About us

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Introduction

Welcome to the Oakraven Field Centre, located in the heart of nature, in the Forest of Dean. We are a residential field centre promoting outdoor activities, learning and research. We provide reasonable-cost accommodation for all ages, at a spectacular site. The main philosophy of the field centre is that of Eco-forestry. Eco-forestry emphasises holistic practices which strive to protect and restore ecosystems, rather than maximising economic productivity. Our main aims at the field centre are:

  1. To encourage enjoyment of the outdoors and outdoor learning.
  2. To encourage education and research.
  3. To maintain, enhance and encourage appreciation of the site’s habitats and rare native populations.

The field centre is mainly concerned with practical education, and we are open to bookings from most organised groups who wish to enjoy the outdoors. We also host a range of residential and daytime courses and events. The 1.5 acres of the centres grounds and adjacent 3.0 acres of woodland have been managed as a nature reserve for educational purposes and wildlife, since 1985. Our facilities are particularly suitable for schools and college students, but we also cater for youth, adult groups, post-graduate education, encourage research and public-participation events. We are located in a rural environment, surrounded by countryside and bordering the Forest of Dean to our west. The village of Mitcheldean is just 1 mile south of us. The area is of outstanding natural beauty and has numerous outdoor activities and tourist attractions on offer.

Oakraven Field Centre
Jubilee Rd, Mitcheldean
Gloucestershire, GL17 0EE
Tel: 01594 369 343
E-mail: akmoir@tree-ring.co.uk

History of the building

The school building dates back to 1878. The Plump Hill School was opened by the school board in 1878 with 151 places. More classrooms were added in 1890. The school closed in 1984, but operated as Plump Hill Environment until 2011. The site reopened as the Oakraven Field Centre in 2014.

Plump Hill School - Class of 1915
Plump Hill School – Class of 1915

Research & Wildlife Reserve

Oakraven is actively engaged in ongoing dendrochronological research, and is the base for Tree-RIng Services.

Nationally only 30% of woodlands are managed. A neglect of woodland results in a general loss of biodiversity particularly those species that are dependent on the cyclic light to shade development in woods. Other problems include invasion by some plant species, increased deer, boar and grey squirrel populations and a general loss of woodland management skills.

The 3.0 acre reserve adjacent to the field centre grounds is managed by agreement with the Forestry Commission for both educational purposes, and to provide a wide range of habitats to encourage wildlife. The reserve consists of areas of semi-natural woodland, glades & boundary hedgerows, pond and dense bracken lie to the . The reserve which lies to the south of the field centre grounds is accessible by the public, subject to FoD byelaws. Rare populations of greater crested newts and common dormouse have been identified on the site, and we are making efforts to encourage rare bats, owls and butterflies. The reserve includes seven very large and old oak trees, together with old hazel coppice stands. Some coppice is to be restored through standard silviculture, to help enhance the habitat diversity on the reserve and the ongoing survival of veteran oak. Coppicing and pollarding are also important in providing materials for teaching traditional skills and crafts.

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