September – November 2013

Arts Alive Wales has been facilitating outdoor Forest Arts programmes since 2007, initially working from a National Trust owned site at the Skirrid in Abergavenny. The programmes are targeted at adults, families and young people who would benefit from creative activities in the outdoors and for whom participation is difficult due to their circumstances.

wildwood poster 2 (2)

Following a partnership project with Wye Valley AONB, on their ‘Inside Out’ project, Arts Alive Wales began working at Whitestone, a beautiful Forestry Commission (now Natural Resources Wales) owned and managed site near Llandogo in the Wye Valley.

With the support of the Forestry Commission, who invited Arts Alive Wales to continue the programme at the new location, the programme has continued into 2013, drawing in new participants with an emphasis on working with those who find accessing creative groups difficult.


Artist led, the project aims to utilise the natural forest environment and to enable people to engage with nature and explore their own personal creativity. Forest crafts act as the foundation for the creative process and create purposeful and meaningful activity to bring people together.  The project staff for Autumn 2013 were level 3 qualified Forest School staff Lynette Margerison, David Rogers and Sarah Lawson (volunteer).

The Autumn project ‘Windswept’ ran for eight consecutive weeks, and included a ‘Halloween’ session during October Half term and an end of season ‘Winter Solstice Celebration’ in December. Writer Mike Church (aka ‘Human Tonic’) worked with Arts Alive Wales again, providing his unique blend of humour, insight and warmth to create shared and individual writing.  Morning sessions were targeted at adults, particularly those with learning needs. The afternoon sessions were targeted at local families.

The Project’s main aim is to offer a unique and uplifting experience to adults, children and their families, enabling them to explore their creativity and self-expression, together, within the natural environment.


Other aims are:

  • To get individuals and families out of their urban environment and to engage with nature.
  • To create a place for people to meet new friends and reduce social isolation.
  • To learn new transferable practical skills such as lighting fires and using knives safely
  • to promote respect towards the environment.
  • To create a safe environment to explore nature and experience freedom, taking informed risks and developing new skills.
  • To experience the sensory stimulation of the forest environment and to promote good mental health and well-being.
  • To enable individuals and families ‘time out’ to think and reflect and to help them move forwards with their lives.
  • To promote physical health through participating in the project.
  • To raise self-confidence and self-esteem by taking part in the creative process

To see previous Whitestone projects, please click on the below links.

Inside OUT forest arts.

misty webbeech leaf compositionadults with learning difficulties stone drawingadults with learning difficulties clay and stoneadults with learning difficulties at whitestone2 woodland xylophoneswhitestone - drawing with charcoal made in fireWhitestone - creating art outdoors with clayShelter building with familiesWhitestone - building the fire in the rainWhitestone - collecting and sorting materials2013 winter solstice celebration fire


 Whitestone is a Forestry Commission site in the Wye Valley Forest area, situated approximately 10 miles north of Chepstow and 12 miles south of Monmouth just off the A466.

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