Last Sunday we finally decided to visit Bedgebury Pinetum, to check out their Stick Man Trail. We've been meaning to visit for a while now, but it was definitely worth the wait! Bedgebury Forest is on the Kent/Sussex border, open all year round (apart from Christmas Day) and is perfect for cycling, walking, running and adventuring. The Pinetum is one of the world's finest conifer collections, and is home to the Stick Man trail.
The forest and trails are free to visit, but parking is quite expensive. It's £10 per car Monday-Friday, and then £12 at the weekends and on Bank Holidays - you can buy annual memberships though. I think this is probably what has put us off visiting before. However, now we know we can spend a good few hours there, we will definitely be visiting again!
The trail leads you around the Pinetum and has plenty of activities to keep little ones, and adults busy. You can buy activity packs for £3 (these include a leaflet, activity sheets, a pencil, crayons and pipe cleaner stop make a stick man), but we didn't think it was needed as Indie is still quite young.
The only activity that we would have needed the activity pack for, was the picture rubbing. So if you are visiting and not planning on getting the pack, maybe pack some paper and crayons.
The walk is also quite hilly. It's still pushchair friendly (our iCandy Peach managed with no trouble), however a carrier would have definitely made it easier - especially for exploring the smaller trails and go into the trees more.
Throughout the forest there are plenty of benches to stop for a rest or have a picnic. My two loved just jumping off of them and playing games, but next time we visit we'll definitely bring snacks.
What I loved about the trail was that it told the story of Stick Man - each activity was a page from the book, and they themed the activity around it! As you neared the end you finally find the family tree, and you can add your own stick man to the branches.
After that you think the trail has ended, but keep an eye out for one last surprise... A GIANT Stick Man! This was definitely Indie's favourite bit, and she was thrilled to have found him in his tree (not that she would stay still long enough for a photo haha).
We spent a good 2.5 hours completing the trail - this does include stopping for the activities, watching the ducks, taking photos and walking at the speed of a 12 month old (slowly). though It was so much fun though, and could definitely be walked more than once.
Bedgebury also has a number of other trails, Go Ape!, cycle routes and a children' adventure play, so there's plenty to keep all the family busy. Make sure to visit the Forestry website to see where your local Stick Man trail is too.
Disclosure - I wasn't asked to write this review. We just had such a lovely visit, I wanted to share it with you all!