There can be few more exhilarating places to run than Bedgebury Forest. Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, to give the 10.5 square kilometre venue its official title, is host to a full programme of running events organised by Nice Work and it even has its own parkrun.
The Forestry Commission operates Bedgebury and the site is situated in the heart of Wealden countryside, close to the East Sussex/Kent border near Flimwell. The National Pinetum is a stunning collection of coniferous and broadleaf trees, standing alongside 2000 acres of forest, where visitors can enjoy mountain biking, 'Go Ape' adventures and, of course, running.
Shinyin-yoku, or forest bathing, has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japan and is gaining traction worldwide as one of the most effective weapons in the fight against the scourge of modern life – stress. Simplified, it is essentially the 'medicine' of taking in the forest atmosphere. Combined with the proven release of endorphins through the physical exertion of running, this could be just the tonic for us all!
You can dip a toe into forest bathing at Bedgebury Pinetum parkrun every Saturday morning at 9:00am. The undulating course on forest trails and tracks has 67 metres of ascent and will certainly get those endorphins flowing.
Having had a splash of Shinyin-yoku at the parkrun it may be time to branch out into something more competitive and perhaps linger to savour the beneficial effects by going further. If that's the case, step forward Nice Work, with the following series of events:
Saturday's (17 November) Bedgebury Autumn 10K & 5K Canicross Challenge may have late/on the day entries available for you and a four legged friend but check first.
Sunday's (18 November) Bedgebury Forest Half Marathon & 10K is sold out but why not go along to support, get in some forest time and plan to enter next year?
Bedgebury Forest Spring 10 & 5 Mile is on 3 February 2019 – always sold out.
The Spring 10K & 5K Canicross Challenge is scheduled for 19 May 2019.
There is a great Bedgebury Forest Summer Series of 10K & 5K races with points awarded for each race and series awards. The dates for your diary are 1 May; 5 June; 3 July and 7 August.
Images courtesy Nice Work