Natural Area 

Weave your way into the wildness of Kew’s Natural Area, 37 acres of classic woodland.

The Natural Area is located on the edge of our Arboretum

On the border where Kew meets the River Thames, a wilder landscape offers space for a forest adventure or a tranquil wander.   

The Natural Area was donated to Kew by Queen Victoria on the condition that the area remains in a wilder, untamed state.  

The contrast is clear the moment you approach the Woodland Walk – a raised trail that takes you through the Natural Area without disturbing the habitat.  

Tall grasses, wildflowers and whispering trees surround the shaded path, while butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies dance through the undergrowth.   

Along the way, younger visitors may want to check in at a bug hotel or dive into our metre-high life-sized badger sett (one tunnel is wheelchair accessible).  Queen Charlotte’s Cottage offers a spot of history and is particularly wonderful in springtime when it is surrounded by bluebells and wild garlic.   

Gentle yet full of surprises, Kew’s Natural Area promises a scenic adventure off the beaten track.  

Woodland Adventures

Dive into the Natural Area with fun, games and discovery for all the family.

Our Giant Picnic Table is a great spot for a quick lunch near the Natural Area

Munch at a giant picnic table

Feel like Alice in Wonderland while you eat your lunch at this giant picnic table where your feet won’t touch the ground!

Visit a bug hotel 

Get to know our woodland neighbours with a trip to our bug hotels at the start of the trail. Ladybirds, centipedes, beetles, spiders or other creatures can often be found looking for a place to stay. 

A life-sized badger sett

Move like a badger

Become a badger for the day in our life-sized badger sett. The tunnels are at least a metre high with one tunnel large enough for wheelchairs. 

A log trail for kids to play on in the Natural Area

Walk the log trail

Test your balancing skills as you hop and skip across this natural log trail, created from trees knocked down by storms. Trees included in the trail are beech, ash, oak, eucalyptus and pine.

A stag beetle loggery to help sustain this endangered species

Spot an endangered stag beetle 

Look out for the stag beetle loggery - an area of fallen trees left to decay to attract globally endangered stag beetles. You're most likely to see the beetles in late spring when the adults emerge from the larvae.  

Conserving the Natural Area  

Following Queen Victoria’s wishes that the area remains in its natural state, this tranquil enclave is dedicated exclusively to the local habitats of south-east England. 

To maintain the habitat in the Natural Area, traditional woodland management practices are used.  

'Coronet pruning' gives a jagged top to dead trees so that insects can hide in the nooks and crannies. Around 185 trees have been planted over the decades, along with lilies, snowdrops, primroses and narcissi to maintain the woodland ecosystem.  

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