This beautiful part of Burgess Hill, consisting of wild flower meadows and ancient woodlands leading to a large mill pond and waterfall weirs, is in the north east corner of the town. To find it, look for the brown signs from Fairplace Hill along Maple Drive to the car park by the football club.
Bedelands is unique, having meadows that have never been ploughed so they support a wide variety of wild flowers. The meadows are treasured because they have many rare plant species and are visited in late summer by seed collectors of the Millennium Seedbank at Wakehurst Place. You will see many varieties of orchids, ox eye daisies, dyers’ green weed, foxgloves, sneezewort, fleabane and many other flowers in the meadows, as well as windflowers, bluebells and helleborines in the woods.
The Friends group regularly carries out surveys of plant life and also rare, protected creatures such as dormice. You would be surprised at what has been seen here and around Burgess Hill.
The site is owned by Mid Sussex District Council and many of the paths have been resurfaced with crushed rock, which stops them getting too muddy in winter, but when covered in leaves they look like all the other paths. The site is used by hundreds of visitors every week and this will increase as more housing comes to Burgess Hill, so it’s important that it be respected for the unique place it is. Please try to keep to the paths, so that bluebells are not crushed in the woods and can be enjoyed for years to come. Also, please use the paths across the meadows – unfortunately these are becoming wider each year and destroying many of the flowers – and if you have a dog, please pick up any mess and dispose of it in one of the bins near the entrances. This is extremely important for the wild plants as they will not survive where soil is enriched. (Dog mess is rich in nutrients and very unpleasant for other walkers). In winter, horses graze some of the meadows. They nibble away the grass to leave room for the flowers and any mess they leave behind is what they have eaten from the meadow, i.e. digested grass, thus low in nutrients; it will not change the chemical balance of the soil. Please take care near the horses and keep dogs on leads near any grazing animals.
The site is 33 hectares so if you don’t know it, take this map with you. It won’t take long to walk all round it though, and to enjoy its beauty.