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Planning a self-led visit

How to make a school visit: costs and safety

Scroll down to find out more about our self-led schools offer...

Children on a ranger led event in Bedgebury.Visits led by our staff

Booking is essential for visits to Bedgebury.

  • Contact the Education Team by telephone (01580 213046) or email to check availability and to discuss your requirements
  • A booking form and provisional programme will be sent to you

We recommend that you arrange a preliminary visit with the Education Team to discuss all aspects of the programme.

Costs and payment (NEW LOWER 2012/13 charges)

Full day programme: approx. 4 hrs

Charge per student £6. Minimum charge £150

Half day programme: approx. 2 hrs

Charge per student £4. Minimum charge £100

NB We do not charge VAT for the cost of school visits.

 Visiting teaching staff, leaders & helpers accompanying groups are admitted free of charge. 

Those groups coming on educational visits led by our staff will get complimentary parking for coaches or up to 8 cars.

Charge includes one Forestry Commission (FC) staff leader. Where visit numbers and/or programme requires an extra FC staff member, this is charged at £60.

Schools will be invoiced after their visit.

Travel bursaries

We are currently offering school travel bursaries to encourage more young people from socially and economically disadvantaged areas to visit Bedgebury. Please contact us for more details on 01580 213046.


Self-led visits

Please could ALL self-led schools report to the Information Office in the visitor centre on arrival.

Get 20% off the cost of standard parking charges by booking your self-led visit in advance. Call the Bedgebury office on 01580 213044. Please note that we need at least 2 weeks' notice.

We welcome bookings from schools and groups that want to visit Bedgebury to carry out their own activities.

We are happy to provide advice about Bedgebury and we can advise on other activities taking place on the same day that might affect you.

Normal public facilities such as toilets and picnic tables are available to self-led groups. However, use of the classroom, our teaching staff and resources are not included.

Self-led groups must pay the standard parking charges if they do not book in advance. For details of these please see the 'Planning Your Visit' pages.


If someone in your group has an accident whilst at Bedgebury the emergency response number is 01580 879820, should you need assistance. The line is staffed during office hours - outside these hours please call 999 for help. All accidents occurring at Bedgebury, whether in office hours or outside them, MUST be reported to us by calling 01580 879820.

Guidelines for a safe and enjoyable visit

The group leader's responsibilities

To ensure a safe visit, the group leader and other adult helpers will be expected to take an active part in the visit and will be entirely responsible for discipline, safety and overall control of the group. Group leaders should try to arrange a preliminary visit with the Forestry Commission staff to discuss the programme and the group's needs and to assess the site conditions.

The group leader must carry out the necessary risk assessments for the visit and the journey to and from the forest or other site. (To help with this you can download a copy of our risk assessment by clicking on the link in the right hand column of this page.) All parental or guardian consents and permissions should be obtained by the group leader before the visit.

For school groups the Local Education Authority should lay down the maximum ratio of students to supervisors. It is the group leader's responsibility to ensure that students are wearing appropriate footwear and clothing for the conditions. Weather conditions can change rapidly and forest sites are often muddy - advice should be sought if in doubt.

The forest is a working environment. The group leader will ensure that warning signs and instructions from Forestry Commission staff are heeded, areas where work is in progress are avoided and the group is kept together. In the case of an accident, the group leader and visiting staff will be on hand to give any information about special requirements. The group leader will be responsible for ensuring that at least one supervisor has a basic knowledge of First Aid. Accidents, whether requiring treatment or not, must be reported to FC staff.

The school or other group, through the LEA or other insurance, as appropriate, will indemnify the Forestry Commission against all claims arising from any loss or damage, or injury or death to participants and any third parties arising from the education visit and will, during the period of the visit, maintain an insurance policy with a reputable insurance company for an amount of not less than £5 million in respect of any one claim. The amount of such insurance shall not limit the liability of the school, group or LEA to the Forestry Commission.

The group leader is responsible for ensuring all litter is taken away with the group and that no damage is caused to the environment or site facilities.

Additional permits may be required for specialist activities or field studies. Contact us for advice.

Forestry Commission staff responsibilities

During a visit led by Forestry Commission staff, the staff member will co-ordinate the activities of the group and will advise the group of any particular known hazards that may apply on the day of the visit.

Most Forestry Commission staff have basic knowledge of first aid and have kits at their disposal, although prime responsibility for rendering first aid remains with the group leader.

Forestry Commission staff have the discretion to exclude from the visit anyone who is not properly equipped or fails to comply with other conditions listed above.

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.