You know the feeling – the sun is shining, the cold and wet of winter is a disappearing memory and it’s time to break out into the wild blue yonder!

Perhaps that should be the wild ‘green’ yonder because there are a host of great Forest walks planned over the coming months for you to shake off the cobwebs and enjoy in the company of our resident experts. Full details of all events, most of which will appeal to the whole family, can be found on our website and remember, it’s often worth signing up early for added benefits or savings. Not all events are charged, although any donations you may be able to offer help us to grow the Forest and maintain our footpaths for you to explore.

Here at Forest HQ, we all know Head Forester Stephen Coffey is a mine of information! Now you can tap into that mine when he hosts a Guided Spring Nature Walk from our Barton Car Park on Saturday, April 22nd leaving at 10am. Stephen will be on hand to help you spot birds and butterflies, blossom and birds’ nests, learn about the local wildlife and give you a forester’s eye view on every aspect of creating Britain’s largest new native woodland.

Feast your eyes on the blaze of bluebell colour when we throw open the gates of our very own Bluebell Wood (Alne Wood Park at Spernal) Charity Weekend on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th of April. The best way to beat the crowds is to bag yourself an early access ticket from 10am, giving you a full hour of tranquillity to drink in the beauty of the bluebells carpeting the woodland floor before the gates are open to all comers at 11am.

Saturday, May 13th sees a first for the Heart of England Forest, when qualified instructor Kathrin Foster oversees a Nordic Walking Taster Session starting at Barton Car Park and taking in some of the beautiful woodland around the area. The fastest growing fitness activity in the world, Nordic walking can benefit all ages and abilities and is far more than just walking with poles! Equipment will be provided and the fun session will last for around 45 minutes. Places are limited so get in quick.

There’s a chance to meet our Chief Executive, Beth Brook, and chat with her about our plans when she leads our Guided Walk: Woodland and Wildlife excursion on Saturday May 20th (leaving at 10am). Join your enthusiastic, knowledgeable and engaging host Beth for a stroll through both newly planted and established woodlands and discover the vast array of species that call them home.

Usher in the summer months on Saturday, June 10th, when Head Forester Stephen Coffey will be in action again, this time leading our Friends of the Forest Walk. Beginning at Spernal, our ‘Friends of the Forest’ are cordially invited to join Stephen for an exclusive guided stroll, followed by the chance to quiz him further over tea and cake. If you are not yet subscribed as a Friend of the Forest, join up on our website to ensure you receive your exclusive invitation, as well as other benefits such as free parking, and our regular magazine.

The following week, on Friday, June 16th we host an Evening Bat Walk starting at 9pm in Dorsington. Using bat detectors participants will hope to hear and see some of our woodland bats and even identify them.

Dorsington is again the venue for a Woodland Wander on July 15th. Led by a member of the forestry team, walkers can learn more about the work that goes on year-round to create and maintain the Forest. In the summer holidays, there will be an Afternoon Butterfly Walk around Dorothy’s Wood, Barton, on Saturday August 19th, offering the chance to explore the woodland in the company of an expert lepidopterist and to search for, and learn about, different species.

A full and fabulous programme of events, we hope you’ll agree. All you need is an enquiring mind, some comfortable footwear and you’ll be ready to unlock the secrets of the Heart of England Forest – time to ‘spring into action’! Please remember to sign up early as these walks can be very popular and places are limited.