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The Big Forest Find at Bedgebury Pinetum, Goudhurst to help forest wildlife

By Angela Cole

The biggest ever survey of England's forest wildlife comes to Kent this weekend - and you can join in.

From tree bingo to listening to birdsong, there’s a range of natural activities which everyone can take part in, helping nature and wildlife.

Home to the National Conifer Collection, Bedgebury Pinetum at Goudhurst has more than 12,000 trees, miles of cycling and walking paths, tree top adventures and an adventure play trail.

Count the caterpillars as part of the Big Forest Find Picture: Simon Bound
Count the caterpillars as part of the Big Forest Find Picture: Simon Bound

Besides the humans it caters for, the Forestry Commission site is internationally known for its beauty and the diversity of the species it is home to.

As part of the commission’s centenary this year, the Big Forest Find is the biggest ever survey of England’s forest wildlife - and it's happening at the pinetum from this weekend.

Volunteers and visitors can help record everything from birds and butterflies to insects and plant life on the forest floor.

Bedgebury Pinetum will be staging the Big Forest Find
Bedgebury Pinetum will be staging the Big Forest Find

The aim is to paint a better picture of England’s forest biodiversity, and help the Forestry Commission to enhance its forests for wildlife for generations to come.

You can record forest wildlife through the seasons using the free app iNaturalist or take part in one of the family activities during half term.

There are self-led activities, free drop-in sessions with experts and pre-bookable walks and tours.

* To find out how to take part in the Big Forest Find go to forestryengland.uk/bedgebury

Will you see a woodlark? Picture: Paul Yorke-Dunne
Will you see a woodlark? Picture: Paul Yorke-Dunne

HALF TERM ACTIVITIES

From bird and bat walks, to bug spotting and pond dipping, there are activities running until Sunday, June 2 at Bedgebury. They include:

Tree bingo: The self-led trail is every day and is free, and you can start from the visitor centre.

Aquatic wildlife walk: On Saturday, May 25, between 10am and noon with the South East Rivers Trust, costs £3 and needs to be booked in advance.

Pond life activity drop-in sessions: On Saturday, May 25 at 10am and 2pm, with the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership and Kent High Weald Partnership.

Bedgebury Pinetum Picture: Fraser Allen
Bedgebury Pinetum Picture: Fraser Allen

Birdsong walk: Volunteer expert David Ware will lead the walk from 9am, costing £3.

Moth ID: With volunteer expert Claire Ward on Tuesday, May 28 from 8am, costing £3.

Small mammal discovery walk: With Matt Parratt on Wednesday, May 29 from 8am, costing £3.

For other half term ideas, click here.

Read more: All the latest events across Kent

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