Bedgebury National Pinetum
By Clara J. Vestal, 05/2001
I recently visited Bedgebury National Pinetum near Goudhurst, Kent - a must for all tree lovers.
Conifers in all their variety grow tall and slender, spread wide branches, or droop towards the ground, their foliage ranging from pale green to dark silvery-blue. Some of the trees, such as the giant Wellingtonias planted in 1870, date from the time when Bedgebury was a private estate. But most have been planted since 1924, when the pinetum was founded as a joint venture by the Forestry Commission and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Many rare specimen trees were lost in the storm of October 1987. Among the survivors, swamp cypresses from America flourish in the waterlogged soil of a small lake- originally a hammer-pond that provided waterpower for iron workings.
Often described as a place of peace and tranquillity, there is something for every one at Bedgebury Pinetum. You may wander where you please. Why not take a stroll around the World, where fine specimen trees can be seen from all five continents, or take the Trees of The World Trail, where the tallest, oldest, and indeed rarest trees of their kind can be seen. With more than 6000 magnificent trees on display in landscaped lakes and valleys, Bedgebury is an experience not to be missed. Throughout the year there is always something looking at its best. The Pinetum is also a unique haven for wildlife. Of particular note are birds, with the superb Hawfinch, Firecrest and Crossbills topping the list and seen at varying times of the year. Season SightsOpen all year from 10.00am-Dusk Available on Site: Shop & Information, Toilets & Pinetum Pantry Cafe.
Spring Great displays of Rhododendrons, Azaleas and fantastically brilliant and delicate conifer flowers, make it one of the loveliest times of the year to visit.
Summer Relax in secluded, tranquil, shaded glades, enjoy the sounds from the Lake, the gurgalling streams, and see the nineteen different types of Dragonfly dancing on the air.
Autumn Superb leaf colour, fantastic luminescent fungi, and a vast array of cones, fruits, nuts and berries, make this a hugely attractive time to visit. Winter Magical landscapes, particularly when seen on frosty days or after a fall of snow. This is when conifers are at their best, and brightly coloured stems of Birch and Dogwood take centre stage.
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