Bluebell walk officially opened in Arlington

(l to r) Philippa Vine, Hailsham Town Crier Geoff Rowe and John McCutchan.'Credit: SUS-150413-105741001
(l to r) Philippa Vine, Hailsham Town Crier Geoff Rowe and John McCutchan.'Credit: SUS-150413-105741001

Arlington Bluebell Walk was offically opened to the public last week.

Hailsham town crier Geoff Rowe formally opened the gates and guests were treated to hedgerow cordial as he read out poem Bluebells by David Wood on Thursday (April 9).

He then cut the ribbon to declare the walk open.

The walk will be open until May 10. It takes in three working farms, and has raised thousands of pounds for Sussex charities since it first opened in 1972.

There are seven different walks to try in the 23-acre Bluebell wood, including the gravelled Blue Walk, which gives access to everyone including mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs. Mobility scooters are also available to borrow free of charge.

Fifteen charities will take part in this year’s event, fundraising for different causes by providing food and drink to walkers. The Arlington Bluebell Walk has raised more than £760,000, for more than 60 local charities, since the attraction opened to the public 43 years ago. Two new charities are involved this year, including Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance which is sponsored by several local Lions Clubs as part of its project to raise £250,000 for a Night Flying project for the Air Ambulance. And the JPK Sussex Project which is raising the capital costs for a building in Eastbourne for people with learning disabilities to live, when their parent carers are no longer able to care for them.

Jill Parker, chair of the Eastbourne based JPK charity, said: “It’s fantastic and wonderful of Caroline and John McCutchan to open this up to so many charities. We are very grateful to them for giving us this opportunity and helping us to spread the word.”

John McCutchan, farmer at Bates Green Farm near Hailsham, who created the walks and looks after the wood, has a lifetime’s experience of observing and spotting the bluebells. He said: “The appearance of the bluebells relies on the ground temperature in January and February. Once the white wood anemones arrive, we know that the bluebells are on their way.”

Visitors can also learn more about dairy farming and get up close to farm animals with pens of pigs, angora goats, sheep and baby chicks. The Bluebell Farm Shop will be open every day the walk is open.