Bedgebury Camping

UK England South East England Kent Tunbridge Wells

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
Spacious, chilled-out camping with plenty of outdoor attractions nearby

You can instantly tell that more than the average amounts of thought and love have gone into Bedgebury Camping. It’s the little extras: a communal tipi for campfire gatherings and general hanging-out; the cute little wooden compost toilet blocks, hand-built by owner Jim; the campfire starter packs,which include straw bales to sit on in addition to logs, kindling and marshmallows. All those little extras add up to big effect, the result of which is a well-tended, well-run place to camp in a really beautiful location.

The approach from Goudhurst is dramatic; as you leave the pretty Kentish village, the road immediately plunges from the elevated ridge down into the Weald of Kent, it's a rollercoaster ride that affords great views across this sandstone landscape. If you’re driving, though, you won’t have an opportunity to enjoy the view; you’ll be focused on the winding country lane, looking for the sudden sharp turn into Bedgebury. A quick right on to the campsite road, then after a few formalities at the reception hut, it’s off along the dirt track to the camping field, a very gentle slope of green nestled in the shallowest of valleys. It’s a tranquil, picturesque spot, well away from the main road and, although camping is restricted to four acres, there are another 20 acres to explore, including woodland and a small stream.You might catch the occasional glimpse of a traditional oast house beyond the trees – these distinctive buildings serve as a reminder of the hop-farming heritage of the area.

Bedgebury itself was a hop farm in times gone by, but now the rows of old hop-drying huts have found another use as perfectly proportioned cycle storage sheds.There’s a good reason for that – just up the road is Bedgebury Forest, with over 13km of challenging single- track mountain bike trails, including the infamous ‘Cardiac Hill’. If that sounds a bit too much like hard work, you might want to opt for one of the gentler family cycle routes through the 2000-acre forest, stopping off for a lakeside picnic half-way round. There is a cycle-hire shop at the start of the trails, as well as some handy showers – for both bikes and riders!

There are also gentle rides around nearby Bewl Water, a huge reservoir set in 800 acres of countryside.Watersports on offer include sailing, windsurfing and canoeing, but many visitors come on sunny days for a gentle amble, an ice cream, a run around the playground, or just to sit by the lake.

After action-packed days out, you’ll be wanting to head back to the communal tipi to swap stories of downhill speed or sailing prowess – it’s a great place to mix with fellow campers and a good under-cover hangout in the event of rain. On most weekends, the owners arrange for local acoustic musicians to provide entertainment, sometimes accompanied by food from local producers – another nice touch on a campsite that goes the extra mile.

Details

Facilities

Campfires allowed; starter pack including 2 hay bales, logs, matches, kindling and marshmallows £25. The main, L-shaped camping field is largely flat in the areas where camping takes place, although other bits slope slightly. 8 compost toilets; clean showers and WCs in a portaloo cabin; and washing-up sinks next to the bike- storage huts. Atmospheric communal tipi open 24/7; tea and cakes served in the afternoon. There are 20 acres of woodlands and pasture to explore on site, plus children’s bushcraft courses on Saturdays and Sundays (from £6).

Suitable For

Tents, campervans, dogs – yes. Caravans – no. Well-behaved groups – yes (separate field for large groups).

Nearby

This is a fantastic area for walking and cycling, with both Bewl Water and Bedgebury Forest an easy drive away (see above). There is also Sissinghurst Castle (01580 710701), with its remarkable gardens, 8 miles away. Maps detailing local footpaths are also available at reception.

Food & Drink

The stylish Globe & Rainbow (01892 890803) at Kilndown serves excellent seasonal food sourced largely from Kentish farms – a 45-minute walk/10-minute drive from the site. This is also wine country – 3 renowned vineyards are close by. The nearest is Lamberhurst Vineyard (01892 860000), the oldest vineyard in the UK, where wine tastings and guided tours take place regularly.

Open

For 28 days during July and August only.

Location

Bedgebury Camping, Pattenden Farm, Goudhurst, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 2QX

Show Map

Getting There

Take the A21 towards Hastings. After Blue Boys services turn left at the next roundabout on to the A262. Turn right at Goudhurst village pond, follow the road down into the valley, then look for Bedgebury on the right.

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