Walshes Park sits within The High Weald Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty or AONB, which is defined by its simple beauty and rural character. One of the defining landscape characters of the AONB are its routeway systems of public right of ways at ridge tops within the landscape with dense droveway systems radiating away, forming wider pathway networks.
Walshes Park, has been designed and developed as a SANGS (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space) with an enhanced footpath network, designed sympathetically to retain character from the AONB while increasing accessibility. The provision of multiple walking routes with a flexibility for route variations with a combination of hard surface ‘all weather’ paths and seasonal grass pathways allows continued access around Walshes Park whatever the weather.
A number of circular walking routes, (BLUE, RED & GREEN) dressed with crushed local sandstone or formed as a timber boardwalk system, allows for year-round foot traffic.
Designed to navigate around various landmark features of the park, the routes provide protection for the Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) features. The network of paths link other landmark features designed to enhance the landscape and visual character of Walshes Park, including the river and river bank system, the wildlife wetland scrape, and multiple seasonal grass cut Vista & Informal Play Spaces.
One other such landscape feature, seen before you, is the re-introduction of a historic tree avenue, set either side of this ridge top route. A former prominent feature of the landscape, historic mapping of the area shows that prior to 1879 this ridge top formed the original farm access to Lotmans Farm and was lined by an avenue of trees framing it’s route. The avenue was removed between 1880 and 1898, where it no longer appears on OS mapping (the OS County Series: Sussex maps). The SANGS design process resulted in its re-introduction, creating a comparatively formal landmark feature within the landscape. Orientated to visually channel movement along its route, the trees frame restrictive views until its end, where the eye is visually released to the wider open grassland with far reaching views to the south and northwest.
The tree avenue formed by its 24 native small leaved Lime trees (Tilia cordata) were selected for their historical use forming avenues whilst being of value to native wildlife. The caterpillars of many moth species, including the lime hawk, peppered vapourer and scarce hook-tip moths eat their leaves. Their aphids provide a source of food for ladybirds, hoverflies and multiple native bird species, while the lime trees flowers provide a valuable source of food for honey bees. Though relatively young now, the trees forming this avenue will provide habitat for wood-boring beetles and nesting holes for many bird species and potential roosts for native bat species.
Use the pathway network or simply enjoy roaming through the grassland to explore the park beyond.
Visit the Woodland Trust website (external link) for a lot more interesting facts about our native small leaved lime trees and other native tree species.