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Published on April 25th, 2013 | by The Town Crier


Spring into action on the Bedgebury Nature Trail

Spring is a special time at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest when visitors can enjoy the colourful blooms of the rhododendrons and azaleas and also the gentle colours of the native wildflowers which grow happily among the incredible variety of conifers in the National Pinetum.

In April and May visitors can enjoy a free spring trail which will take visitors on a tour to find the seasonal highlights in the National Pinetum. The mapped trail highlights seasonal features of particular interest and takes about an hour.

As the weather warms up this is also the ideal time to enjoy the wider forest where activities range from the challenge of Go Ape to cycling on the variety of graded cycle paths and courses, making the site ideal for both mountain bikers seeking a thrilling ride through the forest or a family seeking a quiet safe place to cycle together.

Don’t miss the ‘Glory Hole’ in the National Pinetum which is full of colourful azalea blooms in May or the bluebells which carpet the forest floor at this time of year.  Visitors who look closely at the conifers in the National Pinetum may be a little surprised to see all the lovely colourful shapes of the newly formed conifer cones..

Although entry to Bedgebury is free, there is a charge for car parking.  All money raised through parking is reinvested in managing and improving Bedgebury’s tree collection and recreational facilities. This year car parking prices will remain at £8.50, and a Friends of Bedgebury Membership will also remain at £56.  A friends membership not only gives you free entry all year to Bedgebury but also entry to other attractions, newsletters and special events.

Bedgebury Forest offers walking, cycling, mountain biking, horse riding, adventure play and orienteering for people of all ages and abilities, creating one of South East England’s premier sites for healthy outdoor activity.

Bedgebury’s National Pinetum is host to the world’s finest collection of conifers and is a beautiful parkland with lakes, streams, rolling hills and wide avenues perfect for a peaceful walk or picnic beside a lake.

Cyclists of all ages and abilities can enjoy a 10km family cycle route (with a 4km short loop) and over 13kms of mountain bike trails. This includes a long cross-country singletrack and a cycle skills area, with built structures and a dirt jump course designed to challenge a rider’s ability and technical skills.

Bedgebury also has a Go Ape high wire and aerial assault course, with rope bridges, Tarzan Swings and zip wires up to 40 feet above the forest floor. Visit www.goape.co.uk for more details.

The forest also has all-ability walking routes promoting healthy living, including health walks and calorie mapped trails. The state-of-the-art Adventure Play Area is themed around the great plant-hunters of the Victorian era.

Bedgebury has also added and upgraded 12km of horse riding tracks. The addition of way-marking, a trail map, a secure box park and picnic area, plus links to existing bridleways has created a wonderful trail riding opportunity.

The Visitor Centre serves both the National Pinetum and Forest and has catering in the Pineatery, a separate cycle hire shop (including disabled cycles), showers, bike wash area, visitor information and a classroom/community room.

Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest is one of the Seven Wonders of the Weald and is open all year.  Visitors should wear suitable footwear and clothing.

For further information about Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest visit http://www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury


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