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Cyclists of all ages and abilities can enjoy the 9km family cycle route and 13km mountain bike trail. This includes a long single-track cross-country loop and a daredevil Dirt Jump area. The state-of-the-art Adventure Play Area is themed around the great plant-hunters of the Victorian era. People who like their thrills higher up can try Go Ape's high ropes and zip wires. The Visitor Centre features refreshments, toilets, bike hire (including adapted cycles), showers for bikes and riders, and an education/community room. A network of new paths throughout the Pinetum enable easy access for all levels of ability.
Please see: http://www.gardens-guide.com/Bedgebury-events/u003EEvents 2013u003C/au003E Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest in the High Weald of Kent offers some of the best 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. The National Pinetum is the world's finest collection of conifers, and offers beautiful peaceful walks through parkland surrounded by lakes, streams, rolling hills and wide avenues.
The Pinetum has the most complete collection of conifers on one site anywhere in the world. The collection has over 7,000 tree specimens growing in 320 acres, including rare, historically important and endangered trees and is home to some 91 vulnerable or critically endangered species and five NCCPG National Collections. It contains some of the oldest, largest and fascinating examples of conifers in Britain and many have colourful and exotic cones on display at certain times of the year and these include the delicate pink cones of the Likiang Spruce and Golden Larch. The Pinetum is set in beautiful and tranquil parkland with lakes, streams and rolling hills.
Spring brings impressive colourful displays of rhododendrons and azaleas which bring a blaze of colour in the Glory Hole and all round the Pinetum, bluebells hidden in the vistas and the emergence of wildflowers in the meadows and valleys - all against a backdrop of rare and magnificent conifers. With summer comes thousands of wildflowers across the meadows, water lilies and drifts of orchids and the amazing numbers of butterflies and dragonflies.
The Pinetum is the perfect place to see the dazzling display of reds and yellows provided by the American Sweet Gum and the Dawn Redwoods which surrounds Marshal's lake and many other tree species which make up Bedgebury Pinetum's 300 acre collection. Autumn colour is spectacular at Bedgebury and colours are plentiful due to recently planted groups of trees and shrubs noted for their autumn splendour.
The poor soils and air pollution from London made Kew an unsuitable site for a new conifer collection. Bedgebury was chosen for the streams which flow in the valleys, the lake and the combination of marshy land and drier ridges. Purchased by the Crown in 1919 as part of the Bedgebury Forest for the newly established Forestry Commission, it was developed jointly by the Forestry Commission and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew from 1923 until 1965, when the Pinetum reverted solely to the Forestry Commission. The first plants for the Pinetum were raised at Kew Gardens in 1921 and planted out in Bedgebury in 1925 and 1926 among earlier plantings carried out by Viscount Marshal Beresford of Bedgebury, who served with Wellington at Waterloo.
The Pinetum at Goudhurst was designed by Kew botanist William Dallimore. He worked tirelessly beyond his retirement from Kew in 1936. A world-renowned conifer expert, he oversaw the early developments until 1945, marrying his original planting to the earlier work of the Beresfords of Bedgebury. He planned and supervised the work, mostly under great difficulties, in the early years from financial stringency, and latterly under war-time conditions. Some authorities have credited Dallimore with genius at landscaping, identifying his particular skill in using species of most spectacular form in prominent positions, filling in with the less shapely ones which were essential in making a balanced collection. He was not only interested in the scientific potential of the Pinetum but in its value as an attractive landscape. The Pinetum has been laid out so that the form, colour and texture of mature conifers can readily be seen.