BEDGEBURY FOREST RUNNERS (BFR)
Inspiring Outdoor Fitness
Friendly, non-competitive groups and private sessions for all standards using different parts of the stunning forest and Pinetum each week for running-based fitness with qualified run leaders.
A BIT ABOUT US
Laura and Corinne (back left and front left) started running with an informal group in Bedgebury in 2016. After realising what an extraordinary environment the forest is for exercising in, they were inspired to undertake their run-leader training and start marketing official groups to a wider audience. Bedgebury Forest Runners has grown gratifyingly from that point operating groups every weekday morning virtually year-round. Very happily we now have Anna and Laura C on board to help with leading the groups. Three of us live on the forest and all of us know it inside out. We are all qualified and experienced run leaders. Our mission is to foster a love of exercising outdoors – a life-long habit with priceless benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing, and which has positive knock-on effects for our precious natural environment (a percentage of what you pay goes back into the invaluable conservation work that goes on in the Pinetum and forest).
WHAT WE DO
We currently have four types of group as follows:
1. Running Fitness entry level 3k (Mondays 9.15am, Wednesdays 9.15am and Thursdays 9.15am). These are a combination of jogging, warm-ups, strength work, technique, running exercises and stretches. Like doing circuits, but in the woods
2. Slow Runners. Tuesdays at 9.15am. No fitness requirement. For those that would like to take it gently.
3. Straight forward runs (Fridays at 9.15am) into the forest. This does what it says on the tin, but with some warm-ups and stretches to minimise the risk of injury. Routes are varied each week, dogs (assuming they behave well in groups) are welcome, and runs start at 5k at the beginning of term, and build up to 10k by the end of the term (terms are generally 10 or 12 weeks long).
4. Bespoke running tours of Bedgebury Pinetum and forest for visitors or newcomers to the area. Please see the 'BFR Tours' tab at the top of this web page for details of these.
Our meeting point is just through the double wooden gates towards the cafe, in the dip on the left.
A summary of our timetable is as follows (places are limited so please contact us ASAP to reserve your place):
Mondays 9.15am - 10.15am: Running Fitness generally taken by Laura B
Tuesdays 9.15am - 10.15am: Slow Runners. No fitness requirement. Generally taken by Corinne
Wednesdays 9.15am - 10.15am: Running Fitness generally taken by Corinne
Thursdays 9.15am - 10.15am: Running Fitness generally taken by Laura C
Fridays 9.15am - a simple run into the forest (a different route each time) starting from 5k at the beginning of term and building up to 10k by the end of term, dogs welcome, generally taken by Laura B and Laura C on alternate weeks
Membership for all Group Sessions
We operate a 'three terms per year' (mirroring school terms/holidays) membership model whereby the year is split up into three terms. The first begins in September, the second in January and the third in April. At the beginning of each term, or pro-rata if you join part way through the term, we ask you to sign up to 1, 2 or 3 sessions per week, and you are welcome to mix up which session you come to. You do not need to come to the same one(s) each week - you can switch days around according to what is convenient.
1 session per week - £66 for the full 11 week term (or pro-rated if you join part way through the term)
2 sessions per week - £120
3 session per week - £158
We ask everyone to sign up for the term, however if you are new to BFR then we would like to invite you to do a free taster session first, before deciding whether to commit. If you have signed up and but miss your usual session then you are welcome to make it up at one of our other sessions - or at one of our extra ad hoc holiday sessions.
If you have signed up for the term for 1, 2 or 3 sessions per week, but would like to come to some additional ad hoc sessions, then you are very welcome and the charge will be £7 each time. We also love to see one-off visitors or old friends who can come along for £7.
Please contact us for payment details (all payments to be made electronically), and let us know by email when you have made a payment.
If you would like one-on-one training, or to work in a group of up to four people, then we offer private sessions. In particular, you may like to undertake a course of 3 or 5 private sessions in order to prepare you for joining the groups if you are feeling a bit rusty. Or you may have a specific goal in mind (reaching a certain distance, time, getting to know new parts of the forest or just getting up a hill). The cost is £100 for three hour-long sessions for up to 4 people. Or £150 for 5 sessions.
KIT & WEATHER
Happily, running as a sport requires very little kit. Some decent trainers (they do not need to be specialist running trainers although you may like to go down that route in due course), a sports bra for ladies and a light-weight waterproof are all that is needed. Gloves and hats are a good idea in the winter. We run in pretty much any weather (except when the site is closed by Forestry England for safety reasons), and have extensive knowledge of where to keep you well sheltered when needed. In that we are running outdoors, in a forest and sometimes on grass, you might get a bit wet, your feet in particular, and there will be small amounts of mud (in winter most of the running is done on well-drained gravel paths). This only adds to the outdoor experience in our humble opinion, and should be embraced! Some dry socks, shoes and a top are a good idea for when we have have finished.
We love them! However they can't be invited along to Monday - Thursday groups due to the nature of the exercises we are doing and use of the Pinetum (where dogs have to be on leads), but lots of people choose to get there a bit early to take their dogs for a spin before the main session starts (or after if you have the time and energy to stay on). They are welcome on the Friday runs into the forest assuming their behaviour is reasonable within a group of other dogs.
A coffee from the cafe afterwards is heartily encouraged but is by no means obligatory.
This is in the main visitor car park for the Pinetum and forest and costs £3.50 if you leave before 11am. Alternatively you can sign up at the office for annual family membership for £72 at https://www.forestryengland.uk/bedgebury. NB you can now park in the car park after 5pm for £3.50 as well (rather than paying the full daily rate).
Bedgebury Forest Runners are proud of their members' efforts to raise money for charity by taking part in physical challenges. We will make a £10 donation to the chosen cause of any signed up member who is undertaking a challenge.
BY COMING TO OUR GROUPS YOU ARE SUPPORTING THE UPKEEP OF THE PINETUM AND FOREST AND THE AMAZING CONSERVATION WORK THAT GOES ON HERE.
We look forward to hearing from you: firstname.lastname@example.org or see our Facebook and Instagram pages (Bedgebury Forest Runners).
Hear What Others Have to Say
BFR has been an amazing find for me. I was struggling to find inspiration to run on my own in muddy fields and dark roads. This running group covers different aspects of running each week, hill work, longer distances, sprinting, etc. Never knowing exactly what to expect is a great motivation for me and means it never gets boring. It really doesn’t matter what level you are, you are essentially challenging yourself to work as hard as you can. The group is also incredibly welcoming and friendly. Laura and Corinne are encouraging and knowledgeable. To explore a different part of the stunning forest each week is an added bonus.
Absolutely brilliant running group! Had to give up running due to an injury years ago, started running again a couple of years ago with BFR and haven't had an injury since then! Because it is always tailored to fit everyone’s own abilities and on soft ground, I am now running twice a week and loving it!
Very friendly group, brilliant coaches/instructors, stunning surroundings!
I was new to running when I joined the group and have benefitted from the knowledge of the instructors to help me improve my technique and my stamina. An added bonus is meeting like minded people in the beautiful surroundings of Bedgebury Forest.
Carol and I would just like to say that your online sessions doing the running technique, strengthening, and HIIT are exactly what we want. Couple of years ago I had myself measured in a sport science lab to try and find out why I'm a slow runner. Turned out its nothing physiological but down to poor running efficiency ie. from my lung capacity, VO2Max etc. I should be able to run faster than I do. So, for me, your sessions are spot on and they are having an impact. I feel as though I'm running better and I've got back some flexibility. Carol has also sped up, particularly on the hills. We'd never have the discipline to do the routines ourselves and they form an important part of our week.
Thank you both