I had heard lots of wonderful things about Bedgebury from some of my 'mummy friends' who often enjoy long walks and picnics with their kiddies there. So when my other half asked in the morning what I wanted to do for Mother's Day, I said: 'Let's go to Bedgebury' and instead of getting clad in our Sunday Best for a posh meal out, we put on our walking boots and fleeces and off we went.
Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, as it is officially called, reminded us very much of Virginia Water and Savill Garden - our local 'nature spots' when we lived in Surrey. The place is terribly well organised with trails and bike routes perfectly signed-posted, as well as tables and benches so you can bring your own food and enjoy a picnic in such beautiful surroundings.
There is also a visitors centre with facilities, which include a small yet superb restaurant serving a selection of hot and cold food, all made using local ingredients (my husband was trying to guess which butcher the sausages in his baguette came from!)and some yummy homemade cakes (I definitely recommend the lemon cake).
The botanical attractions are many but not being an expert on plants - let alone trees - I will only tell you that Bedgebury Pinetum is home to 'The Old Man of Kent', a Grand Fir planted in 1840.
And for those of you, music lovers living locally, Bedgebury is now hosting summer concerts in the Pinetum. Acts like Madness and James Morrison have already performed on its grounds and the line up for this summer is looking pretty good so far, with Simple Minds (whom I used to love back in the 80s) and Erasure confirmed already for June.
Note to Self: start looking for a babysitter...