“The future must enter into you a long time before it happens.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

Intentional Woodland 2028

Walking Forest is a 10 year artwork that culminates in planting a new intentional woodland by 2028. This Intentional Woodland will be a lasting, living artwork that offers space for hope, encouragement, beauty and resilience for present and future generations.

The roots of the woodland

The creative tenacity of Suffragettes and their arboretum, of trees planted in honour of courage and activism of 60 suffragettes amidst their long campaign, has been a touchstone of inspiration for Walking Forest. This, paired with with Shakespeare’s image of a moving forest in Macbeth, ignited the idea of an intentional woodland that stands at the heart of Walking Forest: we have seen how unimaginable realities can come to pass with shared vision and courage.

Oak Saplings at Moor Trees
Planting a Tree - photo by Ruth Levene

The Suffragette Arboretum was planted over 100 years ago. When each of these women broke the ground with spades and heeled in the roots of each tree, they did so not knowing whether they would see the trees reach maturity or whether their actions would succeed. We read this as a symbolic act recognising the importance of collective action across difference and of active hope for an unknown and unknowable future. Despite the arboretum being destroyed in the 1960s to make way for a housing estate, one tree remains: a Monterey Pine planted by Rose Lamartine Yates.  We have been collecting, propagating and gifting seeds from this tree, inviting participants across the world to nurture them into saplings. In 2028, many of these sister trees will reunite and be planted as part of our Intentional Woodland. 

Emmeline Pankhurst, Annie Kenney and Mrs Blathwayt - Bath In Time

What do we mean by intentional?

Rooted in intention, this woodland will serve as a living artwork that honours people of past, present and future, working around the world to bring about the vital environmental and social changes needed. It will be a space for storytelling, performance, connection and refuge; an arboreal glade of activism to inspire current and future generations with courage, care and fortitude.

Our vision of an Intentional Woodland, planted by 2028, coincides with the 100h anniversary of the Universal Bill of Suffrage, or the Equal Franchise Act 1928, that the Suffragettes and Suffragists campaigned tirelessly for. They showed that ordinary people can make extraordinary change. Just as they campaigned to change the way women were represented in legal and political systems, activists today are working to change the way the natural world is represented in legal, political, economic and cultural systems. 

The Intentional Woodland celebrates the creative power of Global women Earth defenders. The seeds of both idea and woodland are being grown through a collective, global vision of care for Earth.

Stonehouse Seedstore

Growing collectively

We’re exploring and learning about the practical and creative possibilities of the intentional woodland with partners and advisors, including: Forestry England, The National Forest, Adam Owen (forester), Cathy Fitzgerald (eco-social artist), as well as through our work with MEMBRA and UK Treescapes.

We are also exploring partnerships with land for tree planting to work with. Please contact us if you have ideas for a location, would like to work with us, or would like to contribute funds to support the Intentional Woodland.