Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest

979
Bedgebury offers family cycling, mountain-biking, riding, walking, running, Go Ape, adventure play and archery for all ages and abilities. A new café opened in 2015, which is located with the visitors’ centre and restroom facilities. Orienteering, Geocaching and audio trails are all offered on site. Plus there is a hidden Gruffalo sculpture to seek and for 2015, a Superworm Trail with fun challenges to complete.

MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:

A tranquil location offering a wide range of activities within easy access of south east London. The scenery is beautiful and there is sure to be something new to discover on every visit. We (parents, three year old and newborn) only sampled the play trail, which kept us occupied for several hours. The trail was accessible and we successfully pushed a pram along its length. The first play area on the trail (The Shipwreck) is probably the most suitable for younger visitors and was thoroughly enjoyed by our three year old. The playground is sandy, so you may want to bring a bucket and spade. We saw all ages cycling and enjoying the thrills of Go-Ape. The Superworm trail was enjoyed by our three year old – we didn’t bother with the pack that was available to purchase. 

The newly opened café offers a good range of food and drinks and the meals we had were delicious. The only downside of the café is the relative lack of seating, with a large proportion of the tables are for two people only, which on a rainy day (as on our visit) meant the café was rather restrictive. However, if the weather is kind there are plenty of places for picnics and the visitor centre includes a large indoor picnic area. Restroom facilities were clean and accessible. 

Address: Bedgebury Road, Goudhurst, Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 2SJ.

Website: www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury

Playground: No actual playground as such, but brilliant ‘play stations’ around the Pinetum which provide a fantastic range of large wooden structures for kids of all ages to play, climb, swing and jump on.

Cafe: Yes, serving healthy and tasty food and drink, including brilliant meals for children. It’s very small though and gets very busy. Plenty of picnic options available outside.

Toilets: Yes, with baby change and accessible loos.

Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Yes, paths are wide and fine for wheels. They are not concreted though, so it could be a slightly bumpy ride.

Parking: Lots of parking available. Admission fee charged per vehicle. A car costs £10.

Nearest Station:

Train: Etchingham (on the Hastings line from Charing Cross or London Bridge) is the closest station to Bedgebury. It’s about a 30 minute cycle ride up the A21 (there is a footpath along the edge of the northbound carriageway). Alternatively, Tunbridge Wells, Frant and Wadhurst (on the Hastings line) and Staplehurst and Marden (on the Ashford line) are also nearby.

DLR: No.

Tube: No.

Phone: 01580 879820.

Email: [email protected].

ABOUT:

Bedgebury National Pinetum is a recreational and conservational arboretum. It was established as the National Conifer Collection in 1925 and is now recognised as the most complete collection of conifers on one site anywhere in the world. The collection has over 10,000 trees growing across 320 acres, including rare, endangered and historically important specimens. It is a beautiful location for walking and other outdoor activities. 

Bedgebury includes a play trail, a two kilometre all ability forest trail with play areas located at regular intervals. Bedgebury also offers scenic walking routes promoting healthy living for all the family, including gentle strolls, self-led trails, challenging health walks and calorie mapped trails, as well as dedicated running, family cycling and mountain biking trails. Cycle hire and purchase is available on site, and adapted cycles for disabled people and people with learning difficulties are available for hire. Go Ape and Go Ape Tree Top Juniors offer courses of rope bridges, Tarzan Swings and zip slides up to 35 feet above the forest floor for ages six and above.

 

Review by Katya Wilde.

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Founder of MGF, Helen is a mum of four who spends way too much time on the interweb and not enough time in bed. She loves wearing her dressing gown, car boot sales and watching TV programmes featuring food. Her specialist subjects include 'how to overfill your car boot' and 'how to avoid dusting'. Follow her at Twitter: @Ginfund, Facebook: @MGFund, Instagram: @mummysginfund and online: www.mummysginfund.co.uk.

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