10 best bluebell walks in Sussex
The bluebells are out! Catch them showing off in a Sussex wood near you with the help of our handy guide
Bluebells are generally showing off from early or mid-April to the end of May, hanging out in old woodland and on bracken-covered hills. We have several top spots to catch them in Sussex, below are some of the best. It’s been a slow start this year due to the weather so you might want to check ahead to be sure the guys are out in force.
Arlington bluebell walk and farm trail, near Polegate, East Sussex
The most famous of Sussex bluebell spots is the Arlington walk that has been around since 1972 and now incorporates seven trails over three farms, one of the routes wheelchair accessible. The site is open 10.00am and 5.00pm daily until Sat 13 May and the website gives you ‘status updates’ of how the flowers are doing. Several charities are involved providing refreshments. There’s also the opportunity to watch cows being milked from a viewing gallery at Parkwood Farm in the afternoons. Looking for a pub for afterwards? See my review of The Sussex Ox.
Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex
Kipling’s former home, now a National Trust property is surrounded by Sussex Weald Woodland where you can hunt for the carpets of blue. There’s a guided bluebell and wildflower walk on Fri 27 April . You may also catch a spring poetry reading in the garden on certain dates. See my post on the house here. You could also eat at The Bell at Ticehurst nearby. Fancy staying over in the High Weald? See The Lodges at New House Farm which also have woodland on their doorstep.
Angmering Woods, West Sussex
The woodland surrounding Angmering Park Estate, between Worthing and Arundel, dates back to the Norman Conquest and has one of the best bluebell displays in West Sussex. You may also spot highland cattle. It hosts a popular 10K Bluebell trail run in late April – that has already sold out for this year so one to keep tabs on for next if you fancy a challenge in lovely surroundings.
Kingly Vale, West Sussex
One of the earliest yew woodlands in Western Europe, Kingly Vale near Chichester has some fantastic ancient twisted trees that look like they belong in Lord of the Rings – in fact they’re among the oldest living things in England. It also has bluebell carpets in Spring. There’s a network of walking paths in the nature reserve here.
Bluebell Railway, East Sussex – observation journeys until 17 May
You don’t even need to walk for this one. You can catch sight of the blue carpets that gave the vintage railway its name as you travel between Sheffield Park Station and East Grinstead. On selected weekdays from 16 April to 17 May make the return journey in a 1913 observation carriage.
Sheffield Park & Garden, near Uckfield, East Sussex
The aptly named Walk Wood at Sheffield Park reopened last year after a 15 year restoration project which recreated a network of paths from the early 1700s. This is one of the best places on the site to bluebells but you’ll also catch them in the gardens and on other walks.
Nymans, Handcross, near Haywards Heath, West Sussex
Another National Trust property. The woodland and the wild garden at Nymans are carpeted with bluebells. In the gardens around the historic house you can also see the magnificent magnolias. There’s a family art trail to follow from 21 April, tying in with the current exhibition of Oliver Messel portraits.
Standen Estate, East Grinstead, East Sussex
Around 20 of the 100 acres of the original Standen Estate should be bluebell-tastic this spring with Rockinghill and Hollybush woods carpeted. Purple orchids usually bloom in Hollybush to add to the magic and you may also catch the tulips flowering around the house and gardens. You can walk from Standen to the Bluebell Railway at Kingscote Station. The Standen House itself is an Arts and Crafts family home with interiors by Morris & Co.
Ebernoe Common, Near Petworth, West Sussex
This varied ancient wooded area, now a Sussex Wildlife Trust nature reserve, incorporates ponds, streams, meadows and reclaimed arable land. Besides bluebells you may see wild orchids, purple emperor butterlies and ponies that help to keep the grass grazed. The common is about five miles north of Petworth and there’s a car park at Ebernoe Church. The Mens nature reserve (note, no apostrophe – women are welcome!) is another bluebell spot near Petworth.
Brede High Woods, Battle, East Sussex
Ancient and secondary woodland and open heathland combine at this spot in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The woods are to the north east of Powdermill Reservoir so you can combine bluebell spotting with waterside views. They’re managed by the Woodland Trust. Just over in Kent, also check out Sissinghurst Castle Garden.
For more suggestions see sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk. This is by no means a definitive list so if you have a favourite bluebell spot please share.