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HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

The Pinetum at Bedgebury (the land within the present registered site) was developed on part of the Bedgebury estate which, as the manor of Bedgebury, dates back to pre-Norman times. The estate passed through the hands of the de Bedgebury and Hayes families, and the Great Lake in the park to the north-east of Bedgebury House dates from between 1769 (Andrews, Dury and Herbert) and 1801 (Mudge). The later history of the estate however had most impact on the Pinetum site. Bedgebury was owned by Viscount Beresford and his family from 1836 to 1890 and the oldest conifers in the present collection, around Marshall's Lake, were planted during this period. Lodges were built at outlying points on the road boundary and drives connecting them to the house were planted with avenue trees. Other garden developments included the walled fruit garden adjacent to the western boundary of the Pinetum. The Bedgebury estate was divided up in 1919 and the Crown purchased most of the land. The house and its grounds, to the north of the Pinetum, became a private school and the Home Farm together with part of the parkland became a riding school later in the 20th century. The Forestry Commission took on Bedgebury Forest, within which lay the present area of the Pinetum. The Commission began to plan and plant the site in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, following aesthetic principles with the aim of creating a National Pinetum containing the most comprehensive collection of conifers in the temperate world. The work was carried out in the late 1920s under the direction of W Dallimore and W Castle of Kew who laid out a series of broad formal avenues and linking walks. Since 1965 the site has been the sole responsibility of the Forestry Authority. Plans are currently (2002) underway to extend the Pinetum onto agricultural land to the west (outside the area here registered) which when complete will almost double its size.
 

Site timeline

1919: The Bedgebury estate was divided up.