Bedgebury National Pinetum, Cranbrook, England
Record Id: 338
This is one of the most comprehensive collections of conifers in Europe. It has been developed during the last 50 years by the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew and the Forestry Commission. The Pinetum lies in the former grounds of Bedgebury Park and was established in 1924.
The original walled garden of the house is now the car park. Notable features of the Pinetum landscape are the Spruce Valley, Swamp Cypress and Dawn Redwoods by Marshall's Lake, Western Hemlock and Thuja collections. Sixty acres of trial forest plots (150 plots each of ¼ acre) have been established by the Commission to assess the relative performance of various species.
Many superb specimens were lost in the 1987 storm, but the worst damage was in the wood near the car park.
The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):
A national pinetum developed by the Forestry Authority from the 1920s onwards, with a scattering of conifers planted in the late 19th century.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Bedgebury Pinetum is situated on the east side of the A21, c 15km south-east of Tunbridge Wells. The c 40ha rural site occupies markedly undulating ground falling generally to the north and divided into two main valleys running south to north, with streams meeting at Marshall's Lake in the centre of the northern boundary. The Pinetum is bounded to the north by the grounds of Bedgebury Park School, to the north-east, east, and south by Bedgebury Forest, and to the west by farmland, currently (2002) being developed as an extension to the site.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main access into Bedgebury Pinetum is from the western boundary. From Lady Oak Lane a drive enters the walled kitchen garden (outside the area here registered) built for Bedgebury house in the C19. This now (2002) acts as a car park for the Pinetum, from the north-east corner of which a path leads east into the site. On the north-east boundary of the Pinetum stands Park House and the present Forestry Office, beside which a second, small pedestrian access point enters the Pinetum. Several of the C19 drives which linked the surrounding woodland, via the Pinetum site, to Bedgebury House, survive as forest tracks. These include the C19 Pine Avenue and Cypress Avenue.
The main plantings in the Pinetum are on the crests and upper slopes of the undulating ground, allowing fine views out of the site and giving extensive valley prospects within the Pinetum, which is cut through with avenues and serpentine walks. The sweeps of grass along the lower valley slopes are varied by the planting of broadleaved species including birch, maple, oak, and liquidamber. To the west of the site are pines and larches, with spruces beside Dallimore's Avenue which runs north-east to south-west close to the western boundary. Beside Marshall's Lake on the north boundary are several large swamp cypress together with the remains of C19 plantings of conifers and rhododendrons. On the south side of Marshall's Lake are collections of mature Wellingtonia and American firs, standing beside the late C19 Cypress Avenue which runs north to south along the valley floor. This avenue is lined with mature cypress trees and formed one of the C19 approach drives to Bedgebury Manor from Bedgebury Lodge (c 1.5km to the south-west). At the southern end of this area are collections of larch, pine, and yew.
On the north-east boundary stands the visitor centre, set beside the A W Westall collection of dwarf conifers (begun 1970). To the south-east of this is the North Avenue amongst a varied planting of pines. The southern end of the North Avenue joins Hill's Avenue which runs from the eastern boundary north-west to the end of Cypress Avenue. Immediately to the west of the Avenue is a collection of Japanese conifers, beyond which to the west are Douglas firs, cedars, junipers, and various redwoods.
Country Life, 110 (12 October 1951), pp 1144-5; 117 (28 April 1955), pp 1108-09; 178 (4 July 1985), pp 12-13
T Wright, Gardens of Britain 4, (1978), pp 23-6
The Garden, (September 1980), pp 357-62
Bedgebury National Pinetum, guidebook, (1983)
M Scott, Forest Plots (Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest Plots), guidebook, (1986)
J Andrews, A Dury and W Herbert, A Topographical Map of the County of Kent, 2" to 1 mile, 1769
W Mudge, Map of Kent, 1" to 1 mile, 1801
OS 6" to 1 mile:
1st edition published 1872-7
2nd edition published 1899
3rd edition published 1910
OS 25" to 1 mile:
1st edition published 1870
3rd edition published 1908
Description written: January 2002 Amended: February 2002
Register Inspector: EMP
Edited: November 2003
Owner: Forestry Commission
The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens Grade II Reference GD1929
Terrain: The rural site occupies markedly undulating ground falling generally to the north and divided into two main valleys running south to north, with streams meeting at Marshall's Lake in the centre of the northern boundary.
External web site link: http://bedgeburypinetum.org.uk/
External web site link: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury
External web site link: http://www.gardens-guide.com/gardenpages/_0335.htm
External web site link: http://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000932