A GROUP of creative locals welcomed broadcaster Clare Balding to the Forest last week for an art-entwined ‘ramble’ in the woods.

TV and radio presenter Clare was invited to attend one of the Canopy Network’s Creative Walks last Thursday (February 9) to record an episode of her ‘Ramblings’ series for BBC Radio 4.

Clare and her producer, Maggie Ayre, accompanied Canopy members on a walk in the Parkend area, stopping along the way to “respond creatively” to the environment through sketching, telling stories, reading poetry and more.

The radio programme will be broadcast on March 2 at 3pm on Radio 4, and will also be available on BBC Sounds thereafter.

The Canopy network brings together local creatives through regular art-based events including festivals, artist talks and creative walks.

Canopy Creative Network
(Canopy Creative Network)

Textile artist and Canopy Project Manager Sara Rickard said of Clare’s visit: “I asked Clare if she’d like to come along because she does ‘Ramblings’, and this is a bit of a ramble!

“We offer them every month in the Forest, led by either myself or Roger (Drury). They last for about two hours, but it’s not about the distance.

“It’s essentially about meeting other people and the journey itself, as we’re stopping all the time and giving people lots of things to see and do.”

Clare Balding’s ‘Ramblings’ sees the presenter travel the length and breadth of the UK to join notable and interesting people for a walk through the countryside.

Producer Maggie Ayre said: “Today is something a bit different for us, to set Clare the task of walking with a group of creative people, and seeing the walk and the landscape through more artistic eyes.

“It was a very lovely experience and I think it really brought the Forest to life.

“I think the radio programme will really get people interested and want to visit the Forest of Dean because of the way that everyone on the walk talked about it - the ecology, the nature, the wild boar - the magical, special nature of the area I think really comes across.

“It was lovely to hear how people have made their creative lives here.”

Details of Canopy’s Creative Walks, the next of which is on February 25, can be found at www.canopynetwork.co.uk.