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NEWS RELEASE No: 1383822 JULY 2010

Walk on the wild side for National Play Day

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Girl leaping in the woods

Take a walk on the wild side this summer holiday with the Forestry Commission at West Walk Woodland, Forest of Bere, near Wickham.  As part of the National Play Day on Wednesday 4 August there is a free day of exciting forest adventures for the whole family.

The forest fun starts at 10am and is suitable for children of all ages and includes drumming workshops in a woodland glade and big art sculpture led by a local artist.  The Forestry Commission’s forest rangers will also be on hand to lead the ever-popular den building sessions, mini beast and scavenger hunts.

The event is being hosted as part of the Big Lottery Funded, It’s Okay to Play Project, a partnership between Winchester City Council and the Forestry Commission.  It has introduced four natural forest playgrounds in South Hampshire including West Walk, Creech, Micheldever and finally West Wood which is just weeks away from completion.

The 2010 National Play Day campaign is entitled ‘Our place’ and is all about putting children at the heart of our communities and creating better places for all of us to live and play.

The Forestry Commission has a long established reputation for pioneering natural play projects at forest locations across the UK.  One of the latest natural play areas which was completed this year at West Walk is regarded as an example of excellence for children’s play projects in Winchester. It features an iconic tree house at the centre, balance beams, a very large sandpit as well as trees from the wider landscape. 

Emily Weller, Communty Project Officer for It’s Okay To Play, said:

“The natural play area has been so successful at West Walk it is now attracting families from as far away as Micheldever, Portsmouth, Southampton and beyond.  It also has a reputation for being a really great value family day out.  What I love about it is that it is really encouraging children and people of all ages to reconnect with nature and experience the changing seasons in the forest all year round.”

Booking is advisable for the National Play Day event to ensure everyone has a fun filled day.  Please meet at the natural playground at West Walk Wood between 10am and 4pm, which is located next to the car park and toilets at the Hundred Acre Road entrance.  West Walk is part of the Forest of Bere and just a mile from Wickham and five miles from Fareham.

For further information visit or to book an activity contact Emily Weller at the Forestry Commission on 01962 774883 or email


1. Its Okay to Play is a partnership between the Forestry Commission and Winchester City Council that will aim to increase children’s enjoyment, activity and involvement in natural environments. The three year project began in June 2008 and has been granted £200,000 in funding through the BIG Lottery Fun Childrens Play Programme to help support it.

2. Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For further information visit

For more information please contact:
Emily Weller, Community Project Officer, Forestry Commission
Tel: 01962 774883 email: