Bedgebury Summer

Sat Jan 16 2021 
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tunbridge wells town
tunbridge wells town

Shady Bedgebury is the coolest place this summer

tunbridge_wells Kent

Bedgebury is a great place to chill out this summer. Stroll or picnic in the cool shade of the National Pinetum or, if you feel more active, let off some steam in Bedgebury Forest on our bike tracks, walking routes and go Ape high-wire adventure.

Alice in Woodland Wonderland

Live theatre is coming to Bedgebury this summer.  On Wednesday 26th August, top London touring company Quantum Theatre is staging two performances of Alice Through The Looking Glass in Bedgebury's Walled Garden.  Shows start at 2pm and 6pm.  Tickets priced at £7 (children) and £12 (adults) are on sale through the Forestry Commission Box Office on 01842 814612 or from Bedgebury Visitor Centre.

Aaaarrrrrrr you a Plant Hunter?

Have you spotted Pirate Bill and his cat Pugwash, Bedgebury's latest additions. The two characters introduce the idea of plant hunters and their adventures to children and their families in some new interpretation recently installed on the play trail. Can you take the Plant Hunters' Challenge and discover what Bedgebury's plant hunters pack in their luggage? All is revealed at the Plant Hunters' Play Trail.

Green Gong for Bedgebury
The Green Tourism Business Scheme, an environmental accreditation scheme for tourism businesses, has awarded Bedgebury a 'Good Silver Grading' - in recognition of our efforts to make the site both environmentally and user Friendly.  This award ties in with the Forestry Commission's Greenerways corporate sustainability policy, embracing recycling, traffic management and use of sustainable fuels.


Archery adds another string to Bedgebury's bow 

The ever-popular Bedgebury archery sessions are underway again and will continue right through the summer until the end of October.  Run by Level 2 Coach Steve Walker (formerly of Kent Sports Development Unit), they take place on Bedgebury's Events Arena outside the Walled Garden.  Hourly sessions run from 10am till 7pm every day until 31st October.  All ages and abilities catered for from 6.  All equipment is supplied. Sessions cost £5 and can either be booked in advance or on the day - 07856 924934.


Bedgebury Dan in Chile 

Dan Luscombe, Bedgebury's Assistant Curator, has now visited every continent in his quest for wild-collected seed from the world's rarest and most endangered conifers.  His latest trip was to Chile, where he and colleagues from Wakehurst Place and Westonbirt travelled the length and breadth of the country by plane, car, boat and on foot.  They had to run the gauntlet of erupting volcanoes, leeches, mosquitoes and tropical downpours to gather a rich variety of exotic species, such as monkey puzzle, Chilean Plum Yew and Fitzroya. 

Under the close scrutiny of dolphins, penguins, sea lions, vultures and Andean condors, the four intrepid explorers and their Chilean guides braved tropical rainforests, snow-capped mountains and Jurassic terrain to collect invaluable material for the South American section of the Bedgebury Conifer Conservation Project and the Millennium Seed Bank.

"All in all it was the trip of a lifetime" Says Dan. "2500 miles by car, four days travelling by boat, more volcanoes than you can shake a stick at, good company, amazing scenery, great collections of seed for long-term conservation at Wakehurst Place, Bedgebury, Westonbirt and Kew.  I can't wait to start sowing the seed and watch them grow."

For a vivid insight into Dan's experiences please check out Dan's Chilean Blog -


Tree News

Chris Reynolds, Curator

We have been planting various native aquatic species in and around the lake by the Visitor Centre, alongside the tupelo and swamp cypress that went in two years ago.  As well as improving its appearance, the vegetation also offers a habitat for wildlife.

Bedgebury is currently buzzing with wildlife.  Keep a look out for reptile and amphibian activity - particularly toads, frogs, newts and grass snakes around the lake and slow worms and common lizards amongst the dwarf conifers.  We are in the middle of a reptile monitoring survey on behalf of the Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group.  Dragonflies and damselflies are also abundant.

Wild flowers are thriving in the grassland areas - ox-eye daisies, yellow rattle, birdsfoot trefoil; which in turn helps to attract butterflies.  Don't miss the common spotted orchids along the juniper bank, easy to spot with the big black blotches on their leaves.

It promises to be a bumper year for cones, especially on the larches and firs (we are planning an exhibition of cones in the Education Room this summer).  There are indications that 2009 could prove to be a 'mast year' - an especially good seed year with lots of evidence of vigorous plant reproduction

What's On

Summer Sensations
Tues 4 Aug 10.00-12.00 5-8 years
Weds 5 Aug 10.00-12.00 9-13 years
A sensory discovery walk round Bedgebury. Come prepared to sniff, touch, listen to and see our tree collection in a whole new way.

Naturally Arty
Tues 11 Aug 10.00-12.00 5-8 years
Weds 12 Aug 10.00-12.00 9-13 years
Discover the colours, patterns and textures of Bedgebury’s tree collection, and create some natural masterpieces.

Green Machines
Tues 18 Aug 10.00-12.00 5-8 years
Weds 19 Aug 10.00-12.00 9-13 years
Ever wondered how a tree works? Come and find out, using Bedgebury’s fantastic conifer collection.

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Wednesday 26th August.
Quantum Theatre Production in Bedgebury's Walled Garden. Shows start at 2pm and 6pm.  Tickets priced at £7 (children) and £12 (adults) are on sale through the Forestry Commission Box Office on 01842 814612 or from Bedgebury Visitor Centre.

Marie Curie Great Forest Run
Saturday 12th September
details on 01883 832665 or

Seed Gathering Sunday (£2.50)
Sun 27 September
10.30-12.00 – all ages
13.00-14.30 – all ages
This is your chance to collect seed from Bedgebury’s famous trees, and pot up a seed to take home.

PRE-BOOKING ESSENTIAL for family events. Normal parking charges apply, but visitors will receive a free voucher for their next visit. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please contact Visitor Services on 01580 879820 or call in at the Information Office. Price £5 per young person, except where stated.