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Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest - Park Lane

Park Lane Consultation 

Forestry England manages Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest. Park Lane is a section of public highway, private road and forest track which transects the forest. Over recent years the road has become an increasingly popular way of accessing Bedgebury Forest and has become unsustainable through overuse.

There have been regular incidents of cars parking outside of parking bays in very unsafe locations and legitimate road users have had their access obstructed and blocked, such as Park Lane residents and local businesses.

Park Lane is a National Cycle Route and, in some places, a public footpath or bridleway and therefore a route designated for people on foot, horseback, and bicycles.

As with every scenario, there is more than one perspective on the current situation. We have consulted residents along Park Lane, KCC Highways and with the parish councils of Hawkhurst, Sissinghurst and Cranbrook, and Goudhurst.

Background information can be found on the pages of the residents and neighbours consultation.

Bedgebury Forest park lane map with annotations v7

Next steps

Over recent months Forestry England have been considering several measures which would reduce the level of inconsiderate parking and help find a long-term sustainable solution for access along Park Lane.

We are taking steps now to try to and secure the best future for all concerned, please respect the process by making a choice of one of the options below in the following survey that represents the best outcome for everyone.  In all instances, Forestry England will continue to promote the main car park on Lady Oak Lane as our preferred way for people to access Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest. Facilities, such as toilets, are focused near the car park and all trails begin from around the visitor centre.

An outline of what we would like you to consider follows:

Option 1Option 2Option 3 

Do nothing

Remove all parking options

Regulate parking, potentially a locally administrated pass

  • Reinstate the parking bays which offers approx. 12 spaces.
  • Parking on roadside verges would be permitted to continue between Forester's and Eggshell Cottages.
  • No restrictions placed on vehicle sizes.
  • Permanent closure of parking bays.
  • Road-side verges (under Forestry England control) would be bunded to stop parking, passing bays created for road users.
  • Bund designs would be agreed with KCC Highways who have already offered their support to this.
  • Parking enforcement introduced on land under Forestry England control and the area would not be dedicated for vehicle parking.
  • Reinstate the parking bays which offers approx. 12 spaces.
  • Parking could be offered either for free or a local resident’s pass introduced, with vehicle size restrictions (nothing larger than SUV).
  • Road-side verges under Forestry England control would be bunded to stop parking but passing bays created for road users. 
  • Contracted parking enforcement introduced on land under Forestry England control for any vehicles parked outside of the parking bays or parking which is causing obstruction.

Potential outcomes

  • Vehicles blocking access to emergency vehicles would continue to present a risk to visitor safety.
  • Vehicles blocking access to agricultural vehicles for neighbouring landowners continue to create highway incidences and vehicles blocking access to forestry vehicles would impede harvesting and other operations. 
  • The verge side parking will continue to cause ground damage and impacting on an historic earth bank which has archaeological interest.
  • Safety concerns caused by vehicles obstructing sightlines, including those larger vehicles and people dismounting bikes or unloading dogs/horses on to the highway, possibility of accidents and damage to property.

Potential outcomes

  • Displaced local people not willing to park in the main car park at Lady Oak Lane might go instead to other local free forests gateways, or block access in other forests.
  • Bunding the verges would help reduce damage to the verges and protect the earth bank.
  • Locals who neighbour the eastern side of Bedgebury forest would be asked to drive around to the main car park which is several miles away or visit another forest.
  • Missed opportunity to continue support for Bedgebury Forest.

Potential outcomes

  • This option creates a limited number of parking bays for communities that live on the eastern side of the forest.
  • The introduction of a local resident’s pass could help limit access to only those with a reasonable need.
  • The introduction of enforcement will limit use to the parking bays only.
  • Restricting parking helps Forestry England to protect areas including the roadside verges and the earth bank, which is of archaeological interest.

Please note: Forestry England will consider all views submitted that relate to the choice of a specific option. The survey asks for your relationship to Bedgebury Forest so that Forestry England can assess the level of impact that the options have for you and apply a reasonable weighting to your answer.

Have your say