Bluebell walk at Standen
A moderate walk that takes in the whole Standen estate and wider countryside. This walk takes you through Rockinghill Wood where you can see the incredible displays of bluebells and spring flowers.
Please note normal admission applies to enter the property and car park
Dogs welcomed, but must be kept on leads when near livestock and along the drive from the car park.
Standen car park, grid ref: TQ391356
Walk up the hill from the car park and through the entrance gate. Turn right, at the Jack and Tommy field sign. Go through the gate into the field and continue straight ahead down the hill on a well-trodden path.
Jack and Tommy field
Jack and Tommy field is an area of ancient meadow named after two horses that used to graze here. After a period of neglect it was almost covered in scrub. It was cleared by volunteers who started the restoration. Gradually many species of meadow flowers are returning and with them many butterfly and other insect species. To continue this restoration it is now grazed in winter by four Exmoor ponies.
Leave the field through a wooden kissing gate and go straight ahead into Rockinghill Wood. Go straight ahead along the boardwalk passing the badger hide (left) and an old storage pond to your right. At the end of the boardwalk, at a memorial seat and pond, you may either turn downhill to the right, to a junction of paths after about 125 yards, or venture further straight ahead (adding less than a quarter of a mile). If you go straight ahead you will enter an area which feels more remote, but the path is clear ahead. It turns right and then right again, at the corner of a large pond. Then follow the winding path through the wood to the junction of paths mentioned above.
Rockinghill Wood returned as part of the Standen estate in 2001 and it is being managed by a group of Vounteers using traditional and sustainable coppicing and green woodworking methods. The produce from the woods is used around the gardens as pea sticks and bean poles, and sold as charcoal and firewood. In the spring there is a carpet of bluebells and many animals and plant species live and visit, including dragonflies, deer and buzzards.
At the junction turn left by the fingerpost (go straight ahead if you have come down the shorter route). The path winds by steps and a boardwalk into a gully. After a short while take the path to the right down steep steps and over the bridge. You will catch sight of Standen Farm across the field. Cross a further bridge and bear right to continue to follow the clear path. You will see a vineyard in a field to your right, before you cross one more bridge and come to a ‘T’ junction of paths by a pond (sometimes dry). Turn right and go through the kissing gate into the field.
Jenkin's Shaw is a piece of ancient woodland now owned by Busses Farm. The land that includes Standen Farm was one of the farms Mr Beale purchased in 1890 to enable him to build Standen house. The farm and surrounding farmland was then sold before the National Trust was given the estate in 1972 and is now back in private hands.
Head uphill following the link of the footpath marker. Do not enter the woodland at the top of the hill but turn RIGHT for about 60 yards and go LEFT over a stile and over a wooden bridge before passing through a metal kissing gate into a field. Follow the left hand edge of the field and then go through another metal kissing gate. Go down a small path to join a wide track through trees where you turn LEFT at the fingerpost marked 'B' (you have now entered the start of the walk leading to Hollybush woods).
These fields are used by Busses farm to graze their small herd of beef cattle. The herd includes two ponies and a ram, who thinks he is a cow. You can get a view of Standen beyond the treetops.
Should you want to take a break, turn instead to your right and, after 100 yards, the Standen picnic area offers an enchanting spot to enjoy your refreshments. You can also return to the car park along this track if you wish. From the left turn mentioned above, follow the track round a right hand bend and continue right in front of a large pond, sometimes dried up (fingerpost sign to Hollybush Wood) and through a gate. Turn left down the edge of the field to reach a gate as you enter Hollybush Wood.
As you approach Hollybush wood there are fine views of Standen House and Weirwood Reservoir which is a well-known haven for birdlife. There are paths from Standen to take you there. If you visit the picnic area you will also have a view down the field to Standen Barn. The barn is a replica of one in Nyman's woods and was built by the Standen woodland volunteers. Most of the wood came from Standen estate and Nyman's woods. It is now used by the volunteers as they help manage the estate.
Follow the boardwalk into the wood crossing the bridge and continue along the boardwalk until reaching a bench, the path then doubles back to the right. Continue down the boardwalk as it begins to cross and re-cross the small stream running through the bottom of this ghyll wood. Follow the boardwalk as it runs alongside the small stream. Follow the boardwalk which curves round a gentle line up the slope. Turn right at the end of the boardwalk and then left up the gentle slope with large pine trees on your left. Follow the path up the boardwalk, around the rim of a large pit, ending at a T junction.
Hollybush wood in an ancient ghyll woodland, a relic of "Holmwood" one of Sussex ancient forests. Due to its steep sided streams (ghylls) machinery has never been able to work the timber so it remains undisturbed. On one edge of the wood an area used by Romans for iron smelting has been found. Today the wood is managed by coppicing to assist ecological bio-diversity.
Turn left onto the path and follow it until you go through a gate into the open field. Take in the fine view left towards the reservoir and beyond before turning right along the field edge and up the hill. Go through a metal kissing gate and follow the pat, between a hedge and wire fencing, beside the field. At the end of the path turn right on the drive to return to Standen house and car park.
Return to Standen
There are views across the fields of St Hill Manor which has historic links to the Standen estate, but is now privately owned. As you walk back down the drive you pass 3 workers cottages (now privately owned) that were built by the Beales when the main house was constructed. Recently the rocks on the drive have been cleared of lots of vegetation to expose the wonderful rock face that inspired the Beale family to buy the land and use them as an imposing entrance to the property.
Standen car park, grid ref: TQ391356
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