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NEWS RELEASE No: 133421 MARCH 2010

Fun and adventure at Bedgebury with Outdoor Play Week

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children having fun in a den

Take a leap into the wild at Bedgebury and join the tremendous adventures on offer during Outdoor Play Week with the Forestry Commission on Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st March.  Children of all ages can come and join the fun, which will include den building, guided nature trails and cycling.
Families are welcome to come along between 10am and 4pm, meet at the Pineatery Cafe and sign up to one of the activities. Advance booking is not required and participating families will have the opportunity to win one of ten family tickets for Go Ape! (conditions apply).

According to social research, playing outdoors makes children happier, healthier and more sociable.   Despite this, they are spending less time playing outdoors than ever before, with 90 per cent of their time spent indoors and over five hours a day glued to a screen.  An hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day is recommended for children to maintain good health, emotional wellbeing, improved self-esteem, increased confidence and better social skills

Outdoor Play Week is an initiative supported by the Department of Health, Natural England, Play England and Wellbeing South East.  Its aim is to give families a taste for outdoor fun and adventure.  Families, schools and communities are also welcome to organise their own outdoor play events.
So grab your wellies and come and join the Forestry Commission team for some fun and games. 

Family Fun activities at Bedgebury are free, but there is a £7.50 car parking charge.  For further information please visit or call 01580 879820. 

1. A recent report suggests that children and young people (aged 5-16) spend on average 2.7 hours per day watching television, and 1 in 10 say they watch more than 4 hours per day (Childwise, 2009). The report highlights that almost all of those surveyed had a computer at home and nearly five and a half hours a day are spent in front of a screen.

Childwise monitor report 2008/9.

2. A survey undertaken for Natural England asked questions of adults and children about their contact with nature (Natural England, 2009). Adults were asked to talk about what they had done as children and the survey found that although adults stated that they had played outdoors 40% of the time as children, children today only did this for 10% of their time.
Natural England. 2009. Childhood and nature: a survey on changing relationships with nature across generations. Report to Natural England by England Marketing, Cambridgeshire.

3. Lovell (2009) looked at children at a Forest School in Edinburgh and found they did more physical activity in the wood than when they were in school or the playground.

Lovell, R. 2009. An evaluation of physical activity at Forest School. Research Note for Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

4. Participation in outdoor activities such as volunteering and Forest School can lead to particular benefits in terms of increases in self esteem and confidence.  There are improvements in social skills when activities include team related work (O’Brien and Murray, 2007).

O’Brien, L and Murray, R. 2007. Forest School and its impacts on young children: case studies in Britain. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 6: 249-265.

5. The Forestry Commission manages over 250,000 hectares (600,000 acres) of woodlands in England.  Most of this land is open for public access and the Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in the country. For further information visit

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. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.

Peter d'Aguilar, Marketing Officer, Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest (Forestry Commission), tel 01580 213049 or email peter.d'