Science & Environment

Paying tribute to the nation's forests

The Forest of Dean Image copyright Forestry Commission
Image caption The Forest of Dean: Part of the magical woodland landscape of Britain

Britons are being urged to pay tribute to the nation's forests by writing a poem, letter or story.

The poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, is leading the way with a newly commissioned poem, which explores relationships between trees and humanity.

Forests have inspired generations of British writers, including Shakespeare, who used woodland settings in many of his plays.

More than 10% of the UK is wooded.

The poem, Forest, was commissioned by the Forestry Commission, which is marking its centenary this year.

In it, Duffy, who steps down this year, looks at the theme of time.

"The forest keeps different time; slow hours as long as your life, so you feel human," she writes. "So you feel more human; persuaded what you are by wordless breath of wood, reason in resin."

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Media captionPoet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy reading her new poem 'Forest'.

PK Khaira-Creswell, director of the centenary programme, said the poem was a celebration of trees and forests everywhere, recognising their vitality and worth.

"I hope, having read the poem, people will be inspired to get outside and explore their local forest and share those magical experiences with us in writing," she said.

The Forestry Commission manages more than 1,500 forests and woodlands across England for recreation, wildlife and timber.

The commission hopes to gather a diverse collection of letters, poems, stories and memories, which will be exhibited online and shared at special tree-planting events across the country.

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