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NEWS RELEASE No: 1656616 MARCH 2016

Switch the lights off and step back into nature in your local Forestry Commission Woodland

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Starry Sky

To support WWF’s Earth Hour at 8.30pm on 19 March, Forestry Commission England has revealed their top 5 activities that visitors can enjoy in an hour in their local woodland.

WWF’s Earth Hour is a global annual celebration which inspires millions of people switch off their lights for one hour to show they care about the planet. It’s a symbolic and spectacular lights out display with a big message – we want to protect the future of our planet!

As well as helping put a spotlight on issues affecting our planet, Forestry Commission England also believes that switching off the lights in your home and heading outside for an hour is a great opportunity for you to re-charge your well-being.

There is a wealth of research showing that relaxation and recreation in attractive natural surroundings is good for our physical and mental health, and more than 95% of people surveyed in England agreed.  So positive is the impact of trees on general well-being that the Forestry Commission believes it will take less than an hour to feel the benefits of their forests.

Here are the top five activities to enjoy in your local Forestry Commission Woodland that you can enjoy in an hour:

Walking – Our forests and woodlands offer walks for all ages and abilities, from sheltered pinewood trails to quiet streamside paths that meander under old oak trees. There are hour long walks in all of our woodlands and forests, so why not get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air?

Learning – The Forestry Commission looks after over more than 1500 woods and forests that provide amazing learning opportunities. Download an activity pack or help Stick Man find his way back to his family tree. This self-led trail that allows children to live the epic adventures of Stick Man whilst also learning about the importance of the forest for people, wildlife and timber.

Cycling – With some of the best off-road cycling in the country, you’ll find it easy to find a trail that you can complete in an hour. From gentle family routes to bike skill areas or adrenaline fuelled down hilling, the forests provide everything you need!

Wildlife spotting - The popularity of TV programmes like Springwatch show that we’re a nation that loves wildlife, but nothing beats getting off the sofa and into the great outdoors and seeing it for yourself. Our woodlands are some of the best places to go to see Britain’s wildlife, from large mammals such as roe deer and wild goats’ right down to some of the forest's smaller inhabitants such as bats, dormice and butterflies. Download our twilight activity sheet and see how many animals you can spot after dark.

Play – Woodlands provide the perfect playground; they are a space without boundaries for you to explore and are a venue for adventures. Download a play booklet that has been developed in partnership with the Woodland Trust. Each has a different playful theme - build, create, imagine and discover - and remember, getting muddy can be a sign of a fun day out!

To make the most of your local woods and forests, the Forestry Commission Discovery Pass covers your parking charges for a year. Visit for more information.

Everyone can take part in Earth Hour by simply switching off their lights for one hour at 8.30pm on Saturday 19th March 2016. Find out more at or #EarthHourUK and do it for your planet.


Notes to Editor

Join in the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #EarhHourUK and @wwf_uk. Find out more and sign up at

1. Forestry Commission England 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

2. Forestry Commission Discovery Passes vary in price from £20-£50 for annual membership. For more information visit

3. About Stick Man

Stick Man tells the story of the eponymous character who lives in the family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three. The story follows Stick Man as he goes on an epic adventure across the seasons and is taken further and further from home, as he runs from a playful dog, gets thrown in a river, escapes from a swan’s nest and even ends up on top of a fire. Will he get back to his family tree?

Stick Man was first published in 2008 by Alison Green Books, an imprint of Scholastic Children’s Books.

4. ‘There is a wealth of research showing that relaxation and recreation in attractive natural surroundings is good for our physical and mental health and more than 95% of people surveyed in England agreed’
 - Defra (2011) The Natural Choice: Securing the value of nature. Natural Environment White Paper. Norwich: The Stationery Office, 2011. See 1.26, p12.
 - Forestry Commission (2011) Public Opinion of Forestry 2011, UK and England. See$FILE/POF_ENG_UK2011.pdf

5. About Earth Hour - Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is the world’s biggest celebration for our amazing planet. In the UK last year, over 10 million people took part, along with over 4,800 schools, 200 landmarks and thousands of businesses and organisations. Iconic landmarks including Big Ben and Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Blackpool Tower, The Kelpies, Caerphilly Castle and many more joined the global lights out.
Globally, from Samoa to Tahiti, a record 172 countries and territories took part in the world’s biggest Earth Hour yet.  The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, South Africa’s Table Mountain, The Acropolis in Athens, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Empire State Building and Times Square in New York City, and the Las Vegas Strip were just a few of the world-famous landmarks that joined in.

6. About WWF - WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive.  Find out more about our work, past and present at

Images and further information available on request. Please contact:
Stuart Burgess, 0300 067 4073,