Nymans Great Storm downloadable woodland walk

Walking trail

The Woodland was not spared the devastation of the 1987 storm and lost a huge amount of trees including mature oaks, beech and sweet chestnut trees, many hundreds of years old. Fallen trees created a wall of timber and progress to clear was very slow taking three years to reach the far side of the woods. Even then, not all of the timber could be removed and there are still trees from the storm lying on the ground today. However, wildlife adapted to the new, less crowded conditions.

If you look carefully, all through the woodland signs can still be seen of the storm damage; fallen trees re-growing, beautiful tree roots like pieces of natural art. But you can also see the incredible natural regeneration now thriving as a great example of the resilience of nature and the way plants and trees adapt. Change can be good for nature and woodland, it cleared areas providing the space, light and conditions that encouraged new growth and for areas to become rich in wildlife and plant species.

Tree roots from a fallen tree


storm trail route on a map


Nymans reception


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). For this route start the walk from just after Step 2. For those that would like a woodland map they are available to purchase the shop. After taking a moment to enjoy the view from the temple head down the path through the Pinetum. When you reach the bottom of the slope turn to your left and head towards the large vehicle and pedestrian wooden gates.

Read more
Autumn view over the woodland at Nymans


Exit the formal gardens through the pedestrian gate and you will now find yourself on a wide main track. Follow along on this track. Go straight over the crossroad in the paths, trail post number 24. You are now following part of the orange woods walk. (Those who began this walk on the public footpath can join the trail here).


Continue on the main track and very soon to your left you will see 2 oak trees that lost their canopy in 2009. Look high up and you will see the sculpted wooden owls they now have on top.

Read more
Wood owl sculpture


Continue on for a short distance, 50 metres and look out on your left for a small fallen tree set back from the path. Keep to the main track and walk past the path that joins from the right, trail post number 21. This is the point that you will return to towards the end of the trail. Continue on the main track for about 450 meters as it bends and starts to head downhill.

Read more
A silver beech tree growing on a fallen chestnut tree


As the woods opens up slightly another track will join from the left, this is called Red Lane. Keep on the main track as it heads downhill past a field on your right and you will come to a cottage and out-buildings.

Read more


When you reach the buildings continue on past with the cottage on your right and the old dog kennels and game keepers cottage on the left. Here the track starts to drop downhill.

Read more
Tree roots wrapped around rocks


When you reach a smaller path on your left, trail post number 18, you turn left and leave the main track you have been following. Follow this path as it leads down, go past some steps on your left, trail post number 17 and continue until you reach the pond on your right and go over the small stream. At the pond follow the path that bends to the right and climbs up hill. Here you will leave the orange route.


Ignore the wide path joining on your left and soon after when you reach a fork in the path you will see a golden tree on your right. Take the left fork at this junction and the path continues to climb uphill and bends to the left, then at the top it bends to the right and you will re join the main path. You have now joined back with the orange route, trail post number 13.

Read more
A fallen tree gilded with gold


Turn right onto this path and follow it along the ridge. You will soon see a large fallen tree on your left. As you continue along this medieval path look out for fallen trees, interesting regrowth and decaying tree trunks.

Read more
A rotting tree trunk in the woods


At the small gate, trail post number 12, turn right and walk down the wooden steps. Continue across the grass meadow and over the wooden bridge. Keep straight on along the end of the lake which you will see on your right. Go across a smaller wooden bridge and join the track, trail post number 9. Turn right onto this track and walk along it with the lake on your right.


At the junction where the track goes straight on along the lake, turn left onto the path that leads up and away from the lake, trail post number 8. Continue along this path as it passes sandstone outcrops and leads into conifer avenue.

Read more
The bare vegetation under the canopy of trees


Continue past the path which joins from the left, just after a wooden bench, and stay on the main wide track as it continues through conifer avenue which is lined with large redwood trees.

Read more
Conifer Avenue in Nymans woods


The path changes from a wide track to a narrow and uneven path that climbs uphill. You can see the steep sided ghyll on the right and more fallen trees. Continue up until a path joins on the left, keep right here over a small ditch and then take the right fork which is the lower, wider of the 2 paths ahead. Follow this path as it bends and climbs uphill.

Read more
A beech tree with no crown


Towards the top of the hill you will pass a small clearing on the left with a large fallen branch and a leaning tree. The path then re-joins the main track that you were on earlier, trail post number 21. Turn left on this track and follow it until you reach the wooden gate back into the formal gardens. Go through the wooden pedestrian gate and turn right onto the hard path that leads up through the Pinetum back to Nymans reception, cafe and shop.

Read more
A leaning tree in the woods


Nymans reception

You made it

Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.

Nymans Great Storm downloadable woodland walk


You will encounter uneven paths, some slopes, steps and stretches of boardwalk. Areas of the route can be slippery and muddy, especially in the wetter months. 

Although this is a circular walk we recommend taking it in the order described. 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).

Nymans Great Storm downloadable woodland walk

Contact us

Telephone: 01444 405250

Email: nymans@nationaltrust.org.uk

Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nymans/

Nymans Great Storm downloadable woodland walk

How to get here

Handcross, near Haywards Heath, RH17 6EB
By train

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

By road

Off London to Brighton M23/A23. Follow the brown signs from the A23.

By bus

Metrobus routes 271 and 273 stop nearby. Contact the bus company, Metrobus for further information.

By bicycle

National cycle network route 20.

Nymans Great Storm downloadable woodland walk

Facilities and access

  • The woodland paths are uneven and seasonally muddy with a number of slopes, some steps and uneven paths. There is also an unfenced lake.
  • There are two accessible toilets – one in our car park and one next to the café, both locations are at the start of the visit. No further toilet facilities in woods
  • Baby-changing facilities in car park and near cafe
  • Cafe, shop, plant centre and woodland products
  • Well behaved dogs welcome in the woods but not the gardens. Please keep on leads during bird nesting season.