from Ms Banton Head Ranger for Sherwood Forest, nice to know she is incapable of expressing any concern for the Forest she is charged with managing !
2010 is the year Kim joined us working as our Model, thank you Kim you are a valuable asset, Kim cares for disabled and mentally incapacitated persons as a full time job.
To finish the year we received an offer that we could not possibly refuse, the net result is that while it will need a certain sum of money to be invested it will leave us very well placed in 2011, a far stronger and more robust organisation.
FoSF Founder and Governor.