We have a mass of bluebells where we live and it would be so easy to go for a walk in the woods and capture some amazing pictures, we do have 220 acres at our disposal after all! However it isn't half as much fun to visit something beautiful in a setting that you know like the back of your hand, so we decided to travel about 30 minutes from our home and visit the Arlington Bluebell Walk.
The Arlington Bluebell Walks was established in 1972 and are open for a limited season each year, to tie in with the bluebells of course! This year the walks have been open from 8th April to the 14th May and most years have a similar time period with the opening hours of 10am - 5pm each day.
Supporting Local Charities
I love the fact that Bates Green Farm (where the walks started) works with numerous local charities each season. The charities man the walk and run the catering and then they get to take a percentage of the takings for their charity. Since 1972 seventy local charities have raised £888,338, How cool is that? Each year there is a list produced of which days the different charities will be working and that allows you to visit and support the charity of your choice.
A Variety of Walks
There are 7 different walks that go across three working farms and we hadn't realised this before we went, so it was even more interesting to wander through fields with sheep, cows and horses. I've also now discovered that if you go in the later afternoon (3-5pm) you can watch the cows being milked at Parkwood Farm.
When you arrive and pay your entrance fee (it cost us £15 for our family of 5) you are given a map with all the walks marked on it and then around the site, there are large number signs which help you follow the trails. We ended up crossing over between a few trails and just doing our own thing which was quite nice. It meant we got to see farmlands, miles of views, the bluebells in the woods and also open fields and lakes. There really is a great variety in the landscape and lots of useful nature signs all around the trails advising you of what plants there are or which animals and birds you might be able to see and hear, it is very educational.
We were lucky enough that when we ended our walk there was a local wood crafter set up by the entrance and the ids stopped to watch him work and as I have friendly and inquisitive kids they started to ask questions, so the gent invited them to join him and have a go. This really did make their day!
It's an Accessible Site
We don't have any specific accessibility needs within our family but it was great to see the fleet of mobility scooters and wheelchairs that were available free of charge for visitors to borrow so they could make the most of their visit. One of the walks within the woods is gravelled making it perfect for use with those scooters and there are seats every 150 meters so visitors may rest as they need to. The cafe is fully accessible and there is one toilet with handrails and wheelchair access.
The Bluebell Barn is open each day the walk is and there you can buy reasonably priced cakes, biscuits and hot and cold drinks. Each day it is run by the nominated charity and this means the offering changes regularly. The prices are good and we paid £1.20 for coffee, £2.50 for a large slice of homemade cake, 80p for a small fairy cake and 10p for some sweets. There was plenty of water available free of charge.
Also over the lunchtime period, there is soup, ploughman's, sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes. Prices range from £2.50 for sandwiches, £3.50 for jackets and soup with a roll and £4.50 for salads and ploughman's.
Also within the barn, there were some charity stalls selling second-hand books, plants and charity items.
- Bates Green Farm, Tye Hill Road, Arlington, Polegate, East Sussex. BN26 6SH
- Use BN26 6SH if you have a Sat Nav
- The site is easy to find by road as it is off the A22, just follow the brown tourism signs
- There is loads of free parking in the field opposite and also a pic-nic area
- It would be quite difficult to access the site by public transport as no buses run there
- The opening dates, vary each year but roughly are - 8th April to the 14th May with the opening hours of 10am - 5pm each day
- Cost: Adults £6.00, Seniors £5.50 (60 yrs+), Children £2.50 (3-16 yrs), Family £15.00 (2 adults and up to 4 children) and under 3 years are free of charge.
- Dogs are welcome on the walks if kept on a short lead and cleaned up after
- For more information you can call 01323 485151 or visit http://www.bluebellwalk.co.uk/
I'm linking this post up with Fiona at Coombe Mill for #CountryKids.
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