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NEWS RELEASE No: 1634118 AUGUST 2014

Exciting catering business opportunity at Bedgebury Pinetum

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Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, located in Goudhurst, Kent, has been granted planning permission by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for the development of its visitor centre café facilities.

The site, in the heart of Kent, has seen an exceptional growth in popularity since its visitor centre opened in 2006. It can now proudly claim to be the sixth most popular visitor attraction in Kent with in excess of 250,000 visits every year. In order to match this growth, the café is expanding and the Forestry Commission’s bold new plans for this have now been approved.

The Forestry Commission is investing heavily in the redevelopment of the site and the Bedgebury Cafe is being expanded this winter, resulting in an exciting tender opportunity for operators to run the new cafe facilities. The tender opportunity is available now.

The redevelopment includes glazing the present veranda areas and central atrium to provide additional internal customer seating areas. This additional capacity will take the number of covers from 24 to over 100. In addition, the kitchen area is being extended and additional sheltered seating areas are being built into the rear of the building. Finally, there will be a ‘grab and go’ hatch from the side to allow a speedy refreshment service.

Bedgebury Pinetum and Forest is 10 miles south east of Tunbridge Wells, 16 miles north west of Hastings and less than 30 minutes from south east London. The cafe is adjacent to the car park and main visitor facilities.

Dominic O’Connor Robinson, Bedgebury Manager says:

“We’re really excited about the development of the café. It is going to be a positive change for Bedgebury and one that will have a dramatic impact on the experience for our visitors, providing improved facilities across the site and all through the year. We are now looking for an equally ambitious catering partner who can match and deliver our bold vision for Bedgebury.”

With the redevelopment and substantial extension of the cafe, kitchen and catering facilities, the Forestry Commission is seeking tenders from operators to work in partnership to provide a high quality customer experience and to maximise the business opportunity. The Commission is hoping for a provider with innovative and exciting catering ideas to complement the Bedgebury brand.

Further details of this unique opportunity are available from agents Stonesmith, who are managing the tender process. Visit, email or telephone 01392 201262.

The closing date for applications is midday on Friday 12 September 2014. The Forestry Commission tender process is open and transparent and follows best practice guidelines, and as such, future business opportunities are open to anyone to tender, including the existing businesses.


1. For more information about Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest please visit or contact:
2. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at
3. Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest in the High Weald of Kent is the perfect place for healthy outdoor activity. Home to the National Conifer Collection, Bedgebury National Pinetum is recognised as the most complete collection of conifers on one site anywhere in the world, and contains over 12,000 tree specimens growing across 320 acres including rare, endangered and historically important specimens. The Pinetum contains some 91 vulnerable or critically endangered species and five NCCPG National Collections (Yew, Juniper, Thuja, Lawson Cypress and Leyland Cypress) as well as some of the oldest and largest examples of conifers in Britain.
The Pinetum provides a beautiful and tranquil setting to enjoy walks and picnics giving enormous pleasure to all those who visit it all year round. This is brought to life with Seasonal Trails which highlight particular points of interest and hidden gems amongst the collection. A network of paths throughout enables easy access for all levels of ability.
Open all year, Bedgebury Forest covers around 20,000 square metres of forest and offers facilities for people of all ages and abilities for walking, family cycling, mountain biking, an adventure play area which is themed around the great plant-hunters of the Victorian era, Go Ape, and horse riding, creating one of South East England’s premier sites for healthy outdoor activity.
Cyclists of all ages and abilities can enjoy the 9km family scenic cycle route through the forest, with a 4km short loop ideal for younger and less experienced cyclists.  A 13km single track mountain bike trail has been specially designed, and recently improved, with built structures designed to challenge a rider's ability and technical skills and provide an exhilarating experience.
Bedgebury offers a unique learning opportunity and is the ideal place for people to learn about trees, the environment and themselves. The dedicated Learning Team provides facilities for staff led and self led group and school visits, self led family trails throughout the Pinetum, and family events throughout the school holidays.
The Visitor Centre serves both the National Pinetum and Forest. It features catering, a cycle hire shop (including adapted cycles), toilets, showers, a bike wash area, a visitor information centre and a classroom/community room.