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Exploring the estate at Bateman's

A view over green hilly fields on the estate at Bateman's with large trees covered in leaves that are turning from green to yellow and orange during the autumn
Autumn colour at Bateman's, East Sussex | © National Trust Images/Heather Broughton

The estate surrounding Bateman’s is made up of 300 acres of High Weald countryside, set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Medieval in character with a mixture of small fields, hedgerows, ponds, woodlands and streams, the estate has the same secluded feel it had when Rudyard Kipling lived here. With the River Dudwell running through the valley, there is much to see – from year-round colour to wildlife and relics of the local iron industry.

The Sussex Weald landscape that surrounds Bateman's is magical at any time of the year, so set off for a bracing walk in the crisp air to blow the winter blues away. The estate walks will take you out and about, and at this time of year the bare trees offer some fantastic views back to the house.

The countryside around Bateman’s has changed little since the Kipling family lived here, and views of the house in soft winter sunshine make it easy to understand why the author described this as a 'good and peaceable place’.

Winter is also a great time of year to look for barn owls at Bateman’s, as they often extend their hunting hours into daylight to find the extra food they need to get them through the colder months.

Wildlife at Bateman’s

The estate at Bateman’s is home to many different wildlife species. Here are some of the things you might see when exploring:


With sapphire bodies and orange chests, the kingfisher is one of the most colourful birds in Britain. These small birds are vulnerable to harsh winters but Bateman’s has the perfect conditions for them to thrive during the colder season. The River Dudwell has plenty of minnows and sticklebacks for hungry birds and the muddy banks provide space to build nests.


These are often seen soaring over the estate, along with red kites. They can be seen gliding over wooded hillsides in fine weather or perched on dead trees or fence posts. Buzzards are slightly smaller than kites and have broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail.

Barn owls

The buildings and woods around Bateman’s are great places for these owls to nest. They are famous for hunting with silent wings and swooping down on their prey unannounced.

Close-up of blue and orange kingfisher perched on a branch
Close-up of blue and orange kingfisher perched on a branch | © National Trust Images/Richard Bradshaw

A writer’s inspiration

Some of Rudyard Kipling’s writing is set in the Dudwell valley. Poems such as Alnaschar and the Oxen describe the landscape here, and many of the stories in Puck of Pook’s Hill and Rewards and Fairies are based on, or take place in, the countryside around Bateman’s.

Sheep grazing in a field at Bateman's, East Sussex
Sheep grazing in a field at Bateman's, East Sussex | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Farming at Bateman’s

The Bateman’s estate is a working landscape. Dudwell Farm, which makes up most of the estate, has been tenanted by the same family for almost 50 years. Fine Aberdeen Angus/Limousin beef is produced here from an entirely closed herd and the land is farmed in a way that supports the National Trust’s environmental aims.

Traces of old industry

You might find a series of interesting pits as you explore the estate. These are relics from a major part of the history of the area, when the iron industry was dominant. Dug out by hand, these pits are where iron ore was extracted between the 16th and 18th centuries. The ore was smelted at Socknersh Furnace, south-east of Burwash, and then made into a variety of iron products at nearby Burwash forge.

The front lawn and sandstone house at Bateman's, East Sussex

Discover more at Bateman's

Find out when Bateman's is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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