Kensley Sheds Legal Fees Fundraiser

by The Radical Regenerative Rewilders in England, United Kingdom

Kensley Sheds Legal Fees Fundraiser

Total raised £530

raised so far



We are raising money to pay our legal team in taking Forestry England to task in their behaviour towards community organisations.

by The Radical Regenerative Rewilders in England, United Kingdom

It was a sad day last Thursday 17th August, as we pulled away from Kensley Sheds for the last time ever.

In the midst of all the chaos - our last Crowdfund was £50 short of the target and we made a mistake in setting up to only pay out if we reached the target - so all the donations were refunded and we got nothing... here is a recap & update on our story....

Kensley Sheds was eco-refurbished 8 years ago when Scott suggested using the Foresters' Forest Landscape Partnership money to create a lasting legacy of heritage craft skills here in the forest rather than demolish the old foresters shed as it had been listed for.

Scott project managed the eco-refurb with Arbor Training & New Leaf Social Forestry Project as a volunteer, along with many local volunteers and support from local businesses.   The centre has been a successful buzzing hive of activity ever since, and when Arbor Training folded in 2018, the licence along with the New Leaf Project was passed on to Scott & The Rewild Project.

Thousands of volunteer hours have gone into Kensley Sheds, since then.


Many craftspeople have been paid to share their amazing skills with local disadvantaged groups: Ceramics; Willow Weaving; Coppicing; Green Woodwork; Pole Lathe; Bowl Lathing; Bow Making; Tanning and making use of roadkill; Home Education Sessions; Mushroom Foraging; Fermentation; Blacksmithing; Copper Work; Rush Basket Weaving... 

to name but a few.... 

these skills can lead people back into connection with nature, 🌲 with themselves 👨‍👨‍👧‍👦👨‍👨‍👧 and others, and into gainful employment / self employment

- but more importantly the work done here demonstrates how people can be rewilded to be a part of the natural world, how we can build resilience right here in the Forest of Dean.  

The Forest is absolutely abundant with food, shelter and resources, so how is there so much poverty??

🦌 🌳 🎋 🏡 🌲 🐗 🍒🍓

Barnwood Trust funded us over the past 3 years to collect local people who were struggling from around the forest and bring them to this special healing woodland centre, where we shared locally produced, nourishing food and engaged with nature, crafts and built and amazing, supportive community.


However the powers that be could not allow this to grow... this act of rebellion, teaching people to survive and thrive WITHOUT supermarkets, WITHOUT state benefits and WITHOUT the food banks that keep them in poverty.

Over this last 7-8 months we have been fighting for the right to a FAIR HEARING - when Forestry England accused us of neglecting our responsibilities towards young people in our care 😭

It was a completely unfounded accusation - one they DID NOT investigate properly before giving us less than 2 weeks to vacate Kensley Sheds, and tat down 8 years of love, energy and investment.

They sought to destroy what we had created.

🗒 Despite many false promises that they would be giving us a TEN YEAR LEASE.

☠ Despite a meeting at start of December agreeing to renew our licences whilst they worked on the lease!!!

🧱 They completely stone walled us, despite many many attempts to negotiate a reasonable and proper exit strategy and demonstrating our willingness to work together to resolve any issues.

🏥 We even had an independent HSE Officer come in audit all of our processes, procedures, risks assessments.  

She even met with the Canadian red Cross to compare our ice safety standards to theirs!! (Guess what we did even more than the Canadians to ensure safety at all times!)


Then we managed to enlist the help of a Pro-bono Barrister from the Environmental Law Foundation and seemed like we were making progress - a round table meeting was on the cards, although they didn't take us up on any dates we suggested, and we waited patiently - just as we'd been waiting patiently for them to create our agreements for the last 2 years, when they told us they were short staffed and would get around to the lease as soon as they could...

anyway - again we thought we were getting somewhere.... (finally, an actual conversation......????)

Then FE decided to pull the rug completely and out of the blue began formal eviction proceedings - saying they had waited long enough!!!! 

But there was a glimmer of hope 🌼🤩🌹🌻

By this time we had been advised about a public law caveat by the amazing folks over at the ASS (Advisory Service for Squatters)

(so Forestry England Being a Public Body - this falls under Public Law)

🌼 SO - if we could prove that we had a LEGITIMATE EXPECTATION that our licence for Kensley would be renewed / that we LEGITIMATELY EXPECTED a lease to be provided....

Then Forestry England- BY LAW - Would HAVE to complete a FULL FAIR & UNBIASED investigation....

💥 BOOM💥 

That is all we wanted - a fair investigation and trial - and surely with all the evidence it would be super easy to prove????

⚖ So we went ahead and drafted defence documents, represented ourselves at the first hearing, and WON 🏆  the right to continue to a 90 minute hearing....

All we had to do was convince the judge that we had a reasonable chance - so that we could take it to a full hearing.....

Which would have been all the witness statements,  and full evidence pack being picked through / Cross examined etc...

Brilliant 👏 

We knew that the legal system is not always fair and is somewhat stacked against the little guys, but wanted to put it to the test.... for the community we had built, knowing how much they relied on us, and in the interest of FAIRNESS - holding our PUBLIC SERVANTS accountable to the promises they make to us peasants....

We had: 

✅ Emailed written promises from FE's Estates Department saying they were offering us a 10 year lease and would draft heads of terms .

✅ Meeting minutes from start of December 2022 saying they were renewing our 12 month licence to give time to properly draft the longer term agreements.

✅ Lottery Heritage Fund legacy documents published on FE website, saying 'The Rewild Project are continuing at Kensley Sheds with other funding

✅ Original grant application documents showing that FE promised the Lottery that the money for Kensley was to create a LASTING LEGACY for the community.

✅ Previous licence agreements going back a number of years showing how it was renewed sometimes 3 months into the agreement - because there always was a legitimate expectation of a rolling ongoing agreement....

Surely all of this adds up to us LEGITIMATELY EXPECTING our agreements to continue???

Surely it was LEGITIMATE for us to expect a public body to uphold their promises.....


⚖ Well crunch time came, our day in court, we had a barrister and all the evidence presented.

☠ FE / DEFRA (yes we were actually in court against DEFRA!!) AND THEY SPARED NO EXPENSE......

♟They played every dirty tactic going.... first they had tried to scare us off even entering the courtroom, saying if we agreed to be out in a week, they wouldn't charge us costs!!! (this is how they bully little people out of their day in court)

♟THEN, they tried to argue that it wasn't even public law, they were simply a private landlord and the agreement simply came to an end (so none of the public law arguments were valid)!!!!!

🌼 Thankfully that didn't stand up....

♠️ So next they argued that these written and verbal promises should NEVER be relied upon....  They LAUGHED at us in the court room, saying how silly it was for us to RELY upon these promises...

They said...

Who would actually RELY upon these vague promises - if they had been serious they would have drafted the heads of terms!!! 


So basically what they were saying was that:



And the judge agreed 👍 


Silly silly us.....

All these years, thinking that our public bodies, and public servants can be trusted at their word........ (i know, it sounds so stupid when written down here.... everyone know our government are corrupt self serving liars!!)

But we invested all of our time, energy and resources into Kensley Sheds because we BELIEVED our public body when they said they would give us a 10 year lease....


We actually BELIEVED there was some chain of accountability built in somewhere.....


But nooooo..... 

There isn't, and it is a sad day....


And once they had won and the eviction date was set - the matter of costs came... our legal fee's came to around £3k - which we still need to pay.

But theirs... well, - they threw the highest paid barristers, and partners of the firm at us, absolutely no expense spared!!  £32,000 in legal fees they asked the judge to make an order against us!!

Our Barrister argued as best he could and pointed out how astronomical these fees were - and managed to have them reduced to £15,000...  they should have been paid on 1st August, but we just dont have that kind of money lying around...

We had crowd funded £2k for our fees - but due to an error, everyone was refunded and we got nothing... 

So we are asking and pleading once again for you to dig deep and help us pay at least OUR OWN legal fees, to the sun of £3k - it feels only fair that the legal team who fought for justice should be paid.

So maybe we are not so sad, because when we prayed, and drummed for guidance each full moon, we asked for the best possible outcome for the highest good....

And we believe that the universe provides and guides us to where we need to be....

To be totally honest the last few years of heavy heavy computer work to make all of this funding happen has been a horrible slog from this side.....

We are actually feeling lighter, and despite being majorly burnt out,  knowing that we need some time to rest and recover from this time we are soooo sooooo happy to be back on the road, free from the bureaucracy,  free from our overlords, and free to REALLY REWILD OURSELVES once again....

We now know that Rewilding cannot be delivered within the confines of a broken system of domestication. 

True rewilding is about being free, grass roots, social change.

Watch this space, we are spending time integrating the lessons learned - resting, recuperating and formulating our next exciting steps.

Big love to everyone for all of your support so far.

Check out our project website and join the mailing list 

Show your support

Payment and personal details are protected