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Welcoming gardens big and small

By Amy Hurn - 15 April 2024

It’s been wonderful to welcome gardens of all sizes into the Weald to Waves project since launching Gardens & Greenspaces last summer. Earlier this year I took the opportunity to visit one of our larger pledges nestled in the Mid Sussex countryside.

High Beeches, near Handcross, is a fascinating example of an early 20th century woodland garden with its collection of rare trees and shrubs across 27 acres. Walking through the labyrinth of these specimens on a rare sunny day in early February, it was a joy to hear the birdsong and see a flash of blue as a kingfisher whizzed ahead along the streams and pools that tumble through the gardens.

Sarah Bray, owner of High Beeches, explained how they have recorded a huge number of different wildflowers and grasses in their wildflower meadow over the years. In the summer it attracts a bounty of pollinators, including many butterfly and moth species. In the woods I also spot leaf and wood piles left for mammals and invertebrates to find food and shelter.


Sitting within the High Weald National Landscape (formerly AONB) and at the headwaters of the River Ouse, High Beeches is working in partnership with the Wilder Ouse Project to manage the flow of water through the gardens with the creation of scrapes and shallow ponds, offering more opportunities for local wildlife. As a member of Weald to Waves, Sarah is also keen to do more recording and monitoring in the gardens this summer with a view to improving habitats and providing more stepping stones for wildlife to cross the surrounding landscape. So, if you live locally and would like to help with wildlife surveying at High Beeches, please get in touch with Sarah at gardens@highbeeches.com

High Beeches gardens will be open to the public until the end of October (for further information and admission prices visit the website here).

Images taken by High Beeches

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