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Studies show walking amongst trees is good for your mind and body so get off the sofa and visit Bedgebury Pinetum! Here's our top 4 must do things this Autumn...

Studies show walking amongst trees is good for your mind and body. It reduces levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress, and a forest walk can even boost the immune system.

That’s why we need to make the most of those sunny Autumn days (that’s right, the ones when it actually stops raining) and get out in nature.

And if you head to Bedgebury National Pinetum, not only does it feature in the Lonely Planet’s new list of the UK’s best sights and experiences not to be missed, there’s also so much going on to tempt you off the sofa. Here’s our top 4 suggestions that you might not know about…

BEST FOR… CULTURE VULTURES

The Art of Trees, Bedgebury

Got a cultural friend or a mother-in-law that you’d like to take out for a walk? This new outdoor art exhibition celebrates the Bedgebury National Pinetum tree collection and its globally important work. Using new and unique artworks from the Bedgebury Pinetum Florilegium Society, the exhibition showcases the beauty and diversity of the Pinetum’s plant life.

The Bedgebury Pinetum Florilegium Society (yup, it’s a tongue twister) is a group of talented artists who make accurate and beautiful records of the Pinetum’s trees and plants. In doing so, they are continuing a tradition that dates back to at least the 15th century.

Basically it’s just a totally original way to view the forest. Pop to the Visitor Centre Information Office for more details or to pick up your exhibition catalogue, taking place from now until March 2020. forestryengland.uk/bedgebury/events/the-art-of-trees

BEST FOR… FAMILIES

Big Forest Find, Bedgebury 

Like the idea of a great family activity that helps towards saving the planet? ‘Course you do! The Forestry Commission is inviting people to join the biggest ever survey of England’s forest wildlife as part of its centenary celebrations.

The Big Forest Find is a way you can help protect and provide habitats, now and in the future. Taking place across the UK in the nation’s forests, such as our very own Bedgebury Forest, volunteers and visitors embark on a journey of discovery through England’s wooded landscapes.

From birds and butterflies to insects and plant life on the forest floor, the information recorded will paint a better picture of England’s forest biodiversity. Forestry England is encouraging people from all walks of life, seasoned naturalists to budding wildlife enthusiasts, to take part and record forest wildlife through the seasons using the free app iNaturalist.

What better way to get your kids outdoors and teach them about saving their planet and how to do their bit? forestryengland.uk

BEST FOR.. ‘ME’ TIME

Be Here Now Trail

Forestry England

Launched for the first time this year to herald in Autumn – this new trail has been designed to boost wellbeing and encourage us to slow down and smell the, er… pine cones?  Showing off the canopy of colour that comes with this season, this trail is a mile and a half of utter gorgeousness – think nature’s own annual art exhibition.

In this crazy juggle of work/school run/life we could all benefit from taking a moment to slow down and walk amongst the trees. Become more aware of the present moment and the natural world around you – experience the sights, scents and sounds of nature. This gentle route highlights the beauty of nature with panoramic views of Bedgebury’s tree collection, Dallimore valley and lakes.

And breeeeathe. forestryengland.uk

BEST FOR… FESTIVE FEEL-GOOD

Photo credit: Fraser Allen

The planners amongst you will want to book tickets now to this magical, after-dark, illuminated trail. It’s a one-mile path that winds through Bedgebury National Pinetum. The tree-tops will glisten and shimmer drenched in seasonal colour, on this festive adventure in a world of trees.

Following a hugely successful first year, the 2019 winter trail will look very different, with new installations rising high into the night sky.

Think ribbons of light in changing colours; hundreds of colourful boats gently bobbing on the shimmering lake and flickering flames in the scented Fire Garden.

To those who have been before, rest assured, the towering (and poetically named) Cathedral of Light will twinkle yet again with thousands of pea-lights as you walk into a world festooned with seasonal cheer.

Take a moment to pause at the Water Fountain Finale as jumping jets of light dance in time across the water to much-loved Christmas classics.

Perfect for a winter walk when you’re buying a christmas tree (and if you purchase a christmas tree your visit is free admission and you’ll get a free warm mince pie). forestryengland.uk/forest-event

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