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Autumn is perhaps the best time of year to visit the Forestry Commission’s National Pinetum and Forest at Bedgebury, near Goudhurst, Kent. The colours are beautiful and the air is fresh; the trees are bountiful with nuts, fruits, berries and seeds, fungi are abundant across the forest floor, and bright autumn skies create wonderful reflections on the lakes.
This year the team at Bedgebury are encouraging visitors to make the most of autumn by enjoying a list of ten seasonal experiences as they take in the lovely autumn colours of the deciduous trees set against the stunning back drop of the lakes and evergreen conifers.
With shades of red, chestnut, ochre and copper visitors to the forest will enjoy a feast of colours. Particularly striking in autumn are the golden larch which turn a deep golden colour. The dawn redwood and swamp cypress are also favourites and can be found creating stunning reflections in Marshal’s lake. The sweet gums (or Liquidambar) produce a range of purples reds and yellows, often on the same tree, and on a warm sunny afternoon you may smell the candyfloss or caramel delights of the Katsura tree.
Patrick West, Bedgebury manager, said:
“Bedgebury is a fantastic place to visit all year round, and for the staff here autumn really is no exception. As the trees in the pinetum begin to turn their various shades of red, orange and gold and the berries appear, it soon transforms the pinetum into a stunning display of colour which is truly magical.”
“This is just one of the reasons why we wanted to share our top ten favourite ways to enjoy and experience autumn at Bedgebury, as there’s so much to see and do!”
The popularity of TV programmes like Autumnwatch show that we are a nation that loves wildlife and the countryside, but nothing beats getting off the sofa and into the great outdoors and seeing it for yourself. On a walk through the pinetum or cycle ride around the forest visitors may even get to spot wildlife foraging for food, as our forests’ birds and animals prepare for winter.
Information about Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest is available from www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury, www.facebook.com/bedgeburypinetum and www.twitter.com/BedgeburyP
The Bedgebury team’s ten favourite ways to enjoy autumn are:
1. Enjoy our popular autumn seasonal trail which this year's celebrates 90 years of Bedgebury's National Pinetum tree collection. The trail starts from the visitor centre, where an accompanying guide can be collected.
2. Wrap up warm and pack a picnic – Dig out your favourite hats, scarves and gloves and venture into the forest or pinetum to find your favourite spot for an autumnal picnic. And whatever your age, have fun kicking up the fallen leaves as you wander around the forest to find chestnuts as they fall to the ground.
3. Challenge the kids with the new Gruffalo Orienteering trail! Arriving on 24 October, kids will love the excitement of using a simple map to try and find twelve Gruffalo markers! They may even find the Gruffalo and new Gruffalo’s Child sculpture along the way!
4. Bring the children along to our fun holiday events in October where they can enjoy activities such as seed foraging, hunting for hidden boxes or getting messy making bird feeders! Further details can be found on the Bedgebury website event pages. www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury
5. Join one of the Friends of Bedgebury’s popular guided “Fungi Walks” led by Bryan Bullen of the Kent Wildlife Trust. Each walk will begin at the Visitor Centre with a brief talk on the different types of mushroom and the ways to identify them, before taking you into the pinetum to see what the 2015 season has to offer fungi enthusiasts. Further details can be found at https://bedgeburypinetum.org.uk
6. Make the most of your bike ride with our Cycle Happy activity sheets. Forestry Commission England has created three Cycle Happy activity sheets for your mind, body and soul. You'll find lots of ideas for fun things to try out on your ride, with activities for the whole family. Sheets are free and can be collected on site from Quench Cycles or downloaded before you visit from http://www.forestry.gov.uk/cyclehappy Quench will be offering a prize to a winner selected from anyone that completes all three activity sheets.
7. Adults can enjoy 15% discount on Go Ape Tree Top Adventure by entering the discount code “DARE2015” when booking online at http://goape.co.uk/days-out/bedgebury and for the first time this autumn you can bring the kids along to enjoy Tree Top Junior with Go Ape at the weekends.
8. Your canine companion will love exploring and finding all the new smells in Bedgebury forest, and it’s a great place to explore in autumn when the leaves of the deciduous trees are changing colour and the undergrowth is gradually dying back revealing new sticks to chase!
9. If you enjoy taking photographs whilst at Bedgebury, you can join in the #autumnleafwatch phenomena by sharing your favorite autumn images on the Forestry Commission England Facebook, Instagram and twitter pages. Throughout October the favorite pictures will be shared and as autumn draws to a close the public will be asked to vote for their favorite autumn image which will be displayed on the Forestry Commission autumn web page in 2016. The winner will also win one year’s Forest Discovery Pass and Go Ape vouchers. In addition, if you post your Bedgebury photo using #lovebedgebury we will share our own Bedgebury favorites. For more information about the competition and exploring Forestry Commission managed woods and forests this autumn, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/autumn
10. And after all that activity, why not get cosy in the Bedgebury Café and indulge in a warming mug of hot chocolate or tuck into a delicious bowl of hot soup whilst enjoying the lovely views across the pinetum.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. Open all year, Bedgebury Forest covers around 800 hectares (2000 acres) of forest and offers facilities for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy activities such as adventure play, walking, cycling, mountain-biking, running, and horse riding; and it has a Go Ape high-ropes adventure trail. Seasonal events are also offered throughout the year.
2. The National Pinetum & Forest is home to the National Conifer Collection. The 128-hectare (320-acre) site is recognised as one of the most complete collections of conifer trees and plants on one site anywhere in the world, containing more than 12,000 trees, including rare, endangered and historically important specimens. Staff travel the world to collect seeds from rare and endangered species for propagation, and are supported in this work by The Friends of Bedgebury. It is a key partner in Fauna & Flora International’s Global Trees Campaign, and makes a major contribution to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation co-ordinated by Botanic Gardens Conservation International. It does this by collecting endangered seeds from all over the world to bring back to Bedgebury for propagation.
3. More than 2000 tree and shrub seedlings are grown at Bedgebury every year, some of which are planted on site. Surplus seedlings and plants are distributed to other botanic gardens and safe sites across the UK and Europe, and it provides seed to the Millennium Seed Bank. Bedgebury works to conserve species identified in the UK Red Data Book as in need of particular conservation effort.
4. The Bedgebury Visitor Centre serves both the National Pinetum and Forest. The Bedgebury Cafe provides refreshments and will feature new improved catering facilities for spring 2015. There is also a cycle hire shop (including adapted cycles), a visitor information centre and a classroom/community room, toilets, showers, and a bike wash area.
5. Information about Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest is available from http://www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury, www.facebook.com/bedgeburypinetum and www.twitter.com/BedgeburyP.
by phone to 01580 879820, or by email to email@example.com
6. The Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum is a charity that supports the Forestry Commission in its management of Bedgebury as a world-class centre of conifer research, conservation and education, as a landscape of rare and endangered flora and fauna, and as a site for high quality, healthy recreation. It is funded by membership subscriptions, sponsorship activities, and donations. For more information about the Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum visit www.bedgeburypinetum.org.uk , contact 01580 879842 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
7. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/england.
8. Media contact: Sandra Styles, 0300 067 4475, email@example.com