The Best Places To See Bluebells In Kent & East Sussex
Are you looking for the best places to see bluebells in West Kent and East Sussex? You are in the right spot! Read on…..
Each Spring, after months of dull, dark, grey days, nature rewards our winter weary eyes with carpets of utterly beautiful bluebells.
Here in the South East, we are very lucky to have so many wonderful places to visit to view these glorious swathes of blue during the fleeting bluebell season.
I’ve collated a list of my favourite bluebell spots around the Tunbridge Wells area (and a bit further afield) – all of which have easy access and parking.
Check them out below.
1. High Wood, Hawkenbury
A lovely, gentle wood, High Wood in Hawkenbury offers either on-road walking or off-road exploration, so can be buggy friendly. Park at the top end of High Woods Lane (before the gate into the Bowling Club) or on Cleeve Avenue, and stroll up the gentle incline of High Woods Lane, past the indoor bowls club. Whilst it is a private road, there is local traffic, so take care. When you reach the woods, you can either branch out left or right to follow the various trails (some sign posted, some not) through the woods, or stay on the road and view the carpets of bluebells which line the road on either side in patches.
2. Wakehurst Gardens
Wakehurst gardens near Ardingly, is a wonderful place to spend time at any time of year. However, in the Spring when the trees are just beginning to green again, the woodland floors at Wakehurst burst into life. The grounds are carpeted with seemingly miles of blue as you walk around the site. So many different areas at Wakehurst are host to bluebells, you could potentially spend an entire morning walking through them! Great for buggies and wheelchairs as Wakehurst has miles of paved and metalled paths.
3. Eridge Rocks Nature Reserve
One of my favourite places to see bluebells, and where I carry out my Bluebell Mini photo shoots each year, Eridge Rocks is popular with dog walkers, rock climbers and nature lovers! There is a small car park which can get busy at peak times, but you could always park at the Broadwater Warren car park, on the other side of the reserve and navigate your way through to the bluebells. There is a simple circular route which you can easily make shorter or longer as the desire takes you, and you can simply drink in the bluebells they are so plentiful and glorious.
If there has been rain, the ground through the reserve can be VERY boggy, so this is a not a buggy friendly walk.
4. Hurst Wood
A well known wood and much used by locals, Hurst Wood lies on the eastern fringes of Tunbridge Wells. Despite living in Tunbridge Wells for eons, I only discovered Hurst Wood during lockdown when walking was the only thing keeping us all sane! I happened to come across this wood in the middle of the most amazing bluebell season imaginable and it really was something to behold! You can park at the end of Coniston Avenue and meander through the woods following a short circular route, or branch out for a much longer walk coming out on Reynolds Lane and cutting through St. Johns Park and back down Culverden Down (but that is a pretty hefty walk, so take comfortable shoes if you dare!).
5. Hole Park Gardens
One morning last spring, I dragged myself out of bed at 4am and headed off to Hole Park Gardens near Rolvenden. I was so lucky to have the whole garden to myself at that hour and I can’t recommend a visit there enough (at a more sociable time of day!). The bluebells are truly spectacular and as the woodlands are managed, you really do get a fantastic carpet of blue, uninterrupted by fallen branches and woodland detritus. Alongside the bluebells, Hole Park also boasts an amazing crop of wild garlic and if only I could attach the wonderful smell to this guide I would. Truly a must visit for bluebells this season!
6. Arlington Bluebell Walk
A bit further afield, down towards Polgate (so about a 45 minute drive from Tunbridge Wells), The Bluebell Walk at Bates Green Gardens is a stunner of a bluebell location. I was lucky enough to be granted access at dawn here as well, and it really was worth dragging myself out of bed at 4am! Various circular walks take in the best of the bluebells; some are buggy and mobility-scooter friendly – and further walks take you into the wider farm trails which can extend your walk if you want to stretch your legs some more! With easy parking and a cafe and toilets on site, it ticks all the boxes.
7. Nap Wood
Nap Wood is located on the A267 between Frant and Mark Cross. If you blink as you drive past, you might miss it as it’s hardly noticeable from the road. Parking can be a little tricky as there are only about three spaces on the side of the (quite busy and fast) road. But, once you’re off the road and into the wood, it is a haven of tranquility. The bluebells never seem to stop no matter how far into the wood you venutre. And on the gentle slopes of a hill, you get a really good view of them.
This is a nice simple 1 mile circular route, but is hilly and not suitable for buggies.
8. Big Mill Hole Wood
Between Mark Cross and Crowborough, Big Mill Hole Wood is a privately owned wood with public right of way. It’s popular with dog walkers and families alike, and offers excellent tree climbing and pooh sticks playing opportunities! The bluebells are scattered around and, as this is a working wood, ebb & flow around the site as coppicing and regrowth causes the sunlight reaching the forest floor to flucuate.
Park in the layby/gateway on Cowford Bridge Lane and follow a circular route through the wood and back to your car.
9. Tudeley Woods RSPB Reserve
This is one of my absolute favourite walks during bluebell season. There are two clearly way-marked routes to follow for longer or shorter walks and wide paths down through the woods leaving bluebells either side for maximum viewing pleasure! The car park is only unlocked for prior booked groups, so you’ll need to park on the side of the road on Half Moon Lane just outside the car park, then walk through the car park to the narrow path that takes you into the woods. Follow the Green Trail (a 3/4 mile walk) through the woods, onto the meadow (where you might see a basking grass snake on a warm day) and back round to the car park. Or there are longer 1.5 and 3 mile trails clearly way marked for very easy navigation.
Not a buggy friendly walk as the paths are uneven and narrow in many places.
10. Emmetts Gardens National Trust
The bluebells at Emmetts are well known for their beauty. They sit on the side of a hill with wide paths above and below, with plenty of photo opportunities too and if you’ve got a decent off-roading buggy, you’ll be fine here.
It’s a really lovely day out at Emmetts at any time of year. There is a huge open field with deck chairs and lots of outdoor games to borrow such as skittles and croquet! Check it out if you’ve not been before.