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Book this: Wealden literary festival

Immerse yourself in all things wholesome with a nature-inspired literary festival that the whole family will love this June!

How about immerse yourself in all things wholesome with a literary festival that the whole family will love and that celebrates the natural world?

The Wealden Literary Festival is the perfect opportunity to pause and explore the living world around us; a moment’s respite from the bustle and bustle of life. Curated with all ages in mind.

It’s a family-friendly weekend of nature, creativity and outdoor adventures in the enchanting setting of Boldshaves Garden in Woodchurch, near Tenterden, Sat 25 – Sun 26 June 2022.


The line-up features Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage who has published more than a dozen poetry collections, two novels and three non-fiction bestsellers! He’ll be reading from his latest work The Owl & The Nightingale and discuss the initiative he has pioneered the Laurel Prize, an annual award for the best collection of environmental poetry to highlight the climate crisis.

Plus Helen Macdonald (Vesper Flights; H is for Hawk) is one of the most acclaimed female nature writers of the past decade and leading scientists and environmentalists Jim Al-Khalili, Anil Seth and Jake Fiennes.

The line-up also places a spotlight on literary talent from the local area. Kent’s Alex Preston (Winchelsea) will be joined by former Wealden Literary Festival writers-in-residence, Tanya Shadrick (The Cure for Sleep) and Lulah Ellender (Grounding), who are both from Sussex.


Alongside the author talks and storytelling sessions that are typical of a literary event, children have a chance to climb trees, take part in an outdoor cooking class, learn traditional bushcraft skills and whizz through ancient woodland on a zipwire.

Other highlights include Mark Cocker’s unique nature tour of Boldshaves Garden. One of the UK’s most celebrated naturalists and author of acclaimed books including Claxton and Our Place, Mark will focus on the wonder of the living things around us. 

Another must-see is 18ft tall Arbor, the creation of award-winning puppetry and theatre company, Smoking Apples. Arbor tells the story of a tree pushed from his home and his fight to preserve his future. Plus take home seeds to plant at home!

Young readers will hear from authors and illustrators: Yuval Zommer (The Big Book of Belonging), who has sold more than 1 million books worldwide; Blue Peter Book Award winner Christiane Dorion (Invented by Animals); zoologist and writer Nicola Davies (The Song That Sings Us); Lauren St John (Wave Riders); Piers Torday (The Wild Before).


Alongside literary events, try your hand at tree climbing, wild cooking, wine tasting, calligraphy, weaving workshops, yoga plus drop-in writing workshops and much more!

With a mix of creative classes, rural skills and traditional crafts, you can learn something new at the festival and perhaps find a new hobby. There are fourteen workshops taking place across the weekend.

Artist-in-residence, Polly Bennett, is hosting a natural pigment making workshop where you will turn natural materials from the garden and woodland at Boldshaves into ink. 

Writer-in-residence, Anna Selby, will offer writing prompts which will encourage you to get closer to nature and write in three places in the gardens. These three places will become outdoor poems.

Plus, Shiv Textiles is hosting a weaving workshop, Jill Swan will teach us how to carve wooden hooks and Sara Lee is bringing the art of pinch pot bird making to the festival.

So, screens down. Time to soak your soul in a bubble bath of all things nature-related (accompanied with cocktail obvs). Select what activities you wish to take part in and get your tickets here.

Tickets start at £6 for a workshop or £50 for an All Day Pass and access to all talks and tents. Boldshaves Garden, Woodchurch, Ashford, Kent TN26 3RA, Tel: 01233 860302,

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