Bluebell season is upon us and it’s one of my favourite times of year to take a woodland walk. In springtime, Sussex woods are blanketed in swathes of glorious bluebells under dappled canopies of fresh green foliage. A woodland walk amid the delicate hues and the heady fragrance of a bluebell glade will keep you feeling good all day. We’ve picked a selection of the best bluebell woods in Sussex that are sure to put a spring in your step so grab your wellies and step into the blue…
When do Bluebells Bloom?
Bluebell season varies according to the weather. It usually starts early April and extends to late May. In warmer years they’ll make an earlier appearance and if it’s cooler, like this year, they’ll hang back a little.
Half the world’s bluebell population can be found in Britain and Sussex is lucky to have some of the UK’s best bluebell woods. Here’s where to find some of them.
Bluebell Woods in East Sussex
Brede High Woods, Battle, East Sussex
This is my favourite East Sussex bluebell wood and also the nearest to home so I go there a lot. Brede High Woods is set in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty about six miles north of Hastings. Powdermill Reservoir makes up part of 647-acre wood. On your visit discover rare green hellebores, woodcock, nightingales and buzzards. There are also glow worms, great crested newts, dormouse, badgers and if you’re lucky you might spot fallow deer.
Bodiam Castle and Battle Abbey are both nearby if you’d like to make a day of it.
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.
Looking for a weekend with a difference? Read our article on Quirky places to stay in East Sussex
Arlington Bluebell Walk, Polegate
Seven trails traverse this popular piece of East Sussex woodland. The 23 acres take in rivers, wild garlic plants, farms and, of course, the woodland floor awash with bluebells. Follow the well-marked Arlington Bluebell Walk from Bates Green Farm before visiting neighbouring Parkwood Farm to see pigs, sheep and goats. One of the trails is accessible to wheelchairs.
- Adults £6, children £2.50
- Thursday 11 April every day 10.00am to 5.00pm until Sunday 9 May.
- Free car parking in large 5 acre field opposite farm entrance
Arlington Bluebell Walk
Bates Green Farm Tye Hill Road Arlington, Polegate East Sussex,
Telephone: 01323 485151
Walk Wood Sheffield Park
A sea of bluebells gathering around the hornbeam trees will greet you at Walk Wood, a newly restored area of ancient woodland. A network of paths from the early 1700s have been recreated over the last 15 years by the head gardener at Sheffield Park. The historic woodland has an impressive carpet of bluebells in a peaceful setting.
The East Park circular walk has a fabulous show of bluebells with views back to the garden and across the lakes.
- Normal National Trust entrance fees apply for Walk Wood. East Park is outside of the pay barrier.
- Ask at the Visitor Reception where the bluebells are looking their best on the day you visit.
- Parking is free as is accessible parking although on busy days there may not be enough room in the car park.
For more information check the Sheffield Park website
Bluebell Woods in West Sussex
Costells Woods, Scaynes Hill, West Sussex
Costells Wood near Haywards Heath is a site of ancient woodland and a designated area of wildlife importance. A haze of bluebells blanket the floor beneath the broadleaf trees that thrive in the area and you’ll find wild orchids and small ponds along the maze of pathways that trail through the bluebell walk.
Parking can be found around 500 metres from the woods. Entry to the woods is free.
Nymans, Handcross, near Haywards Heath
Nymans bluebells run riot in the woodlands and the wild garden overflows with bluebells in the Spring. Guided tours are available to show you around the highlights. In contrast to the bluebells you’ll find magnificent magnolias around the historic house and a contemporary alphabet themed art trail by John Newling which is open until 31 May. nationaltrust.org.uk
Angmering Woods, between Worthing and Arundel
Breathe in that heady bluebell scent at Angmering Park Estate which dates back to the Norman Conquest and has one of the best woodland bluebell walks in West Sussex. Dense swathes of our native bluebell make for a beautiful woodland walk. If you fancy something more energetic a 10K Bluebell trail run is held on 22 April (sold out for this year). You may spot some grazing Highland cattle during your walk.
Park in the car park off Dover Lane.
Standen Estate, East Grinstead
Rockinghill and Hollybush woods brighten spring time with masses of wild bluebells and purple orchids which bloom at the same time for added ooh and ahh factor. Roe and fallow deer also roam in the woods and you may be lucky and see badgers from a new viewing platform. The Bluebell Railway and Winnie the Pooh’s stomping ground, the Hundred Acre Wood are also nearby.
For more suggestions see sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk
Where’s your favourite Sussex bluebell walk? Let us know in the comments box and we’ll add it to the list.
The bluebell is a protected species in the UK and it is against the law to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy bluebells. They don’t grow wild anywhere else in Europe so be careful not to trample them and don’t pick them or dig up the bulbs to take away.