Is this the best bluebell walk in Sussex?
- Credit: Arlington Bluebell Walk
Sussex is blessed with woodlands brimming with bluebells that usually flower from mid-April to late May - providing any more surprise snow showers don’t put a freeze on their spring awakening.
If you’re looking for the ultimate spot at which to soak up the vibrant beauty of these blooms then you're sure to be impressed by the Arlington Bluebell Walk at Bates Green Farm in Polegate, East Sussex
The annual event, which has attracted thousands of people since its debut in 1972, is enjoying a post-lockdown revival with a daily schedule of walks for five weeks through Beatons Wood.
You'll be pleased to know that the bluebells are already in full glory there, much to the delight of the event’s organiser John McCutchan, who has worked hard to ensure the site is safe and adheres to Covid-19 restrictions.
'The past year has been so turbulent, and Covid has affected every one of us in some way, but the future looks brighter as more people receive their jabs,’ he says. ‘It has to be a slimmed down version for this year to ensure the safety of our charity volunteers and our visitors. Nevertheless, we look forward to a successful period until May 19, and of course it is local charities which will benefit every day. And that is so important to me.’
A talk through the walk
This year, only Beatons Wood is open to visitors. It’s a circular walk stretching 1,100 metres (or quarter of a mile) and is suitable for people who use a wheelchair.
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As you make your way through the trail, you’ll see white anemones followed by a wash of vibrant bluebells that have been established over centuries.
Make the most of your time by taking a pause on one of the seats to enjoy a moment’s tranquillity amid oak trees and hornbeams in the ancient wood.
You can swot up on your knowledge of the flora and fauna thanks to the educational illustrated signs along the way.
What makes the walk extra special?
You can team a love for nature with doing your bit for charity while taking part in this walk as the money raised from ticket sales goes towards worthy causes. These include the Children with Cancer Fund, Canine Partners, Hailsham Lions Club, local Rotary clubs, The JPK Project, Cancer Research UK and Memory Lane Eastbourne.
In addition, the plantsman's garden is open to the public for the first time in five years following a restoration by Emma Reece, who has been working on the project since January 2020.
Anything else I should know about?
The Bluebell Farm is out of action at the moment, so there isn’t any food on offer and people are advised not to picnic in the bluebell woods. Dogs on leads are welcome. There are portable loos and hand sanitisers around the site.
How much is entry to Beatons Wood?
The entry fee for adults has been cut from £6 to £5 this year. £2.50 for children (aged six to 16).
This year, Bates Green Garden will also be open to all those who have booked to go on the bluebell walk, with a separate entrance fee of £7 for adults and £3.50 for children.
How do I book?
Open daily from 10am to 5pm from April 12 to May 19, 2021. All visitors must pre-book a slot through the new pre-booking system, which is available online at bluebellwalk.co.uk/book-your-visit. It allows for 65 visitors every hour from 10am until 4pm (last entry).