A downloadable autumn woodland walk
Exploring Nymans gardens can be complemented by a walk around the surrounding estate, an area of the High Weald, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1983.
The perfect place for a woodland walk
The ancient woods on the Nymans estate are filled with glorious autumnal sights. Walk down medieval tracks to mysterious yellow Mesolithic sandstones, where you’ll also see vibrant green mosses on tree trunks and shady banks. The tracks and trees are home to colourful fungi such as red-spotted fly agaric and luminous orange chicken-of-the-woods. Look out for the magnificent American redwoods, whose bark turns a deep orange in the low autumn sunlight and emerald-green ferns.
Nymans car park, grid ref: TQ263296
To take advantage of stunning views over the Weald towards the South Downs, enter Nymans gardens via visitor reception (admission charges apply, free for members, no dogs admitted via this entrance). Head towards the temple in the Pinetum. Alternative access for those with dogs is via the public footpath (from the rear of car park) following Sussex Ouse Valley Way, and excludes the Arboretum loop of walk. For this route start the walk from Step 7. For those that would like a woodland map they are available from reception.
Looking down on the woodland canopy from above gives you the best view of changing leaf colour and the mix of hues reveal what a great variety of tree species we have.
After taking a moment to enjoy the view across from the temple head down the path through the Pinetum. When you reach the bottom of the slope turn to your left, leave the main path and head towards the Arboretum pedestrian gate.
Exit the formal gardens at the gate marked 'Woods and Arboretum' where you will see a way-mark post numbered 1, take the path downhill towards the lower pond. Following the orange arrows will also assist you in taking the walk from here.
The Arboretum was created in the early 20th century. Today it is used by a tenant farmer for grazing sheep, helping to keep down the grasses that compete with the wild flowers. Many of the trees planted have been chosen for their dramatic autumn colour and amongst the exotics are some impressive native veterans.
Just before the lower pond take the gate on your left leading into the woodland next to waymark post 2.
Ferns and mosses
Entering the woods look out for the emerald green ferns and vibrant mosses highlighted in contrast to the browning leaves and tree bark.
Once in the woods veer right and follow the woodland track.
Fallen beech sculpture
To the side of the path a fallen beech trunk has been carved into a sculpture, providing stunning wildlife to be admired at any time of year.
You will come to a sign saying Pookchurch Wood on the left. Follow the path on the left and after another fork at waymark post 4 keep left, you will come to a short section of board walk. Exiting at waymark post 5, weave slightly downhill following the orange directional arrows (indicating the Millennium Walk).
As you descend the slope you can see large sandstone outcrops, a subtle mellow yellow, rising up from the ground on either side of you.
Follow the track down the slope and steps, you will see a magnificent Giant Redwood ahead on your right by a short section of boardwalk. Ahead the track then joins the Ouse Valley Way footpath at the bottom of the slope where you then turn right. (Those who began this walk on the public footpath can join the trail here).
As you reach Conifer Avenue look out for the magnificent American redwoods, whose bark turns a deep red orange in the low autumn sunlight.
Stay on the public footpath until you come to the lake, take the right hand fork down the slope and keep right along the edge of the lake.
The lake was originally created as a 'hammer pond' to drive the iron furnace downstream. The still waters of the lake perfectly reflect the colours and form of the beech trees that line the water’s edge.
When you see waymark post 9 turn to your left and cross a small footbridge, you will see a woven bird-hide on the left, continue on until you come to a larger bridge, cross this then head up the steps and follow the path to enter the meadow.
The autumn leaves create a beautiful mosaic of colour throughout the woods. Take time to look up to see the variety of patterns and colours.
Head across the meadow and up the steps, at the top of the steps turn sharply left then continue to follow the path ahead. As you follow the track remember to look to your left to enjoy views across the woods. At waymark post 13 follow the orange arrow straight ahead.
You will eventually come to a sign that says 'Jack Reedings Woods' continue ahead and follow the orange arrows. After a while the path begins to head back down hill, there some twists and turns with steps and railings to guide you and you will pass more rocks to your left.
Look out for some of our brightly coloured fungi such as fly-agaric and chicken-of-the-woods.
Keep following the orange arrows, after a while the path turns to the left and you will see a stream far below you to your right. Eventually you will come to another flight of steps on the right at waymark post 16 that brings you down to water level. Follow the stream along, still to your right- it can get boggy here. Beyond the cascades go directly across a grassy glade and join the track taking you up a slope until you come to a T-junction where you turn right at waymark post 18 and head uphill.
The cascades were created, for the Messel family, by soldiers returning from the First World War. The cascades are often full and fast flowing adding movement and sound in the hush of the woods.
Follow the track up the hill, you will come to a clearing with a cottage and barn on the left and old dog kennels on the right. Past here the path bends to the left, keep to the main track and continue to follow the orange arrows. This will eventually almost bring you full circle as you will now be able to see the garden gate at the bottom of the Pinetum ahead of you.
On the final stretch, can you spot the two beautifully sculpted owls high above you, carved on trunks of large dead oak trees on the right-hand bank?
Before you reach the garden gate ahead, there is a track sharp right, take this turn joining the public footpath, there is a steep incline that then brings you back to the main Nymans car park.
Nymans car park, grid ref: TQ263296
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