Sullington Warren

Painting of the Sullington Warren windmill 1893

As one of the last areas of lowland heath in the south of England, Sullington Warren is a rare and treasured habitat.

A dense holly boundary separates it from the houses that surround it. This cuts out the modern world and creates a sense of detachment from it. Sullington Warren is small but winding paths, slopes and narrow bands of woodland break up the view and so create the illusion of size and space.

This is a place where you can enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. Come to the central grassy area known as ‘The Green’ to have a picnic, play ball with your children or sit in the sun with a book. Discover the various habitats as you explore the many paths here. You never know what you will find just around the corner.

The dry heathland that occupies the higher ground is awash with colour in late summer as the heather comes into bloom. This provides a home for adders, lizards and a myriad of insects including the Sullington Cranefly, a species first found on and named after Sullington Warren. The heather also provides good cover for ground-nesting birds like the skylark.

Wet heathland has developed on the lower ground to the eastern side of Sullington Warren. Bog mosses, cotton grass and sundews can be found here.

The woodland areas are home to a variety of birds including the nuthatch and the tree creeper. Listen out for woodpeckers drilling and if you are lucky you may even see a buzzard nesting in the tree tops.

On the south side of Sullington Warren in the woodland you can find the site of an old windmill. It was built around 1800 and over the years has been referred to as The White Mill, Warren Mill or Crowhurst’s Mill (after the miller at the time). It was a post mill, was weather-boarded, painted white and had an open base. It once stood on top of the hill on open heathland and was a local landmark.

The windmillI was destroyed by fire in 1911 and all that remains is the windshaft which held the sails. This lay where it fell until raised onto concrete pillars by local volunteers in 1978.

Sandgate Conservation Society members raising the mill shaft in 1978
Sandgate Conservation Society members raising the mill shaft in 1978
Sandgate Conservation Society members raising the mill shaft in 1978

Local people fought for many years to save land in the Sullington area from building development. An initial 28 acres of land at Sullington Warren were purchased for the National Trust by public subscription in 1935. The remaining 35 acres were acquired by Chanctonbury District Council in 1959 and gifted to the National Trust in 1985 by its successor Horsham District Council.

Local residents’ interest in the area continues to this day and is very hands-on. At Sullington Warren we work in partnership with the Sandgate Conservation Society, a local charitable organisation which was set up to protect open spaces at Sullington from over-development. The charity’s volunteers join together with our own group in our determination to keep Sullington Warren special.

How to get here

Sullington Warren is on the east side of the village of Storrington, West Sussex. A National Trust car park can be found in Water Lane, a turning off the A283. The car park is opposite the entrance to a quarry. Use postcode RH20 3LY or grid reference TQ098141.

There are no facilities at Sullington Warren so you may prefer to park in Storrington where there are other car parks, pubs and cafes (not National Trust). Walk along the A283 in an easterly direction and turn left into Woodpecker Lane. The Sullington Warren entrance is where Woodpecker Lane bends to the left.