The Forest’s first ever female Verderer says she is “very honoured” to have been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours.

Sue Middleton, of Coleford, was awarded an MBE for services to Forestry – but says she is just one of many people working to make the Forest a better place.

She said:” ‘I am very honoured to receive an MBE, but I feel unworthy as I am just one of many people in the Forest of Dean who do all sorts of good work to help people appreciate what a special place it is and how important it is to look after our natural, built and cultural heritage.’

Sue joined Forestry England in 2015 as the Programme Manager for Foresters’ Forest which was a £2.7m National Lottery Heritage Fund Landscape Partnership Scheme. This drew together 31 organisations in a partnership led by Forestry England, to deliver 38 projects about the Forest of Dean’s natural, built and cultural heritage. 

“Foresters’ Forest was a great success but it was only possible as a huge team effort from the Foresters’ Forest team, other Forestry England staff, partner organisations, contractors and hundreds of volunteers all working together to make a positive difference in our unique Forest. “Many of the projects have a continuing legacy as they produced free materials for local schools so that the next generation can use the Forest of Dean as a giant learning resource.”

Sue is also Vice Chair of the Forest of Dean Local History Society and has recently been involved in the creation of a history competition and history quiz for primary schools, in the hope that this will encourage children to understand why our Forest has evolved as it has and how important it is to protect it in future.

Sue was elected to became one of His Majesty’s Verderers in the Forest of Dean in March 2022 and so has a duty to care for the vert and venison (the woods and the wildlife) in the Forest for the rest of her life, as it is a voluntary lifetime appointment.