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Wealden Literary Festival 18 and 19 June

The first Wealden Literary Festival – a two-day event celebrating landscape, nature and place is being held on June 18-19 in the heart of the Garden of England. The festival, which has won the backing of award-winning landscape and travel writer Robert Macfarlane, is being held in the renowned gardens and woodland at Boldshaves, Woodchurch, near Tenterden.


Wealden Literary Festival is the brainchild of outdoor and nature enthusiasts Laura and Andrew Willan, of Tenterden. It will be an inspiring and fun festival for all ages with talks by nationally-acclaimed writers and speakers alongside hands-on outdoor activities exploring the natural world including wildlife safaris and nature trails. There will also be art installations and specialist craft stalls alongside a wide range of artisanal food stalls taking advantage of the best of local produce.


In short, we are organising the sort of event we just love to go to ourselves. Visitors will be able to hear brilliant speakers in The Garden Tent and meet specialists sharing their enthusiasm for exploring a sense of place and revealing exciting ways to connect with the living world. Authors taking part include Charles Foster, author of the ground-breaking new book Being A Beast, James Macdonald Lockhart whose inspiring book Raptor, journeys across the British Isles in search of birds of prey, and Phillip Hoare, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. TV Time Teams expert Francis Pryor will also be there together with leading bumblebee scientist and enthusiast Dave Goulson and Patrick Barkham whose book, Coastlines: The Story of our Shore features Kent in an exploration of how we as an island nation are shaped by our shores.


Other attractions include the works of Kate Beaugie, artist in residence, who will be responding to the gardens at Boldshaves and the natural environment of the Weald. Kate will be talking about the different ways her works capture and respond to the magic of nature in The Barn at 1pm on Saturday, 18 June.


On Sunday, 19 June, festival goers will be able to join author, broadcaster, naturalist and environmentalist Mark Cocker on a Wildlife Safari. From 9am, Mark will lead a small group through a tour of the surroundings of Boldshaves Gardens to reveal the wildlife at out fingertips.


Admission to the festival site is free for younger visitors, under 14 years. There will be free Children’s Activities including a workshop with Matthew Appleby, author of The Children’s Garden, and a chance to learn bushcraft skills with the Meek Family, plus art classes with Naomi Howarth whose book, The Crows Tale, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

Early booking is recommended for the talks and programmed activities, including free Children’s Activities, as places are limited. The full Wealden Literary Festival programme, with details of all special activities and talk tickets, including day passes, is available at

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