Pen a short story to celebrate woodlands

The Woodland Trust is calling on budding writers to enter a short story writing competition celebrating the world’s forests.

The competition is calling for short stories that will inspire people about woods and forests.

Stories must be original work, no more than 500 words long and fit the title The Forest.

Apart from that, entries can be as creative as people dare to make them - from any perspective and in any style or genre.

The competition is part of the ‘Big Forest Picnic’, a campaign encouraging people to go out and enjoy woodland around Bedfordshire.

It also aims to make people think more about how the wood and paper people use can affect forests around the world and show that choosing FSC-certified products (wood and paper that comes from responsibly-managed sources) can help protect some of the planet’s most beautiful ecosystems.

“Many of our best loved myths and legends feature woods, trees and forests,” said Gayle Wharton of the VisitWoods project.

“Forests have such an important cultural significance. From the Hundred Acre Wood and Wind in the Willows to Robin Hood and the Jungle Book, forests have been a source of inspiration to authors and readers alike for centuries.”

Nicola Round of worldwide wildlife protection charity WWF said: “Millions of people around the world and some of our most iconic species rely on forests in order to survive.

“And yet, laid end to end, the number of illegal logs being cut each year would stretch around the earth ten times.

“Unfortunately the UK is, often unknowingly, helping to support this illegal trade. In 2007 it was estimated that around seven per cent of the UK’s total forest product imports were illegally sourced. But we can all help to protect the world’s forests by making sure the wood we choose comes from sustainable sources.”

Entries must be 500 words or less, received before August 31, and there are two categories – for children aged 16 and under and young people and adults 17 and over.

Winning entries will be displayed online at VisitWoods.org.uk and wwf.org.uk and the first prize is a complete set of 10 Penguin books of the winner’s choice, printed on FSC paper, with prizes for runners-up, too.

To find out how to take part and read the full terms and conditions go to www.visitwoods.org.uk/storywriting