Bedford village is situated at the junction of the R360 from Grahamstown and the R63 between Adelaide and Somerset East.
The area is renowned for its game, beef, merino and mohair production – thanks to nutrient-rich grasslands.
A GARDENER’S PARADISE
Tucked up against the Kaggaberg (’striped mountain’) with its magnificent indigenous forest, the village shares the benefits of the mountain’s temperate micro-climate.
Quiet, tree-lined streets and large gardens are a feature of the older part of town. This is a gardener’s paradise and an increasing number of people in town and township grow their own vegetables.
For more than a decade, the annual Bedford Garden Festival has been held in October. Visitors from all over the country return year after year to visit gardens, to relax and to enjoy our country lifestyle. Open gardens in our township are a popular feature of the programme.
The Bedford Garden Club boasts over 100 members and non-members are warmly welcomed at all meetings.
The South African Rosarium (the national collection of old roses) is open to visitors.
Fuel is available round the clock and there are two service stations. One offers a 24 hour emergency service. Both our banks have ATMs. Our two hardware stores also carry gardening necessities. There are several qualified architectural designers in town as well as a plumber, electrician, several carpenters and joiners, bricklayers and plasterers.
Visiting children will find place to play at both The Village Farmstall and Eagle Hout Tea Garden.
For children living here, Templeton High School has offered sound all-round education for around 150 years. Lonwabo High also takes learners through to Grade 12. There are several other schools in our township.
At the other end of the scale, the Bedford Bears pre-school took a step upwards in 2009, moving into the historic school building on Graham Street and opening its doors as Bedford Country School.
FOOD & DRINK
The two supermarkets both open every day (closing at 13:00 on Sundays). Between them, they carry an extensive range of necessities and several luxuries.
Each has a bottle store (one in-store, one adjacent). Bread is baked every day. Fresh produce comes in from market on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
The Farm Butchery has excellent local beef, lamb, pork and venison.
BED & BOARD
The historic Bedford Hotel has been refurbished and renamed The Duke of Bedford Inn. 18 newly decorated, en-suite, airconditioned rooms are available and there are facilities for conferences and other events.
Four-star Cavers Country Guesthouse heads up the list of hospitality services on our farms.
In addition, a number of guest houses, B&Bs, Self-Catering cottages and farmstays offer a variety of accommodation.
Most of them organise an evening meal if you book ahead.
The Apprentice Deli and Coffee Shop located at the Hope Str Hub provides delicious lunches, snacks and freshly baked bread,cakes and pastries. Open every day except Sunday.
Our Village Farmstall (at the R360/R63 junction) offers fresh meals and farmhouse treats seven days a week.
At the other entrance to Bedford, Eagle Hout tea garden serves food all day with terrific lunch specials (closed Sundays). Takeaways and frozen meals are available at both establishments.
Takeaway foods are also available at varios establishments.
The Butcherbird restaurant is sometimes opens for advance bookings and visitors are welcome at the Bedford Club steak evening (first Saturday of the month).
HEALTH, BODY & SOUL
A pharmacy, cottage hospital and several clinics take care of basic health requirements. There are doctors, a dentist and a physiotherapist at the hospital. Emergencies are attended to at the Adelaide Hospital.
There is a hairdressing salon and a beautician offering treatments. Reflexology, massage and reike treatments are also available. Pilates and yoga groups meet every week.
Spiritual sustenance is available at several historic churches, including Catholic, Presbyterian, Anglican, Dutch-Reformed and Seventh-Day Adventist.
SPORT & OUTDOORS
The area is safe for running, hiking and birding. We have published our bird checklist for the convenience of twitchers. We have tennis courts, a beautiful 9-hole golf course, the prettiest cricket ground in the country, a strong bowling club, paragliding thermals of note and mountain and road bike routes.
There is a large group of bridge players who welcome visitors. The annual bridge weekend (a fundraiser for local charities) is a notable social occasion that draws players from far and wide.
Our Thembani Project is a series of inter-linked interventions that seek to address a hierarchy of human needs.
To mention just a few of the activities under the Thembani umbrella: Waste glass and metal items are bought from the community and sent away for recycling. This brings income to poorer households while helping clean up our environment. A group of 50 township gardeners are mentored, supported and motivated year-round and then encouraged to open their gardens during the garden festival.
A workshop (woodwork and other handcrafts) and training sessions are offered to empower people with skills and confidence.
A day-care centre for children with special needs is run in the township.
SUNSHINE & RAIN
Weather in the Bedford district is temperate compared to the Karoo. The summer temperatures can go up over 40 degrees but on the whole, we are cooler with the minimums in winter sometimes dropping below freezing point.
There is seldom snow on the Kaggaberg but the chill does flow down from the Winterberg range. The rainfall occurs in the form of thundershowers mainly in summer with the occasional wet cold front hitting the village in winter.
Bedford falls within the Raymond Mhlaba Municipality with its administrative centre in Fort Beaufort.
Rates are reasonable and there is waterborne sewerage. The village’s infrastructure is antiquated but generally looked after.