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NEWS RELEASE No: 1634015 AUGUST 2014

Living Symphonies comes to Bedgebury National Pinetum

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Living Symphonies

Living Symphonies comes to Bedgebury National Pinetum this summer from 26-31 August.

Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, near Goudhurst, Kent, will soon be welcoming Living Symphonies: a unique art installation where visitors can hear sounds of the forest in musical form.

The tour has already visited three other Forestry Commission woodlands around England - Thetford Forest, Fineshade Woods and Cannock Chase Forest, where it has been well received. The project will finish its tour at Bedgebury this August.

Already featured in national and international media via BBC News, New York Times, Nature Magazine and The Quietus, the sound installation has gathered interest both far and wide.

Excitment is building as the tour reaches Bedgebury National Pinetum from Tuesday 26 until Sunday 30 August. Living Symphonies is due to be featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in advance of the final stage of its tour.

To create the installation, composers James Bulley and Daniel Jones worked with Forestry Commission ecologists to record the true extent of the wildlife and plant life in a specially chosen area of the National Pinetum.

The composers created a musical motif for each organism living in the Pinetum. With speakers hidden amongst the trees, digital technology generates a full symphony in real time; creating the world’s first truly Living Symphony.

The project is co-produced in a partnership between Sound and Music, the national agency for new music, and Forestry Commission England, supported with funding through the Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund.

This partnership hopes to create a remarkable new ways for audiences to explore forests with their ears as well as their eyes. The idea behind Living Symphonies is to bring new listening experiences to communities living close to England’s forests.

As the visitor explores the music they will also become aware of just how complex an eco-system a forest is.

Bedgebury Manager, Dominic O’Connor Robinson, said:

“This is a truly unique experience being able to hear the ecology of this special place in such bold new way. The National Pinetum is itself a unique collection of trees and for it be brought to life in such an innovative manner is really exciting. We’re all waiting with great anticipation to hear those first notes of this six day masterpiece.”

The Quietus wrote of the installation:

“Even if you were barely aware of the complexity underpinning the music it would still be a fascinating listen.”

Living Symphonies will be open each day from Tuesday 26 until Sunday 30 August between 10am and 5pm and on Friday 29 August The installation will also be open between 6pm and 8pm. Entrance to Living Symphonies is free. Standard admission fees for Bedgebury Pinetum and Forest apply.


1. For more information about Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest please contact:
Or visit

2. 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
Images available here:

About Living Symphonies:
Living Symphonies is a musical composition that grows in the same way as a forest ecosystem. Portraying the thriving activity of the forest’s wildlife, plants and atmospheric conditions, it creates an ever-changing symphony heard amongst the forest itself.
About Sound and Music:
Sound and Music’s vision is to create a world where new music and sound prospers, transforming lives, challenging expectations and celebrating the work of its creators.

Living Symphonies - further information:
Sound and Music: Nick Sherrard, Head of Digital, Development and Communications:
Tel: 020 7759 1815

The artists (L-R) Daniel Jones and James Bulley

About Bedgebury

Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest in the High Weald of Kent is the perfect place for healthy outdoor activity.
Home to the National Conifer Collection, Bedgebury National Pinetum is recognised as the most complete collection of conifers on one site anywhere in the world, and contains over 12,000 tree specimens growing across 320 acres including rare, endangered and historically important specimens. The Pinetum contains some 91 vulnerable or critically endangered species and five NCCPG National Collections (Yew, Juniper, Thuja, Lawson Cypress and Leyland Cypress) as well as some of the oldest and largest examples of conifers in Britain.

The Pinetum provides a beautiful and tranquil setting to enjoy walks and picnics giving enormous pleasure to all those who visit it all year round. This is brought to life with Seasonal Trails which highlight particular points of interest and hidden gems amongst the collection. A network of paths throughout enables easy access for all levels of ability.

Open all year, Bedgebury Forest covers around 20,000 square metres of forest and offers facilities for people of all ages and abilities for walking, family cycling, mountain biking, an adventure play area which is themed around the great plant-hunters of the Victorian era, Go Ape, and horse riding, creating one of South East England’s premier sites for healthy outdoor activity.

Cyclists of all ages and abilities can enjoy the 9km family scenic cycle route through the forest, with a 4km short loop ideal for younger and less experienced cyclists.  A 13km single track mountain bike trail has been specially designed, and recently improved, with built structures designed to challenge a rider's ability and technical skills and provide an exhilarating experience.

Bedgebury offers a unique learning opportunity and is the ideal place for people to learn about trees, the environment and themselves. The dedicated Learning Team provides facilities for staff led and self led group and school visits, self led family trails throughout the Pinetum, and family events throughout the school holidays.
The Visitor Centre serves both the National Pinetum and Forest. It features catering, a cycle hire shop (including adapted cycles), toilets, showers, a bike wash area, a visitor information centre and a classroom/community room.

For visitor information, please call 01580 879820 or visit

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