Pattenden Farm, Goudhurst, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 2QX
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.
The Owner Says
This was our first time camping, I want my 6 year old grandson to experience wild, remote and off grid camping just like the old days and Bedgebury was absolutely a fantastic 2 days camping. drive in to be met by friendly helpful staff who explained everything to us and pointed us to our field. you can pick your own spot and park adjacent to it. small shop on site with most essentials, fire pits provided , hay bales logs and kindling available to buy. big old rope swing which my grandson absolutely loved and a fish and chip van on site...... small river at the back of the site to explore and its pretty quiet after 10pm the best bit is 2 giant t-pee,s at the centre of the site where they organise activities for the children to keep them occupied and I here there is music and refreshments around august time. my grandson loved the freedom, friendly kids, helpful staff and it feels safe.... we hope there's a space to get back for august bank holiday for the party in the big T-Pee,s. absolutely wonderful campsite which we both highly recommend.. Masons Grandad xxx
Not five stars
I've known about this site for several years, but I have to stay the reality fell short of expectations, not that there was anything critically wrong, just well off a five-star review given experiences at other campsites. First and foremost, it was expensive - two nights in the last weekend of the summer holidays for two adults and two children and a bag of firewood and kindling cost £75. All the little extras add up - firewood, camp craft activities, bales of hay to sit on, bottles of beer at the same price as London bars, £1.40 for the privilege of making your own coffee from the machine in reception. Before long you'll be wondering whether you should have just stayed at the pub in the village and saved a few bob. For the expense, you would expect the facilities to be excellent, but they were fair to middling and in relatively short supply. Having said that, the composting toilets were some of the most odour-free I have come across. The other thing is - and this is probably just personal preference - I don't consider a large grassy field to constitute amazing scenery. That is just the minimum requirement for a campsite I would have thought. It is large, it is grassy, there are trees around the edge, but not much else. I did enjoy having a campfire in the wheel hubs, but if you do go, buy wood at half the price from a petrol station and some decent kindling - the stuff we bought on-site was too wet to light with my boy scout skills and we had to drive to a garage to purchase firelighters. Overall, it is well located for a number of great National Trust and Forestry Commission sites and we had a nice enough time, but that was because we were outside in the summer toasting marshmallows on a campfire - none of this is exclusive to Bedgebury.
Beautiful well kept site, stunning views, so much to do, Survival skill courses , so you can become a junior park ranger (extra cost) Friendly people, real back to nature campsite, We love it
Came here last year, if i'm honest it wasn't my first choice as i was concerned it might be a bit noisy for me what with the musicians etc, i needn't have worried the place was large enough that wasn't an issue and the young people in our group really enjoyed the opportunity to socialise with the other campers and the cooks the opportunity for an evening off while most of us had chips, still had ourselves a roaring bonfire though! all in all i'm very glad we got to experience this site and would recommend it.
Amazing despite the rain!!!
This was my first time camping and we arrived in the pouring down rain and were directed to the adult section of the Pear field. Our attempts at erecting our tent were not going too well in the rain but we got it up eventually much to the laughter of our neighbours. The field we were in had only 27 tents yet could have held 200 easily. We were pitched next to woods which gave some respite from the rain. The field had numerous Eco toilets dotted around and 4 showers and 4 washing up sinks. The toilets were lovely Eco ones and even after the weekend they weren't smelly at all, they just smelt like a hamster cage due to the sawdust used to cover up your visit. We found a fire wheel to put our fire in and rolled that out easily. We braved the rain and went to the community tee pee for 3 hours of live music, fish and chips and a roaring fire to dry off by.
There was a bath house for children, fridges, flush toilets near the community tee pee and very helpful staff at reception and a little shop. A tractor came round at half 5 to deliver fire wood direct to your pitch.
We chose to have neighbours but there is so much space you could easily seclude yourself if you wanted to.
The one little thing that niggled on me was the adult area had a rope swing in it which all the kids flocked to en masse but the adult area is so big we could have moved pitch but we chose to stay put.
I am glad we came here for our first trip. I couldn't have wanted for anything better. Peace, quiet, a roaring fire and good facilities. I am about to book to go back!!!
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A very relaxed weekend
We came back from a two-nights stay at this campsite last night and we both felt like we had a week-long holiday! The site is pretty and is so big that it never feels too full.
The staff is super friendly and the facilities are just what is needed, not less, not more. We loved spending our evening sipping wine and grilling marshmallows on our little fire, as well as treating ourselves to some chips from the fish and chip van on Saturday night. There are so many things to do within 30-ish minutes drive from the campsite that it's impossible to run out of things to do even if you are not interested by the activities on offer at the site.
We stayed at Bedgebury for 2 nights and really can hardly fault it!
I almost do not want to be too positive in case it gets overrun, but only being open a month does mean that the site keeps fresh looking and tidy. The eco loos were probably the best I had come across in terms of cleanliness and odours, and there seemed plenty of them too. This had a lovely family feel and I really did not find the evenings too noisy. If anything it was probably our baby keeping everyone up (sorry about that!).
There was a nice touch of a fish and chip van on the Saturday night which is VERY popular. So much so that they ran out of chips and had to go back for more supplies, but no one seemed to mind waiting whilst the wine flowed and music was playing.
Overall this was a fab camp site with swinging tyres and woods to explore for the kids, and a helpful and attentive team. Just keep it quiet....we don't want everyone knowing about it.
This was my first time camping with the kids and it was simply fab! Lots of space for the kids to run around and a tyre swing or two that they could fight over. Great to be able to have a fire and the people who run the site came round every night on the tractor selling wood in the evenings. Lots of composting loo's (there were 4 on our field alone and a couple of flushing ones near the reception, where the showers are, also there was a hut with a bath in for the kids and a room with fridges in), they were a bit smelly and attracted the flies but that was fine. It rained very hard on the second night but by 9am the field was dry. Love the quirky idea of being able to buy a hay bale to sit on but as we only stayed 2 nights we didn't see the point. The staff seemed smiley and helpful. We've just booked our next trip for 5 nights (somewhere further afield) and just hop it's as good. The only problem with this campsite is that it's simply not open for long enough!
OK, could do better
Stayed this weekend at Bedgebury Farm Camping. The place was somehow much bigger than we had expected, which is not our ideal (but was probably our fault for not having read up properly). On the plus side: the site is an attractive series of fields, lushly carpeted in grass. We don’t have kids, but it would be great for them - loads of space to run about. There is a small shop, reasonably well stocked, and the staff are brilliantly friendly and helpful. Washing up facilities, refridgerators, and eco loos were all great. However, we did find that other users were very noisy. Despite the statement on the website that campsite users are asked not to play amplified music, there were two parties that played loud music on their car radios for quite a long time in the evenings. I ummed and ahhed about going over and asking them to turn it down or off, but never quite got up the gumption. I rather wish that in doing their rounds with firewood etc, the staff had asked them to turn it off, and that it was made really clear to all campers at the start of camping that there should be no loud music. It spoiled what was otherwise a perfect evening. My other complaint would be the showers which weren’t very hot. You could either have lots of cold water or a dribble of hot water. In the end, this is Bedgebury’s third year of operations. They have some great ideas for the campsite, and it just needs a few tweaks to be a really good place to camp.
Totally agree with the previous review. The campsite is spacious and you have plenty of space to set up camp so its your own fault if manage to get on a slope. The owners are very friendly, helpful and hardworking. The compost toilets are very well maintained and are odour free. My husband appreciated the "potty totty" (from afar) - they worked hard making them clean. The kids (4&3) enjoyed the freedom, space & fantastic sunsets. Although we didn't partake of the laid on entertainment in the teepee, we loved hearing it in the background. The owners thoughtfully made sure the loud stuff was over by about 9pm.
Campfire kit was excellent idea - the bales of hay and the wheel hubs fire circles - brilliant. Bedgebury forest is right on the doorstep providing excellent entertainment for the kids, and lots of excercise from the cycle tracks for us.
Such a shame its not open for longer!
This is how camping should be - one of the few sites which allow you to light campfires and pitch pretty much wherever you like. The site consists of several fields, some alongside a stream and/or woodland over several acres allowing you to camp alongside others or in privacy - you can even camp in the woods if you want.
There are basic but clean facilities with hot water and showers, and even a room with a bath for the kids. A small shop sells the basics including firewood and kindling. All the fields are equipped with eco loos which aren't as bad as they sound and the site is well maintained. A large teepee offers entertainment on Saturday nights and they offer bushcraft courses including fire lighting for both children and adults at very reasonable prices - my boys thoroughly enjoyed building shelters and foraging with the very knowledgable Phil.
The site is only a couple of minutes drive from Bedgebury Pinetum and Bedgebury Forest which offers excellent biking facilities and a well-equipped bike hire shop.
The sole downside is that the campsite only operates over August, because I'd love to visit again!!!
The staff are friendly and helpful - and the Bedgebury Camping Girls are VERY easy on the eye ;)