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Hundreds gather at Forest of Dean outdoor acticvities festival

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 27, 2014

  • Laser shooter teams ready for combat

  • Ian Gough

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Hundreds of visitors gathered in the Forest of Dean today to sample archery, laser shooting, rugby and a range of other outdoor activities.

The Forest of Dean Outdoor Activities Festival, which took place at The Speech House near Coleford, drew demonstrations from outdoor organisers Go Ape! Dean Heritage, Battlesport Gloucestershire and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

Birds of Prey and wildlife photography from youngsters across the Forest were on show, and former Wales Rugby player Ian Gough was on hand to raise money for military charity Hire a Hero.

The event, put on by the organisers of the annual Forest of Dean Food Festival in October, also featured off-road Segways, kickboxing and live music.

Co-organiser Amanda Smith said: “We arranged the festival to show people what activities are available in their area and to raise the profile of the Forest of Dean.

“We’ve had a fantastic crowd and it’s really positive that so many kids have come out to enjoy the great outdoors.”

Special guest Ian Gough was raising money for Hire a Hero, a charity which helps ex-military personnel back into employment.

He said: “It’s fantastic that events like this get the kids outside. There’s a big world out there and it’s important that they’re in the open air appreciating it and there’s lots of different activities to help them do that. “

The Forest Youth Forum were displaying their wildlife photography from their recent competition. Project worker Katie Pritchard said: “It’s been great that we have been able to showcase young people’s work and it’s been interesting to see their different perceptions on nature."

"There’s a real appetite for art at the moment, and anyone can be a photographer with their camera phones.”

Mayor of Coleford Sue Merrikin said: “It’s been a tremendous week for the Forest with the royal visit and now this event. It has been able to showcase what the Forest has to offer and let’s hope it’s one of many events which will do this.”

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