New ‘protector of the forest’ elected in Forest of Dean

Rich Daniels, who was recently awarded an MBE for his services to the forest, is one of four verderers of the forest.

The verderers’ role is to protect trees and wildlife in the district. They also form a court which meets four times a year. The role is for life.

Mr Daniels said he was “elated” to win the show-of-hands vote at Gloucester Cathedral, and said the forest was “very special” and needs protecting.

Verderers are the sole remnant of an organisational structure developed after Norman times.

First mentioned in the Forest of Dean in 1216, they were judicial officers and dealt with offences including the “taking of venison, the illegal cutting of, or destruction of, woodland, and encroachment through unauthorised enclosures and buildings”.