Something to Say? August 2013 Inside this issue

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1 August 2013 Inside this issue Introduction from News & photos from: ~ Wild Crew ~ Edward Parker Photography workshop ~ Recreation News ~ Tree Team ~ Book by Jayne Burton Something to Say? If you have any news, photos, or just have something to say, please the Editor at in time for the next issue. Deadline for September issue Wednesday 28 th August It has been a pleasure to work with the Wednesday Wild Crew in the maintenance of Dalimore Valley this summer, removing unwanted trees, weeding cages and occasionally hauling roots out with the winch! When we haven t been diligently working, we ve been exploring the Pinetum s wildlife and generally having a laugh, especially since our new arrival, John, has joined the team. Over the next month, as well as the nursery weeding and tree label work, installing benches will be a priority in the afternoons this is a surprisingly satisfying job if it s done to a high standard! I m also delighted to welcome Val to the Ambassador role. She will now join our fantastic team in greeting and assisting visitors. Bedgebury can be confusing on your first trip and regular visitors need to be kept abreast of the changes, therefore, the Ambassador role is vital to maintaining an excellent visitor experience. If you would like to join the Wednesday Wild Crew, the Ambassador team, the Sunday Group (that will commence on Sunday 8 th September) or any other volunteer-based activities, please get in touch via , or ring us on

2 Wild Crew For the last couple of weeks the group has split into two the Wet Wild Crew have continued their work at the edge of the lake cutting back the scrub and freeing the water from weeds. Those of us who prefer not to get our feet wet have been working on cages amongst the long grass and wild flowers which are attracting many butterflies, skippers, blues and browns as well as some attractive daytime flying moths such as the Burnet's Companion and 5 spot Burnet. The removal of a large Cotoneaster caused some rebellion in the ranks who were concerned that the blue paint was a mistake and suggestions were made that the paint be cut out thus saving the plant from an untimely end. It was no easy task and took us 2 days to complete, the roots being finally pulled out of the ground by Julian with a piece of machinery. Anna Picken Tree Team update Over the last couple of months the tree team have been focusing on the cherry trees behind the visitor centre, to keep them in good condition for the Dai Nippon butoku kai visit on the 8 th August. This has involved huge amounts of watering and the installation of an irrigation system. We ve also had the pleasure of the Westonbirt tree team visiting us for two days. We put their skills to good use and carried out some tree removal work around the site. This was a good opportunity for me and James to learn some skills to improve our work here at Bedgebury. Meanwhile, I have been attending some meetings and training seminars at Wakehurst Place in preparation of a possible trip to South Korea to collect some seed for the collection. This has been a fantastic opportunity for me to get directly involved in the process of a seed collecting trip and, hopefully, bring back some extremely interesting plants. Kevin Cooper

3 Recreation News Mountain Bike Development Project Work is progressing well on the section after the quarry. Much of this part is being replaced with a more technical slalom type descent down the hill. This has caused a few head scratching moments and a few delays, but we are all very pleased with the work done to date. Please see attached photos. New Waymarkers These are now being installed around the forest and will eventually replace all the existing signs for the family cycle trail, mountain bike trail, play trail, horse trails and orienteering trails. The posts have been made from chestnut timber grown near the Visitor Centre Events Spring and summer are busy times for events and I am pleased to say that they have been a great success. The concerts were great and despite some light rain for Blondie they went very well. The bike clubs night ride Insomnia was also a success and over 120 riders braved the forest in this 12 hour endurance ride overnight. Plans are already being discussed for We are pleased to announce that Archery is back for the summer and early autumn and will take place on the concert field. This is being run by Steve Walker and is a great addition to the summers activities. The annual forest 10k run called Rat Race saw nearly 1000 runners visit Bedgebury and take part in this very popular annual race around the forest. Tickets are on sale for this summers open air theatre production of Babe the Sheep Pig. Sales are going well and tickets can be bought from the FC box office on The Walled Garden is a great venue for the annual open air theatre and this year promises to be good fun. We are also planning the annual Christmas Tree sales and Wealden Times Midwinter Fair which is held in November. Car Parking System We are slowly making progress with the installation of the replacement payment machines and these are due to be installed in early Sept to try and avoid too much disruption over the summer holidays. Visitor Numbers Visitor numbers have picked up from the very poor start to the year in April and the awful Easter weekend. May saw the two busiest days on record at Bedgebury and stretched the site and staff to the limit. It was great to see the volunteer Ambassadors helping the FC and Friends staff in making visitors feel welcomed. June has also been good and both months are helping the site to recover the loses from April Staffing Staffing (fingers very much crossed) has settled down since Gills departure at the end of May. Rick Bourne has moved into Gills old post on a temporary basis to get the site through the summer period. We are now taking the opportunity to review (along with the Friends) how we staff the Visitor Centre and the work that the staff do. Our hope is that we can try and make the operation a little more efficient, whilst maintaining the high standards of customer service. The addition of the new car park and payment system has really altered the Visitor Centre and this is a great opportunity to take a moment and review where we are. Mark Clixby

4 Edward Parker s Photography Course On the 25 th July, renowned photographer Edward Parker took two keen groups around the Pinetum in order to improve their photography skills. The morning session focused on close-ups and, although the Cinnabar Moths on the Ragwort provided an interesting subject, this was really a chance for people to understand the features of their cameras and to play with different compositions. The afternoon session focused on aesthetically-pleasing landscapes, of which Bedgebury does not suffer a lack of! We were incredibly lucky with the weather as the overcast conditions were perfect for the type of photography in the morning, while the golden glow of the low afternoon sun provided the right light for stunning landscape shots. Edward is a fantastic teacher and I believe everyone who attended the courses found them to be enjoyable and informative. Some people on the morning course were so impressed, they signed up for the afternoon session as well. There were some marvellous photographs taken and it is amazing how a normally inane subject can be brought to life with the right composition and lighting. Thank you to all the staff, Friends and non-members who attended. We hope to see Edward back soon.

5 Bedgebury through the seasons Jayne Burton I am very pleased to announce that I have at last finished the Bedgebury book I have been working on for around two years, and have self-published it both as a softcover book and an ebook. Both are available at I am also in the process of producing a calendar which will be available from the Visitor Centre later in the year. I hope you like it. Jayne Burton

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