What's On

An easy-to-read listing of the main activities

There's lots of things to see and do at our Woodland Festival

These are the main events with times and the locations on the Event Map.  Do see the full schedule for what is on when.

ARCHAEOLOGY (11:00 am  -  1 )

How did this abbey come to be here, and what can the ruins, landscape, tracks and earth banks tell us. How did the abbey evolve over time and how were the ruins eventually saved. Listen to a talk from our resident archaeologist and then have a walk around the ruins to see the evidence for yourself.

The talk starts at 11:00 am in the Lodge and then explores the perimeter of the ruins  pointing out some of the features referred to.

Lesnes Abbey Estate Research Group

open house

This talk is part of the open house festival for 2023


See a display of art celebrating Lesnes Abbey Woods. 

There will be paintings and wooden craftwork using materials from the local woods 

Some will be for sale on the day.

CYANOTYPE (11:00 am to 3:00 pm  -  4 )

Using one of the very first photographic methods use natural products to make your own amazing art work with the help of sunlight and some old fashioned wet chemistry!

A great way to combine science and nature!

FLORAL ARCH (11:00 am to 3:00 pm  -  4 )

Watch as a floral arch is made from woven willow and flowers. 

The arch will be moved to the nave of the church for the Grand Procession to pass through.


Why not dress up and really embrace being in our woods. Maybe you could be a canon from the abbey, a humble woodsman, or a forest nymph, a deer, rabbit or even the green man or lady of the woods! There will be a face painter in the market to help perfect your look!

If none of that grabs you, just look amazing and join our grand procession around the abbey ruins at 4:00pm

GREEN WOODWORKING (11:00 am to 3:00 pm  -  4 )

Log splitting, log sawing, axe use, planes, pole lathes, shave horses, carving, weaving and other demonstrations and activities based on traditional skills all showcased by the Forest Club of Lesnes Abbey Woods.

Have a go at simple crafting activities, listen to woodland tales and try out a traditional carved slit drum.

LITTER ARTY (11:00 am to 3:00 pm   -  4 )

See how you can become a member of the  'Litter Arty' by crafting things from stuff that you would usually just chuck in a bin. Join in on the day and make something yourself, maybe even help add something to the floral arch by making a flower! 

 Stop by the ‘Litter Arty’ stall and meet some of the FOLAW volunteer litter pickers, you may even get to see our own Dusty Bin (need to be a certain age to remember that!) the infamous ‘litter picker 5000’.

We’re delighted to have ‘Nan & Van’ with us. Nonna Penny is an artist who is passionate about saving our planet, she creates her own stories and works with natural materials but also reuses & recycles as much as possible. Nonna Penny has an amazing van with all kinds of goodies to help children (and adults) create something unique & amazing.   As Nonna says  'We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing'

MARKET (ALL DAY   -  2 )

A vibrant eco-market with stalls providing food, drink, education and crafting opportunities. The focus is on locally produced products, recycling and providing background on how the products are made. There will also be stalls providing active assistance on the three Rs... Repair, Reuse and Recycle. All the other things you would expect, but all a little bit different. 

MUSIC & MORRIS DANCING (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm  -  5 )

Live folk and country music from 1.00- 3.30pm on stage  featuring local and Kentish performers.

Morris Dancers from 3:30 pm.

Arranged by John Stevens with Claire Stevens in support.

With a small stage set up in the refectory of the old abbey, enjoy a wide range of music from local bands all in keeping with our woodland festival ambience.

DYE GARDEN & ECO-PRINTING (11:00 am to 3:00 pm   -  4 )

There will be talks and demonstrations and an opportunity to take part in two scheduled workshops which you will need to sign up to on  the day.

In the workshops you will be able to make dyed cloth using a range of materials under expert guidance.

POETRY (4:30 pm  -  1 )

Read and listen to poems about Lesnes Abbey Woods written by people who love the park and have submitted their work for this festival. 

The poems will be read in the Lodge at 4:30, but you can also see them hanging on our unique 'poet-trees' just by Charlie's Cafe Kiosk.


RITUALS OF THE WOODS (11:00 am to 3:00 pm -  ℹ️ )

Delve into the mysterious and usually out-of-bounds chalk pit for a day of meditative woodland based traditions involving nature. Prepare for a parade that will form the culmination of the day.

STORY TELLING - LORE OF THE WILD (11:00 am  -  3  start)

Lore of the Wild is a series of pre-recorded audio stories accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack voiced by Fox, Crow, Fungi, even the Wind herself.

Join writers Sophie and Bernadette on an enchanting walk. After each story, they will invite moments to reflect and celebrate as we gather in this ancient woodland to consider our relationship with the land during this time of harvest.

Book your walk here

STORY TELLING - RICHARD DE LUCI (12 pm -  6  and 2:30 pm -  3 )

All ages will enjoy this horrible history style story about a great man who was at the heart of the most famous medieval scandal but also shaped our local area.

Who was the Norman Knight who founded Lesnes Abbey and what did he get up to in his long and illustrious life. As second-in-command to King Henry II, Richard de Luci was once one of the most powerful people in England.  How did he come to found Lesnes Abbey?  And what was his connection to the murder of Thomas Becket - an event which shocked medieval Europe and influenced English history for hundreds of years.

Talks in the Lodge (All Day - Check times -  1 )

Be guided round the woods and relax in these calming surroundings as you are encouraged to let all five of your senses explore nature and indulge in activities like bark rubbing.

WELL BEING WALK (11:30 am   -  3  start)

Be guided round the woods and relax in these calming surroundings as you are encouraged to let all five of your senses explore nature and indulge in activities like bark rubbing.

WILDLIFE (11:00 am to 3:00 pm   -  4 )

Engage in activities to learn about and help the wildlife in the woods.