Bedgebury National Pinetum
One of the most complete collections of conifers anywhere in the world, Bedgebury contains over 12,000 specimens spread across 320 acres. In a beautiful forest setting crisscrossed with walks and mapped trails, a day in the forest has something for all levels of ability, from gentle walks planned around a leisurely picnic to adventurous family-friendly trails or orienteering. With many rare, endangered and historically important specimens to gaze at as you walk, Bedgebury is fascinating in all seasons. Children love the play area, where a few of the challenges faced by intrepid early plant-hunters are reflected, or they can Go Ape on the exhilarating course of rope bridges strewn high in the trees. There are also opportunities for family cycle rides, high-speed mountain biking, running, archery and horse-riding.
Also in the area
About the area
The White Cliffs of Dover are an English icon – the epitome of our island heritage and sense of nationhood. They also mark the point where the Kent Downs AONB, that great arc of chalk downland stretching from the Surrey Hills and sometimes known as ‘the Garden of England’, finally reaches the sea. This is a well-ordered and settled landscape, where chalk and greensand escarpments look down into the wooded Weald to the south.
Many historic parklands, including Knole Park and Sir Winston Churchill’s red-brick former home at Chartwell, are also worth visiting. Attractive settlements such as Charing, site of Archbishop Cranmer’s Tudor palace, and Chilham, with its magnificent half-timbered buildings and 17th-century castle built on a Norman site, can be found on the Pilgrim’s Way, the traditional route for Canterbury-bound pilgrims in the Middle Ages.
In the nature reserves, such as the traditionally coppiced woodlands of Denge Wood and Earley Wood, and the ancient fine chalk woodland of Yockletts Bank high on the North Downs near Ashford, it is still possible to experience the atmosphere of wilderness that must have been felt by the earliest travellers along this ancient ridgeway.
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