Yesterday my youngest child and I celebrated our birthdays (he has been one of my greatest gifts – literally!) and while he chose which birthday cake we had for our birthday breakfast party, I got to choose what we’d do for the day (he gets a bash later this week and I don’t, so I think fair dos).
I decided on a bluebell woodland walk as Instagram’s never ending stream of blossom pictures have latterly been replaced by kids scampering through shady spaces carpeted with purple.
Enquiring in comments under a few people’s pictures lead us to Arlington Bluebell Walk and Farm Trail, which as people who have lived in Lewes for five years, we really should have been to before. The ‘Walk’ is through Beatons Wood and I know we are late in the season with visiting – hence the post: its opening has been extended by three extra days, until this Wednesday, 13 May.
Make the journey please if your kids aren’t yet in school. There’s a spectacular display of colour here and the ‘blue walk’ that leads you through it takes half an hour to an hour to do, depending on how much you stop and take in the picture before you. We took much longer, because of climbing on tree stumps, looking at ponds (there are two) and signs explaining the woodland life, and spotting spider families.
Beatons Wood isn’t open the rest of the year and yes it costs to go when it is. I think it’s fine to pay for it though – much as it is to pay for going to a National Trust property. It must need protecting and maintaining, after all. We paid £12 for a family ticket and these tickets cover two adults and up to four children. (See the bottom of this posts for other woods I’ve heard about that are free to access).
There are toilets at the start, a little farm and farm shop, and other longer walks (six more in total) marked on the map too. Parking is free and dogs are welcome as long as they remain on leads. Mobility scooters and wheelchairs can be used as the paths are gravelled.
P.S. Through the Arlington Bluebell Walk site I found out about Cherry Wood Kids – they do all kinds of forest schooly activities. Even better there’s a Summer Retreat for mums, which says you need to ‘bring a book for some peaceful time’. Nyom nyom nyom nyom – sounds delicious.
P.P.S. Other woods I’ve heard are still full of bluebells are at:
- Folly Wood, Blunts Wood and Warningnore Wood – all near Cooksbridge
- Several woods around Chailey
- Abbots Wood, near Arlington
- Knowlands Walk and Burtenshaw Wood, north of Barcombe
- Blackberry woods, just north of Ditchling, near Tidy’s Industrial Estate on Ditchling Common
Drive: 25 mins
Train: Polegate or Berwick and then taxi
Address: Arlington Bluebell Walk, Bates Green Farm, Tye Hill Road, Arlington, Nr. Polegate, East Sussex, BN26 6SH
Tel no.: 01323 485 151
Open: Dates: Varies each year – sometimes the opening is brought forward, sometimes it’s extended as this year. Check the website as the times may change – the homepage is updated every Friday morning when the bluebells are in bloom. This season (scheduled 9 April-10 May) has been extended until this Wednesday, 13 May. Times: 10am-5pm
Price: Adults, £5; Children (3-16), £2; Seniors, £4.50; Family (2 adults + up to 4 kids) £12
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