Discover Walk Wood at Sheffield Park and Garden

Sheffield Park Walk Wood

Discover Walk Wood, one of the lesser known areas of Sheffield Park and Garden and stroll among the historic trees as you take in the sights and sounds of this tranquil area.

Tucked away on the north side of Sheffield Park and Garden is Walk Wood, a peaceful area of woodland steeped in history with abundance of wildlife and natural art sculptures. This quiet corner of the garden has significant historical importance that was only recently discovered and whilst much restoration work has taken place, more is still being undertaken.

Bluebells in Walk Wood at Sheffield Park and Garden
Bluebells in Walk Wood at Sheffield Park and Garden
Bluebells in Walk Wood at Sheffield Park and Garden

The history of Walk Wood

In 1982, an area of woodland was purchased by the National Trust with the intention that it would provide a windbreak for the garden. At that time, it consisted of mixed coniferous and broadleaf with forestry planting. Unfortunately it proved ineffective as a windbreak as it was too close to the garden and in the wrong place, so for twenty years the woodland was left to its own devices. Then in 2002, head gardener Andy Jesson began a woodland management plan to create better light levels to increase the number and quality of bluebells. At this point, it was discovered that Walk Wood in particular, within the area of woodland, had great historical significance with remains of planting and paths going back to the original 18th century design for the garden.

Thanks to funding from a legacy left to the National Trust and the Woodland Grant Scheme, a project began to make the woodland wind firm, improve the light levels and provide access routes to Walk Wood.  Volunteer groups, contractors and staff erected deer fences, improved access routes, undertook planting (mainly English Oak) and started controlling invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam.  Advice was taken from Nature Conservation officers, forestry officers and historic curators as to the best way to improve and conserve this important habitat. Boardwalks were built, path networks were re-instated and historical access points from the garden were added. 

Restoring the paths at Walk Wood, Sheffield Park and Garden
Restoring paths Walk Wood, Sheffield Park and Garden
Restoring the paths at Walk Wood, Sheffield Park and Garden

What can you see in Walk Wood?

Today a stroll through Walk Wood provides a wide variety of flora and fauna whatever the season. From bluebells in spring, to wildflowers in summer, stunning colours in autumn and the skeletal forms of the trees in winter, whether you take in the wider landscape or go looking under fallen branches for bugs and fungi, each season brings its own rewards.

Fungi growing in Walk Wood
Fungi in Walk Wood Sheffield Park Sussex
Fungi growing in Walk Wood

Art in Walk Wood

To mark the opening of Walk Wood, local artist Keith Petit was commissioned to produce a series of sculptures in the woods. His use of natural materials and forms add some surprising interventions and help tell the story of the woodland. Sculpture trail maps are available from reception.

Sculpture in Walk Wood
Sculpture in Walk Wood in East Sussex
Sculpture in Walk Wood

Where to find Walk Wood

Access to Walk Wood is from Flint Road and Big Tree Walk. It's sometimes necessary to close it for periods of time for maintenance work to take place so please check the opening times section of the website for details.

Dogs are welcome after 1.30pm on short leads.