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Gruffalo-press imageThemed activity trails, giant wooden Gruffalo sculptures and a big birthday forest picnic are coming to Bedgebury.

Families in Kent and Sussex are invited into a deep dark wood near their home this year to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with characters from the world-famous picture books.

From April, visitors can join Mouse on his adventure and explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale through activity trails in the Pinetum.

The fun-packed partnership kicks off with The Gruffalo activity trails in Bedgebury and 27 other forests across England, which run through to the end of September. In October, The Gruffalo’s Child activity trails take over and will stay in Bedgebury right through the winter until February 2015. Characters from the stories will lead children through the trees with adventure and intrigue, learning about woods and forests as they go.

From June, a giant wooden sculpture of one of the world’s best-loved monsters himself will be hidden in Bedgebury Pinetum. Another 14 of the 7ft tall sculptures will be hidden in forests across England, for families to track down. The 15 Gruffalos will all be different and are currently being individually-carved in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, each carefully-selected from Forestry Commission sites.

Visitors are also invited to gather in Bedgebury with family and friends on Saturday 7 June to celebrate The Gruffalo’s anniversary with a big birthday forest picnic – inspired by an exciting party pack of forest-inspired picnic ideas, activities and bunting, free to download this Spring from the Forestry Commission’s website http://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo.
Daryl Shute from Magic Light Pictures, the brand building and production company responsible for the award-winning animated Gruffalo films commented:

“The Gruffalo encourages followers to explore the real world with imagination, creativity and a true sense of adventure. With emphasis on learning and the great outdoors, Forestry Commission England is the perfect partner, and we’re delighted to be teaming up with them in this anniversary year to launch these exciting new series of trails across the country.”
“The Gruffalo lives in the natural world so a local forest is the perfect place to set out with Mouse on his journey in search of these magnificent new wooden carvings of one of the nation’s favourite children’s picture book characters.”

Sandra Styles from Bedgebury commented:

“There is no better way to celebrate The Gruffalo than within the deep dark wood and forest that he calls home.

“The Gruffalo is a national treasure and so are our forests and this partnership will really help to bring the story to life and celebrate the anniversary in true Gruffalo style.

“All the activities have been carefully positioned at Forestry Commission sites across the country so you are never more than an hour away from a Gruffalo adventure, and we are very excited to be a part of the celebrations with The Gruffalo activity trails and a sculpture at Bedgebury.”

Details of trails and sculpture locations and the forest birthday picnic party pack are available from http://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo. Sign up online to find out more about the exciting year of forest celebrations.

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PaulWeller14hrPaul Weller has confirmed five forest gigs, appearing as part of the Forestry Commission’s Forest Live concert programme in spectacular woodland locations across the country.
It’s been thirty years since Paul Weller first exploded onto the music scene, suited and booted, and armed with statement tunes in The Jam. Blending the best of British with his love of Motown, Weller crafted a new landscape in the UK music scene thanks to an impressive portfolio of work including amongst others, Stanley Road, Illumination, 22 Dreams and 2013’s Sonik Kicks all hitting Number One. A significant figure in popular music for the past three generations, he remains a cultural icon.
Forest Live is an independent programme organised by the Forestry Commission bringing music to new audiences without commercial branding or sponsorship. Income from the concerts is spent on improving the woodland for both people and wildlife.

Following on from two sold out Forest Live dates last summer, Paul said of the 2014 shows, “It’s a favourite summer jaunt for me so I look forward to performing in a few of the forests that I haven’t played in a good while”.

Paul Weller plus special guests will be performing:

Saturday 14 June: Sherwood Pines Forest, Edwinstowe, Nr Mansfield, Notts.

Saturday 21 June: Bedgebury Pinetum & Forest, Nr Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Friday 27 June: Dalby Forest, Nr Pickering, N Yorks.

Saturday 28 June: Cannock Chase Forest, Nr Rugeley, Staffs.

Friday 4 July: Delamere Forest, Nr Northwich, Cheshire.

Tickets £46.20 (including booking fee) go on sale at 9.00am Friday 17 January from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online at www.forestry.gov.uk/music.

Info
www.paulweller.com

The captivating Paloma Faith is the latest act to announce that she will be performing concerts in seven spectacular woodland locations this summer as part of the Forestry Commission’s Forest Live concert series.

Released in 2009, debut album, ‘Do You Want the Truth, or Something Beautiful?’ introduced Paloma Faith and a glossy ensemble of retro-referencing soul and sassy pop songs. From the brass-blasted stomp of ‘Stone Cold Sober’ to the quirky ‘Upside Down’, and the epic sweep of her biggest chart hit ‘New York’, the record went on to sell over half a million copies. Faith’s 2012 sophomore album, ‘Fall To Grace’, continues to build upon the success of her debut release. A collection of compositions in a new contemporary realm, chart success has already been assured with singles ‘Picking Up the Pieces’, ‘30 Minute Love Affair’, ‘Just Be’ and her enchanting cover of ‘Never Tear Us Apart’. Her achievements have been recognised by the music industry with Brit Award nominations. Her platinum selling album ‘Fall To Grace’ is up for Best Album, and she has also been nominated for Best British Female.

Commenting on her Forest Live dates and her Brit nominations, Paloma Faith said, “I’m really excited about these shows. It’s going to be a great experience so I hope you will be able to join me on my woodland adventure this summer.I am delighted to have been nominated for these Brit awards. I don’t expect to win, but it’s so wonderful to be acknowledged for contributing something to British music. I am very proud to be British and so happy to do something I love.”

Forest Live is an independent programme organised by the Forestry Commission bringing music to new audiences without commercial branding or sponsorship. Income generated from ticket sales is spent on improving the local forests for both people and wildlife. With everything required for a great night out, including full catering and bar facilities, the gigs are renowned for their relaxed atmosphere.

Paloma Faith plus special guests will be performing:

Friday 14 June Thetford Forest, Nr Brandon, Suffolk.
Saturday 15 June Sherwood Pines Forest, Nr Edwinstowe, Notts.
Friday 21 June Bedgebury Pinetum, Nr Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Saturday 22 June Westonbirt Arboretum, Nr Tetbury, Glos.
Friday 28 June Cannock Chase Forest, Nr Rugeley, Staffs.
Saturday 29 June Dalby Forest, Nr Pickering, N Yorks.
Friday 5 July Delamere Forest, Delamere, Cheshire.

Tickets £32.00 (subject to booking fee) go on sale at 9.00am Friday 18 January from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online at www.forestry.gov.uk/music

Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, one of the South East’s leading visitor attractions and home to the world’s best conifer collection, has appointed Dominic O’Connor Robinson as its new manager. Dominic, who at 25 is Bedgebury’s youngest ever manager, joined the Forestry Commission’s management training programme from Cambridge University in 2009 and has worked across the UK in Wales, Surrey, Bristol and Edinburgh before moving to Kent in May. More

Curatorial staff from the National Pinetum at Bedgebury have broken new ground by achieving the first ever successful propagation of a rare and critically endangered Vietnamese conifer. More

Plan B has announced a series of concerts in forests next summer. The uniquely talented artist is the first act to announce multiple dates as part of Forestry Commission Live Music which will see him perform in spectacular woodland locations across the country. More

Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest is holding a major Forest Discovery Day on Sunday 11th September, as part of the Forestry Commission’s national celebration of UN International Year of Forests. As well as creating a fun day out for everyone, this is a chance to show how trees, woods and forests play a vital role in everyone’s life. More

Local botanical artist Pearl Bostock has always loved painting from nature. After retiring as a teacher of fine art at the Kent Institute of Art & Design in Canterbury, she and seven fellow artists have set up a Florilegium Society at Bedgebury National Pinetum.
More

Demo Day July 23rd & July 24th

Quench Cycles has joined forces with distributor Silverfish to sell Mondraker bikes through its Forestry Commission outlets at Bedgebury and Alice Holt. More

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