Walking trail

A downloadable woodland trail

Walking trail

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 spring walk

The ancient woods are a great place for a walk at any time of the year. In summer spot wildlife and beautiful woodland flowers or spend some time sitting by the lake or stretched out beneath the shade of an ancient tree. In winter, when the trees are stripped of leaves and the ground free of dense undergrowth other features come to light. The rocky outcrops decorated with mosses, the redwoods stand tall like giant Christmas trees, evergreens and berries give colour and our trackside sculptures take on new prominence.

Sunlight bursting through the tree top in the woods


Map route for a woodland walk at Nymans


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 to purchase from reception.

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View over the surrounding countryside from Nymans, West Sussex, in June.


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.

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view across the arboretum in winter


Just before the lower pond take the gate on your left leading into the woodland next to waymark post 2.

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Once in the woods veer right and follow the woodland track.

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Chainsaw sculptured woodland creatures


You will come to a sign saying Pookchurch Wood on the left. This is also known as bluebell wood and in spring this traditionally coppiced hazel woodland creates the perfect conditions for swathes of bluebells. 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).

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Sandstone rock with fern and moss


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).

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Close up of redwood tree bark


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.

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The Messel family boating on the lake


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 across the meadow.

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Ducks on the frozen lake


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.

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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.


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.

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Snow covered cascades in woodland


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. Spot plenty of primroses on banks that flank tracks, wood anenomes, violets, ladies smock and lesser celendine in springtime.

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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.

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Wood owl sculpture


Nymans car park, grid ref: TQ263296

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A downloadable woodland trail


You will encounter some slopes, steps and stretches of boardwalk. Areas of the route can be slippery and muddy, especially in the wetter months and particularly on the final ascent.

Although this is a circular walk we recommend taking it in the order described for increased safety on the final ascent. The route includes some length of public footpath.

Well-behaved dogs welcome in the woods but not the gardens and please keep on leads during bird nesting season (1 March - 31 July).

A downloadable woodland trail

Contact us

A downloadable woodland trail

How to get here

Handcross, near Haywards Heath, RH17 6EB
By train

The nearest stations are Balcombe 5 miles (8km) (no public transport to Nymans available), Crawley 5 miles (8km) and Haywards Heath 9 miles (14.5km).

By road

Off London to Brighton M23/A23.

By bus

Metrobus routes 271 and 273 stop nearby. Check with bus company for up to date service information. 

By bicycle

National Cycle Network route 20.

A downloadable woodland trail

Facilities and access

  • Adapted toilets in car park and cafe, no further toilet facilities in the woods
  • Baby-changing facilities in car park and near the cafe
  • Cafe, shop and woodlands products sale at Nymans garden
  • Well-behaved dogs welcome in the woods but not the gardens and please keep on leads during bird nesting season