Sussex Bluebells are out in their full glory across the county from early April until the end of May. Want to take a bluebell walk in Sussex and breathe in that heady scent? Read on for some of the best bluebell woods in Sussex and step into the blue…
One of the highlights of springtime for me is a bluebell walk in our local woods. The sound of birdsong fills the air, dappled shade is pierced with shards of sunlight and swathes of fragrant bluebells carpet the woodland floor. A bluebell walk will give you that feel good factor for the rest of the day.
Half the world’s bluebell population can be found in the UK and Sussex bluebell woods are some of the best in Britain. Here’s where you’ll find some of the best bluebell walks in Sussex…
Bluebell Woods in East Sussex
Brede High Woods, East Sussex
Brede High Woods in East Sussex is one of the best Sussex bluebell woods. The woods is situated six miles north of Hastings, East Sussex in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The bluebell forest is my favourite bluebell walk in Sussex with the bluebells reaching out into the distance under the trees and alongside the forest paths. It is special for its rare green hellebores and wild service trees, but also for hobby, woodcock, nightingales and buzzards, glow worms, great crested newts, lampreys, dormouse, badgers and fallow deer.
There are two Woodland Trust car parks on the B2089, five miles north-west of Battle, between Cripps Corner and Broad Oak. Parking and entry to the woods is free.
Arlington Bluebell Walk, Polegate, East Sussex
Arlington Bluebell trail has been a favourite bluebell walk for 45 years now and should be near the top of your bluebell bucket list. There are actually seven trails through this popular East Sussex bluebell woodland. The site covers over 23 acres and there are three farms en route. Follow the well-signed Arlington Bluebell Walk from Bates Green Farm before dropping by Parkwood Farm to visit the sheep, goats and pigs in a penned petting area. Charities are involved in providing refreshments. There’s a quiz sheet to keep the children entertain and photo competitions for juniors and adults.
One of the trails is wheelchair accessible and there’s free car parking in large 5 acre field opposite farm entrance
Entry is £6 for adults and £2.50 for children. Opening dates for 2019 are Thursday 11 April every day 10.00am to 5.00pm until Sunday 19 May 2019.
Arlington Bluebell Walk, Bates Green Farm Tye Hill Road Arlington, Polegate East Sussex, BN26 6SH
Telephone: 01323 485151
There are also beautiful bluebell woods nearby at Abbots Wood and the less well known Bramble Grove which are free to enjoy.
A network of paths from the early 1700s have been recreated by Sheffield Park’s head gardener over the last decade or so. The newly restored ancient woodland, appropriately named, Wood Walk, is awash with bluebells and the paths will take you on a walk through impressive carpets of bluebells amid the hornbeam trees.
As this bluebell walk is bit off the beaten track you’ll need sturdy shoes or wellies and it may not be suitable for buggies or pushchairs. Normal National Trust entrance fees apply for Walk Wood.
The East Park circular walk is dog friendly and has a fabulous show of bluebells with views back to the garden and across the lakes. East Park is outside of the pay barrier.
Parking is free as is accessible parking although on busy days there may not be enough room in the car park.
Ask at the Visitor Reception where the bluebells are looking their best on the day you visit.
Great Wood, Stanmer Park
Stanmer Great Wood is and ancient woodland in the grounds of Stanmer Park near to Brighton and has a beautiful display of bluebells.
Bluebell Woods in West Sussex
Rockinghill Wood Bluebells at Standen House
If you want views of bluebells as far as the eye can see then the 20 acres of ancient bluebell woods at Standen House and Garden should suit you perfectly. Rockinghill and Hollybush woods are a swathe of iridescent blue during April and May interspersed with purple orchids and wild anemones. Time it right and catch a blast of colour at Standen’s tulip festival. Mid-April until the end of May.
There are various walks through the woods and a leaflet picked up at reception suggest routes. For fans of steam trains one walk will lead you to the Bluebell Railway.
Standen House is an Arts and Crafts family home and part of the of the National Trust with interiors by Morris & Co. Nearby is Hundred Acre Wood where you could throw Pooh sticks over the bridge a la Winnie the Pooh.
Dogs are welcomed, but must be kept on leads when near livestock and along the drive from the car park.
Normal admission applies to enter the property and car park.
To find out more, visit the Standen House and Garden website.
Nymans, Handcross, near Haywards Heath
Guided tours are offered at Nymans to show visitors the woodland and wild garden and is the best option for this walk. It’s paid entry or free for National Trust members. Cow Wood which is nearby and the wood within the estate in the Ouse Valley are carpeted in bluebells April to May and are a good free option and there’re nearby public footpaths to Nymans too. Take time to enjoy the High Weald, Sussex’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
For more suggestions see sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk
Butchers Wood, Hassocks
This ancient oak woodland is managed by the Woodland Trust and sits behind the downs on the weald. It’s a short fifteen minute walk from Hassocks station.
Slindon Estate near Arundel has many woods which make up this National Trust estate. As with all the other bluebell walks in Sussex that I’ve mentioned above, you’ll find a stunning display of bluebells. But remember – mind how you tread…
Bluebells – a protected species
Bluebells are a protected species in the UK and it is a criminal offence to take them away. Bluebells don’t grow wild anywhere else in Europe so be careful not to trample them. It is illegal to pick them or dig up the bulbs and take them away. Please take care during your bluebell walk in Sussex.
When do Bluebells Flower?
Bluebell season in the UK usually begins in early April and lasts through until mid to end of May although this varies slightly depending on the weather. In cooler years British bluebells bloom later and when it’s warmer they’ll make an earlier appearance so time your bluebell walk according to the weather.
More Sussex Walks and Sightseeing
One the most famous Sussex sights is Seven Sisters Country Park. Read about how to get there and what to see when you do here.
Eastbourne Trails and Coastal walks will show how much Eastbourne has to offer. Apparently it’s one of the sunniest towns in the UK.
Rathfinny Wine Estate has vineyard tours and there’s also the Rathfinny Trail which takes you through some beautiful Sussex countryside.
A visit to Rye is a must if you’re in East Sussex. This is probably one of the most photogenic towns in the area.
If you like traditional English festivals drop by to Jack in the Green, Hastings which takes place on the first Monday in May (May Day). You’ll find fun, frolics and lots of foliage with Morris Dancers and a street parade to celebrate the start of summer.
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Suzanne Jones is creator, writer and photographer at The Travelbunny. When she’s not indulging her wanderlust you’ll most likely find her enjoying coastal walks in her home county of East Sussex, UK.
Suzanne co-writes Sussex Bloggers which showcases the best of East & West Sussex.