The initial impetus for the formation for the grove came from a young OBOD member called Susan Forest. In September 1995 Susan moved to Leicester to attend university. Seeking to start up a seed group and meet like-minded people she sent out speculative letters to every OBOD member in Leicestershire.
The first meeting, held in “The Griffin inn” in Swithland Leicestershire, in February 1996, was attended By Susan (ovate), Rosemary Gibson (bard), and Andy Wells (ovate). A few weeks later a second meeting drew in Ian Ashcroft (bard) as the fourth member. Over the following months the seedgroup was slowly formed and given a name “The Children of Caer Leir”.
One of the first, and very influential, contacts that were made at this time was with Maddy Johnson, then head of the (now defunct) Derby Grove. Maddy took us under her wing and gave vital support, guidance and friendship during the early stages of the grove. We attended many of her ceremonies and meetings.
With help, experience and confidence gained from working with Maddy and the Derby grove, the fledgling Caer Leir seed group held their first ceremony on a hill (Dubbed the Somme) in Watermead Park, Leicestershire. It is this initial Samhain ceremony that we regard as the first awakening of the “spirit of the Grove” and is the anniversary that we count the grove by.
Gaining momentum, the grove quickly picked up Charles, Simon and others. Unfortunately, also during this time Susan became more and more involved in University life and her involvement with the group significantly waned, and then became non-existent. The remaining three founding members were left to steer the grove on their own.