A Compendium of Sussex Walks

Tag: bluebells

Arlington and Abbot’s Wood

Arlington & Abbot’s Wood (Fancy Free Walks, PDF)

  • 14k, 9 miles
  • Good traditional country pubs along the way – The Plough, Upper Dicker; Yew Tree Inn, Arlington; The Old Oak Inn, Arlington.
  • Village shop and cafe in Upper Dicker
  • Passes medieval Michelham Priory with its water filled moat (though perhaps visit another day!)
  • Also passes Arlington Stadium which hosts banger racing and speedway which may disturb the peace somewhat every now and then! (Eastbourne Speedway)
  • Berwick Station is just a little south of the walk’s starting point

historic attractiontrainbuscup of teacycle

A varied walk with fine views towards the Downs. There are excellent bluebell woods along the way at Abbots Wood and the less well known Bramble Grove, and you also have the chance to visit (and pay to enter) the Arlington Bluebell Walk. Arlington Reservoir at the start and end, is a large nature reserve where you can view waterfowl and other wildlife. Most of the walk is through what was the vast dominion by Michelham Priory, which dates back to 1229 and is surrounded by England’s longest water-filled moat.

Shorter waymarked walks in Abbots wood – Abbots Amble and Oak Walk  (Forestry Commission).

For cycle rides in the area, see Off the Cuckoo Trail, which includes a 18 mile cycle ride taking in Arlington and Abbot’s Wood.

Weirwood Bluebell Railway Walk

Stone Farm Rocks crag - geograph.org.uk - 1672314

Weirwood Bluebell Railway Walk (Bluebell Railway Walks)

The Weirwood Walk (Gravetye Manor, PDF)

  • Choice of two slightly different walks – one of 4 miles (Bluebell Railway Walks) and the other of 5 miles (Gravetye Manor Walk)
  • can be muddy after wet weather
  • take a train ride on the  Bluebell Railway and stay/dine in style at Gravetye Manor

trainbuscup of tea

These varied circular walks take in Stone Farm Rocks, Weirwood Reservoir Nature Reserve and the steam trains of the Bluebell Railway, which runs for 11 miles (17.7 km). The railway operates between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, with intermediate stations at Horsted Keynes & Kingscote, allowing you to combine the walk with a trip on the railway. And of course, you’ll see bluebells along the way during the spring.

Weir Wood Reservoir was created in the mid-1950s by damming the River Medway. It is used for sailing and fishing, and known for its range of resident and migrant birds such as great crested grebes and herons.

Stone Farm Rocks are a series of sandstone crags, some as high as 8 metres (26 ft) high , and is owned by the British Mountaineering Council who run it for the benefit of climbers. 

See Bluebell Railway Walks for more opportunities to combine walking and taking a trip on the railway.

If you feel like treating yourself, stay at Michelin starred Gravetye Manor overnight or for a meal or afternoon tea. The manor was built in 1598 and is known for its gardens.


Three Circular Walks in Angmering

Bluebells at Angmering estate - geograph.org.uk - 1277660

Angmering Walks (PDF)

  • Choice of 3 walks – Copse Walk: 4 and 3/4 miles, Parkland Walk: 5 and 1/2 miles, Woodland Walk: 7 miles
  • mostly flat, sometimes muddy
  • pub along the way – The Woodman Arms
  • accessible by bus

buscup of tea

These three walks explore the fields, woodland and paddocks around the Angmering Estate in the South Downs National Park, north of Angmering village and the A27. The private Angmering Park Estate dates back to at least 1279 and is well known for its fantastic display of bluebells in the spring. It even hosts an annual 10k bluebell trail run (now sold out for 2016 ).   The third of these walks – the Woodland Walk – is the best for bluebells.

These walks are well described and illustrated, but the details may be  little dated, not that much changes too fast on the estate.

For a longer walk (11/12 miles), try the  circular walk walk between Burpham and Angmering Forest (Fancy Free Walks, PDF)

For more woodland and Bluebell walks nearby, see the World’s End Patching Walks.

The Woodland Trust has some good photos of the Angmering Park Estate on its website.

A Woodland Walk at Nymans

Nymans House


Woodland Walk at Nymans (National Trust)

  • 2 and a half miles (4k)
  • Moderate walking
  • cafe (free to all) at Nymans, Red Lion pub in Handcross (near to the walk’s start/end)
  • accessible by bus

buscup of teaflower

Nymans is one of Sussex’s great English gardens. Developed from late 19th century, the garden reached a peak in the 1930s and was regularly opened to the public.  The house now survives as a rather romantic garden ruin following a severe reduction of staff during World War II and then a disastrous fire in 1947.

The best option for this walk takes in Nymans Gardens themselves (paid entry or free for NT members) but there’s an option to nearby public footpaths too. Either way, it’s an excellent walk around the surrounding estate amongst rolling hills and woodland in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Cow Wood. near to the gardens, and the woods within the estate in the Ouse Valley,  are noted for their bluebells in the spring.

Bluebells & Blackbrook Wood

Blackbrook Wood Sussex

Mid Sussex Golf Club,  Sussex Border Path & Blackbrook Wood  (PDF, Plumpton Village Action Plan Walk 10)

The Plantation, Blackbrook Wood and St Helena Farm (PDF, Plumpton Village Action Plan Walk 11)

  • 4.7 miles (walk 10), 6 miles (walk 11)
  • Fountain Inn in Plumpton Green, plus The Plough (just off the Walk 11 route, to the North of Plumpton Green)
  • many stiles, generally flat, with some gentle undulation, can get muddy after wet weather

trainbuscup of tea

Sussex is full of bluebell woods and there are good trails at Arlington and Heaven Farm which charge an entrance fee, but Blackbrook Wood is just as stunning at the height of the bluebell season, whilst this walk also offers good woodland walking at any time of the year, with a profusion of bluebells, wood anemones and primroses in spring.

These two walks offer varied walking to the west of Plumpton Green, starting and finishing at Plumpton Station. The first passes via Mid Sussex Golf Club and along the Sussex Border Path, it reaches Ditchling Common before returning through lovely woodland. It is mostly on level ground and includes numerous stiles. The second walk is more to the North West taking in St Helena Farm. Both take you through Blackbrook Wood.

The Winning Post pub referred to in the leaflets didn’t win and is no more, whilst the beautifully situated Half Moon is further away to the south, nestling under the downs.

For other bluebell walks, try Butcher’s Wood near Hassocks, Patching, near Worthing, and Stanmer Park (Great Wood), near Brighton.

World’s End Patching Walks

Bluebells at Clapham Wood Sussex

World’s End Walk (Hall & Woodhouse, PDF) and Patching Circular (Argus Website)

  • 3.2 miles, 80-100 mins (Hall & Woodhouse walk), 5 miles, 2 and a half hours (Argus Walk)
  • both walks start and end at the World’s End pub in Patching, near Worthing, just off the A27
  • accessible by bus

cup of tea

The Hall & Woodhouse Walk is an enjoyable and interesting walk over gently undulating Sussex hills with lots of variety including open fields, good views, wooded tracks, peaceful lanes and a lovely amble through the village of Patching. This is one of Hall and Woodhouse’s public House Walks, with the walk starting and finishing at the dog-friendly and attractive World’s End pub.

The Patching Circular starts and ends at the pub too, but takes in the village of Clapham with its Church of St Mary the Virgin, believed to have been built in the 12th century, and Clapham Wood, known for its profusion of bluebells in the spring.

Clapham Wood may seem like an ordinary wood, but as well as its bluebells,  it is known for UFO sightings, devil-worship, animal disappearances and murder – see The Clapham Wood Mystery.  Enjoy your walk!

Stanmer and Ditchling Beacon

The Great Wood, Stanmer Park

Bluebells in The Great Wood, Stanmer Park

Stanmer and Ditchling Beacon (PDF)

  • variety of walking routes to choose from – about 7 miles for Stanmer and Ditchling circular walk
  • easy access route of 5 miles suitable for more robust buggies and wheelchairs
  • some steep climbs on some of the walks
  • pub, tea room and toilets in Stanmer village. Pub at Falmer. Ice cream van usually at Ditchling Beacon.
  • accessible by bus and train

disabled access signtrainbuscup of tea

Part of Brighton and Hove Council’s excellent  ‘Downs on Your Doorstep’ series of leaflets, this leaflet details walking options starting from Stanmer Park (or Falmer Train Station), including a more  substantial walk up to Ditchling Beacon, the highest point in East Sussex. Stanmer is a beautiful downland park containing the grade I listed Stanmer House (now partly a pub), the flintstone Stanmer Church and a  quiet village street with a good value tea shop.

Poppies near Ditchling Beacon

Poppies near Ditchling Beacon, July 2016

A profusion of bluebells can be seen on the higher reaches of Stanmer Great Wood during the spring, and you may see poppies in June and July.