Life Gallery, Level 1: A Tribute to Heathcote Williams

Public historian of great English insurrections

A Tribute to Heathcote Williams, public historian of great English insurrections: excerpts from ‘The Red Dagger’ and ‘The Invisible Captain Swing'. Poetry recited by Ciaran Walsh.

Studio 2: 800 Years and Counting

The 1217 Charter of the Forests in the Forest of Dean and its Enduring Legacy

The Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire - royal larder or people's larder? The Charter of the Forests, a lesser-known but wider-ranging companion to the Magna Carta, confirmed any "freemen" or commoners could help themselves to many of the resources of forests across England. Within 500 years, those subsisting in the woods were declared illegal squatters as aristocrats and the Crown tried to fence them out and grab all the iron ore, coal, timber and land. Successive waves of tenacious, described […]

Freedoms of the Forest

800 Years and counting: celebrating the Forest Charter 1217

Hopewell Colliery, Speech House Rd, Coleford, Forest of Dean GL16 7EL An afternoon celebrating 800 years (and counting) of the 1217 Forest Charter, and how Foresters have defended those rights ever since. Stalls, Berry Hill Silver Band, theatre, live music, Vorrest poetry, Warren James, HOOF, and much, much more! Book a car ticket here

Hopewell Colliery

Hopewell Coliery
Some of you might remember Rich Daniels and Robin Morgan, the Free Miners who led the tour of Hopewell Colliery on our Warren James day in the Forest of Dean several years ago. Robin started work at the age of fourteen and remembers being lowered down a pit shaft in a bucket on his first day of work. Now nearly eighty years old he has decided to retire! Rich has now taken over the lease of Hopewell Colliery. Rich is planning to develop the mine as a museum and heritage centre and is keen to […]

Hoof Hustings

This film is to be premièred on a big screen at Our Forest My Vote (The Hoof Husting) at Forest Theatre, Five Acres college, at 6.30pm on Wed April 22. It will be followed by a Question Time-style debate with the audience, HOOF and parliamentary candidates, asking what will they do to protect our Forest of Dean? Entry: voluntary donation (suggested £1). hoofelection2015.wordpress.com/. Film set to music from Dick Brice, Max, Forest of Dean Brass, Asha Faria-Vare, Billy Bragg & Heathens All, […]

FoD Torchlit Procession

Light up the forest with luminous clothes, armbands, banners and homemade lanterns… Mallards Pike, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire Wednesday November 5th 2014 5.30pm - 7.00pm Well behaved dogs welcome Wheelchair and pushchair-friendly No fireworks, bonfires or Chinese/Sky lanterns - we want to protect our forest! Wednesday November 5 - Clause 21 of the Infrastructure Bill (and HOOF’s amendment will be debated - and voted on) in the House of Lords. More at

The Commons or the True Commons

As part of his whistlestop tour of England, we are very pleased to have Peter Linebaugh visiting Bristol. His co-authored book (with Marcus Rediker) The Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic both inspired BRHG and provided Hydra Bookshop with its name. His recently published Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (PM Press, 2014) provides the basis of this talk. Setting out to George's Hill in April 1649 Winstanley and a dozen others announced in […]

HOOF New Year’s Message

New Year 2014 message from Rich Daniels, Hands Off Our Forest (HOOF) chairman. THREE years ago, on January 3, 2011, more than 3,000 of us gathered during a blizzard the field at Speech House to send a message to the Government: the Forest of Dean belongs to us, all of us, and we will not allow it to be sold off, disposed or transferred to private hands. Never! Six weeks later, we were told they’d got the message and the Government performed a ‘mea culpa’. “We’re sorry. We got it wrong.” But we […]

The Crimes of Walter Virgo and the “Blakeney Gang”

In the Forest of Dean towards the end of the nineteenth century the ‘Blakeney Outrages’ of the 1890s led to Walter Virgo and the “Blakeney Gang” being accused of acts of poisoning, maiming, stealing, poaching, midnight raids, dynamiting, arson and murder. However, their story cannot be understood without placing their actions in the historical context of the struggle for the customary right to common which in the past involved the use of direct action and political violence. A consideration of […]

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