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Explore Nymans’ woodlands and wider estate

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Image of George Curd
George CurdLead Ranger, Nymans and Standen
Exploring Comer Woods at Dudmaston, Shropshire
Peace and tranquility in the woodland | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Come and explore Nymans’ ancient oak and beech woodland, home to cascades, sandstone outcrops, a lake and a large variety of plants and wildlife. Can you find the tallest tree in Sussex, scurrying squirrels, birdlife on the lake, or fungi?

Exploring the woodlands in summer

Life in the woods follows gentle rhythms from dusk to dawn and throughout the seasons. The long days and short nights of summer can improve your chances of meeting wildlife, hearing whirring insects or an evening chorus of birds, and enjoying flashes of colour from wildflowers and sunning butterflies.

Senior Woods Ranger, Chloe Bradbrooke, shares some of her highlights and also her observations of the effects of a long winter and late spring on this diverse environment.


The long days and short nights of summer can improve your chances of meeting wildlife: foxes venture out in daylight, driven by the need to feed their young, and mornings are best for admiring butterflies as they bask in sunbeams, warming themselves before flight.

The longer, drawn out evenings reveal deer, badgers and stoats as they emerge from daytime resting places. Even nocturnal tawny owls may be spotted on a summer evening out hunting to feed hungry mouths.

Sounds of summer

Subtler than the famous dawn chorus is the evening's chorus: less intense but equally enchanting as birds prepare to roost, one by one falling silent in a reverse of the morning crescendo, with the robin often the last left singing.

As light fades, bush crickets chirp from bramble thickets and maybugs fly to feed on tree foliage. Many of the flying insects are a great food source for bats that whiz amongst the trees and across the lake surface.

Our work

Nowadays, any talk of natural rhythms usually includes some comment on their disruption, due to changes in climate and land management.

It’s not possible to understand the full implications of such global events, but we try to do our bit to help, however small. We installed four bat boxes to compensate for removing a declining roadside oak that had bat roosting potential.

Cutting our carbon

We're aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030 and so of course, climate action is integral to our decision-making process.

A common task in preparation for summer is the maintenance, repair and installation of fencing. We prevent unnecessary carbon emissions by making use of timber from our own coppicing and tree felling works instead of relying on timber transported from, and processed in, other areas of the country.

Planting lost orchards

Since 1950, 63% of traditional orchards have been lost across the UK. These are a haven for wildlife across the food chain and throughout their lifecycle. A young orchard provides pollen for bees and moths through their magnificent spring blossoms and as summer progresses, they provide a food source for birds. As the trees age, hungry beetles can feed on their ‘deadwood’ and a variety of birds can make use of holes and hollow trunks as nesting sites.

In order to help reverse this worrying decline in orchard cover, we have already begun the restoration of a previously grubbed out orchard by planting 25 local variety apple trees. We have also planted a bordering hedgerow to shelter the orchard and provide access for all sorts of critters and creatures that will be sure to visit in the coming years.


The team of woodland volunteers skilfully produce charcoal using traditional methods and timber that's a by-product of the woodland work we do and coppicing. All the proceeds from the sale of charcoal are reinvested in the ongoing management of the woodland.

Buying a bag of our charcoal for your barbecues this summer means that not only are you directly supporting the work we do in the woodland but you're also buying local. Charcoal is available from the shop.

Get in touch

Please feel free to get in touch with any notes of interest whilst you’re out and about. The woodland volunteers have built a new bird hide from our timber, providing the perfect place to sit and take in the surroundings.

Email the team at Nymans

Planning your visit to the woodlands and estate

The wider estate is part of the High Weald, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1983, and the woodland is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

You can access the woodland from the visitor car park and there are three circular walks of different length that can be followed in either direction:

  • The Short Walk (pink arrows, 3/4 mile, 1.2km, some steep gradients and uneven ground) which passes through the arboretum and ancient woodland, by streams and wildflowers.
  • The Centenary Walk (blue arrows, 1.5 miles, 2.4km, some slopes and potentially muddy areas) passes through the arboretum and follows the Conifer Avenue down to the lake.
  • The Millennium Walk (orange arrows, 2.5 miles, 4 km, slopes, boardwalk, bridges, some steps and potentially muddy areas) heads through bluebell-filled woods, by the tallest tree and bird hide, and along a Medieval track.

Use the woodland map to help you plan your walk.

Woodland map

Nymans’ woodland lies nestled in a valley, so some of the paths are steep and at times muddy. We recommend sturdy footwear and make sure you’re dressed for the weather.

Keep your eyes peeled for sculptures created by a local carver, David Lucas, of some of the wildlife you can spot here.

'These woods are so much part of the gardens at Nymans. They are the true English scene, the Midsummer Night’s Dream of my imagination.'

Anne Messel

Explore the woodland on a tour

Each day we run 'Woods Buggy Tours' to help you discover the estate's 250 acres of wildlife-rich woodland. The volunteer-run tours start at 11.30am and 1.30pm and last around 1 hour. Please contact Visitor Reception on 01444 405133 if you need more information.

Walking dogs in the woodlands

Dogs are welcome in the woodlands under close control all year round. Please stick to the paths and keep your dogs in sight at all times. During bird nesting season, from 1 March until 31 August, please keep dogs on leads to protect ground-nesting species of birds.

The woods are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) partly for their breeding birds. Many birds nest in the shrub and bramble layer and are easily disturbed unintentionally by dogs running through. We ask for everyone’s support to help birds nest and rear their young.

The Forecourt Garden at Nymans, West Sussex in June

Discover more at Nymans

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

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