Hundreds of families are expected to flock to the National Memorial Arboretum’s Autumn Festival this weekend (18-19 September), as the 150-acre garden and woodland site in Staffordshire hosts their seasonal celebratory event. This year, visitors can participate in a wide range of free activities, including axe throwing, archery, crossbow shooting, storytelling, woodland animals, the Stick Man activity trail and woodland crafts. There is also an opportunity to pick up a selection of tasty treats and artisanal goods from the food and craft fair.

“From axe throwing to traditional woodland crafts, our varied Autumn Festival activity programme means the whole family is sure to have a great day out,” said Mark Ellis, Head of Visitor Experience. “Our grounds team have been busy using scrap timber to start the construction of dozens of bug hotels, ready for visitors to add the finishing touches with some natural materials they forage themselves. Once complete, the bug hotels can be taken home to create new garden habits and hopefully enhance biodiversity.”

The Arboretum is also the finish line of the inaugural National Forest Trek on Sunday 19 September, welcoming participants of the fundraising challenge walk who will have journeyed along up to 75 miles of the National Forest Way. Forged by an alliance of the National Forest Company, National Memorial Arboretum and Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Benevolent Fund, each of the charities receiving an equal share of the donations raised during the trek.

Visitors to the Arboretum on Sunday 19 September can join in a 5km version of the trek between 12.30pm and 1.30pm along flat walking surfaces, providing an opportunity for all ages to reflect and celebrate while supporting charitable causes. The 5km trek costs £15 per entry and registration can be pre-booked at or purchased from the National Forest Trek registration desk between noon and 1pm.

“The 5km variant of the National Forest Trek is a fantastic way for families to explore the site when visiting our Autumn Festival,” said Ellis. “It’s a brilliant opportunity to get some exercise and discover some of our inspirational memorials while raising funds for three fantastic charities that call the National Forest their home.”

Entry to the National Memorial Arboretum’s Autumn Festival is free, however, visitors are recommended to pre-book to guarantee entry.  To book, visit




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