Bedgebury Properties

About Bedgebury Park Estate

How it all began

Bedgebury Park Estate property development


EST. 1980

Bedgebury is first mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter in AD 841, the name deriving from the Old English bycgan, meaning “buy”, and the Kentish vecge, meaning “to bend or turn”,possibly in reference to a stream.

John de Bedgebury is listed as the earliest resident of Bedgebury, in the time of Edward II. In the 15th century Agnes de Bedgebury, sister and heir of John (died 1424) married John Colepeper, whose Colepeper heirs, financed by mining clay-ironstone on the estate, were resident until at the time of the restoration of Charles II, and who created an ornamental park on the Bedgebury estate. Elizabeth I visited in August 1573.

The current house was built in 1688 for Sir James Hayes, a little apart from the old house. The estate later passed to the Stephenson family, who retained it until it was left to a Miss Peach, who sold it in 1789 to John Cartier, Governor of Bengal and High Sheriff of Kent, who improved the plantings and the house.

In the 1840s Viscount William Beresford developed the estate by creating the village of Kilndown and three lodges, one of which – Keepers Lodge, now known as Park House – became the centre of the Pinetum. Beresford initiated the pinetum in the 1850s and his successor, his stepson Alexander Beresford Hope, developed Lady Mildred’s Drive to enable visitors in carriages to view the trees.

The estate was sold in 1899 to Isaac Lewis, who allowed the collection to fall into neglect, and it was purchased by the Crown Estate in 1918 for its marshy land and drier ridges, as well as its streams, lakes and valleys.

In 1919, the house was bought by the Church Education Corporation to operate as a school. The school closed in 2006.

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and the Forestry Commission established the site as The National Pinetum in a joint venture in 1924, as the National Conifer Collection, because air pollution was rendering London unsuitable for growing conifers. A site at the southern end of Bedgebury Park was chosen, centred on Marshall’s Lake and a stream-filled valley.

The first plants for the pinetum were raised at Kew Gardens in 1921 and transferred to Bedgebury in 1925 and 1926, alongside Viscount Beresford’s existing plantings. Development of the collection was managed by the Kew botanist William Dallimore, a world-renowned expert on conifers.

In 1969 management of the pinetum reverted solely to the Forestry Commission, now Forestry England, who extended it in 1977 and created two new lakes. In the Great Storm of 1987 almost a quarter of the trees were brought down.

Gabriella's vision

Gabriella has a lifetime of experience in property development and has her own personal set of guidelines that she works to. Typically, her development projects focus on achieving the best possible design working within the confines of the parameters of existing shells.

In property the golden rule is “location, location, location” and with all of her experience Gabriella has been able to acquire one of the finest development opportunities in the south East of England, adjacent to Bedgebury Forest and Pinetum, with 2000 acres of trails and cycling paths. It boasts the largest collection of Conifer trees in the world and the connection to nature is
beyond comparison.

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