Bentley Woodfair is the highlight of the events calendar on The Bentley Estate. Every year the Woodfair sees the estate becomes the place to celebrate anything wood related… craft, forestry, chainsaw sculpting, trug making, forest education, music, food..the list is endless. This year was no exception with more exhibitors than ever before allowing visitors to enjoy three full days of displays, performances, exhibitor stands and food stalls. Welcome to Bentley Woodfair!
We live locally so have visited the Woodfair several times before. The event is an excellent family day out with a huge amount to occupy all ages. The grounds themselves take most of the day to explore even before scheduling in all the goings’s on at the main arena, exploring the crafts in Glyndebourne Woods, visiting the exhibitors (many of whom offering hands on experiences) and of course popping into the Woodman’s Arm for a cheeky shandy!
On entering the site visitors are greeted with a hive of activity taking place on the Bentley Lawn. There were a large number of stalls many with demonstrations taking place..but our attention was drawn to a group of historical displays offering some hands on opportunities. We had a go at archery with the Retine of Herstmonceaux Castle, then speared a few wild boar with the Hands on History team….best of all we soaked the family wench at the Herstmonceaux Castle stand!
The children were fascinated by the wide range of wooden crafts. The children loved the delicate wind up toys and the outdoor water wheels.
Walking on from the Lawn past the Woodland Arcade we enter the beautiful Glynebourne Woods. Again buzzing with activities, music, food stalls and hands on opportunities. The first thing you really notice as you enter these woods is the amount of action that takes place over your head. These magical woods are home to Branching Out, a high ropes and climbing activity centre. We embraced the chance for a quick go on the giant swing and hear Daddy scream!
The woods held some incredible sursprises this year and I think exploring this part of the Woodfair was certainly a highlight for me. We discovered the amazing Twisted Space team who had created an interactive, handmade wooden marble run suspended from the trees fascinating both children and adults.
Then there was the Rambling Boar stand where you could have a go at creating your own needle felt animal….or just enjoy the gorgeous creations on display.
We always look forward to the Woolly Umbrella display area and this year they didn’t let us down. This collective of makers demonstrate a range of crafts from peg loom weaving to dyeing, basketry to felted masks and crocheting to spoon carving. It’s a busy and vibrant stand with lots going on. This year we had a great time trying on some of the felt masks in their dress up area!
Finally we reached The Railway Field, where the main arena is situated aswell as a huge range of pop up eateries and many more exhibitioners. We enjoyed a drink in the Woodman’s Arms with it’s welcoming atmosphere and good service and tucked into a generous portion of locally sourced fish n chips at Olly’s Fish Shack.
The Main Arena had some great acts we caught the incredible Stix Drummers with their powerful, rhythmic beats and we loved watching the Spiramawgus Morris dancers back at the cafe area.
Bentley Woodfair is a fantastic family day out. There are endless opportunities for hands on experiences and learning new skills. Bentley Estate provides a gorgeous setting with great play facilities and the miniature railways is not to be missed.The event was even bigger and better this year than previous years! We are already looking forward to next year’s event…what have you got in store for us in 2018 Bentley!?
For up to date information on next years Woodfair event please check the Bentley Woodfair website here.