When I mention Fforest to friends they have all gushed to me about the Fforest camp charms, telling me tales of the campfire chats, how relaxed they feel there and how it’s the only place they will go on a UK family holiday now. Is it really that good? I had to find out, and was excited to visit Fforest Gather (their two week festival this August) with my brood.
Gather is a two week family holiday / festival. You can book one of the two weeks, or in fact stay for all. During your stay at Gather you can learn a multitude of new skills from baking sourdough to letter press printing, indigo dyeing to charcuterie and more. All of this plus the chance to relax in the beautiful Fforest camp location, stay in one of their many accommodations and meet inspiring people.
The weather was amazing. Days spent learning new skills, making friends and drifting away listening to bird song and good music via the evenings entertainment.
My favourite workshops were run by Hazel Stark, who shared her knowledge on natural dyeing. First up, Indigo. I’ve long wanted to learn the art of Shibori (the Japanese folding technique), so when Hazel shared how to fold and peg the canvas tote – I was hooked. Absorbed by this gentle craft, myself and my fellow workshop attendees whiled away a few hours in the sunshine, watching the Indigo shades deepen.
Gather is very much a family affair, with workshops that everyone would find inspiring. I loved hanging out with my two. Dan and I did a workshop swap, in which I took Rufus to the morning session of bird drawing with Matt Sewell, whilst he went sausage making with Charlie. After lunch, we switched. I learnt how make lino and letter press prints with Charlie, whilst Dan made bread with Rufus. To me those precious hours being creative and one to one with my boys were the best. Ru found a new love for birds and for drawing, while Charlie enjoyed the mechanical side of the ancient letter presses.
As the days unfolded, I felt myself relax and get into the flow. Walking down to the pub one evening to listen to the Fforest Island discs, I felt so at peace that I felt I belonged there. I suddenly got what everyone was on about – and yeah, I do have to agree. Fforest is magical.
I have taken hundreds of images – but I hope that these all give you a flavour of what the week at Gather entailed. Dan and I relaxed in the knowledge that our kids were safe, making friends and dens in the woods. We learnt some great new skills, were inspired to start up new hobbies. Ate the most delicious food, cooked by the Fforest team, and most of all made some great friends in the process. This is a family holiday I will never forget.
Thank you to Sian and her brilliant Fforest team, and the workshop leaders who taught us so many wonderful new skills. We are coming back next year!