Thetford Forest is a man-made forest and covers a vast expanse of some 47,000 acres which straddle across the borders of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.  The forest was formed in 1922 after WW1 with the intention of providing a reserve of wood.  


This landscape is not a stranger to being one of an engineered nature.  Prior to it being the forest we see today, it had been utilised for flint mining resulting in it becoming a baron expanse of sandy undulations which was problematic for the area at times of high winds.  Sand was known to become airborne and cause major visibility issues.  The formation of the forest caused a cessation in this occurrence.  


The planting of the forest was said to have been conducted initially by sourcing seeds from nearby pine hedges and cones, but once the initial trees had matured, it was possible to plant the wider expanse of the forest from the initial trees themselves, meaning a bloodline of sorts and a family structure aspect to the forest, a connection and inherent link between them.


This project looks to explore the landscape of this forest, highlighting areas where our engineered landscape is visible, but also to visualise aspects of nature’s own order in amongst how we choose to form a landscape.  The neat and straight lines of man result in effective management of the forest and brashing of the lower branches is carried out to reduce fire risk and make navigation easier.  But nature does not function in straight lines, making its own pattern and order in direct contrast to our own.   

© 2019 Katie Hayward

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