Natural play area at Bateman's

A view into the natural play area at Bateman's in East Sussex

Rudyard Kipling encouraged his children to explore the natural world around Bateman's and so we've created a natural play area for your children to explore here.

Get down and grubby

Our secluded natural play area is situated close to the car park and provides the opportunity for your children to connect with nature, get grubby and discover new things at Bateman's.

Discover the best of all things natural

Our garden team will be creating natural play equipment from the branches and trunks of a variety of trees, hornbeam, oak and pine, which have been gathered from the clearing of the tree line which surrounds the area and from a collection of felled trees around the estate. The need to remove the trees was part of our woodland management and we saw this as a great opportunity to repurpose as many of them as possible into inspiring, natural play equipment.

Lots of den building materials in the natural play area at Bateman's in East Sussex

Where we are now

The space is already open for children to run around and clamber over the wood felled from trees on the estate, to create their own dens from fallen branches and to make up their own outdoor games and nature collections.

This is a great place to tick off some of those '50 things to do before you're 11¾'. Our visitor reception has a free booklet for you to collect and see how many you can complete - build a den, run around in the rain, make a trail with sticks, make a mud pie or hunt for bugs to name just a few!

Please be aware that the play area is accessed via ia a steep hard surfaced slope.

The central sculpture

We are very pleased with the beautiful sculpture centrepiece which was completed earlier in the year. The carving is onto a beautiful large solid oak tree, and was created by talented chainsaw sculptor, Steven Andrews. The sculpture contains images of Sussex wildlife and is topped by an enormous owl. Steven said it was the largest owl he has ever carved and definitely his favourite.

" Now is the Sun, Come up from the South, with Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!"
- Rudyard Kipling

These words from 'The Tree Song' entwine the sculpture and motifs of the leaves of those trees are also included. Rudyard Kipling was so inspired by the Sussex landscape and loved Bateman's because of its secluded position in the Dudwell valley.

The central wooden sculpture in the natural play area at Bateman's in East Sussex

Come and visit soon and see how many animals you can spot wrapped around the sculpture - perhaps you will see them around the estate on your visit too.

A family day out

To help make our play area really family friendly, we have plans for a new seasonal 'Grab & Go' coffee outlet, so that parents can enjoy a hot drink and sandwich close by as the children play. We'll also have some soft drinks and snacks for the children.

Check back for further details of the opening date and times of this new venture and to find out about progress on the development of the handmade play equipment by our garden and estate team over the summer.