Hurst Meadows is one of the Parish’s most important and accessible areas of publicly-owned open space. Situated to the north of the village, it comprises nearly fifty acres of open grassland, hedgerows and woodland with stunning views over the Low Weald countryside.
The land was transferred to the Parish Council as part of an agreement with developers that formed a key part of the Council’s Neighbourhood Plan.
Hurst Meadows was opened to the public on 1 May 2018. It is managed for the benefit of the community and for the protection of the countryside. The land is adjacent to the popular Millennium Gardens which link the west and east sides of the village and in 2019 the trustees of the Gardens voted to incorporate the Gardens into Hurst Meadows.
Hurst Meadows is managed by the Council’s Estates and Facilities Committee with expert guidance from an Advisory Group which consists of councillors, local ecologists, members of the public and representatives of groups such as Sussex Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Flora and Fauna group and Hurstpierpoint Society. The Committee has delegated some of the day to day operations to a working group who are developing a long-term management plan. They can often be seen surveying the wildlife or carrying out conservation management tasks such as clearing docks by hand to avoid disturbing nesting skylarks!
Since acquiring Hurst Meadows, the parish council has planted a Heritage Orchard in Buckwilly Field with over thirty varieties of old Sussex apples. These have been carefully sourced to provide the village with a fantastic living record and community asset. In Hovel Field adjacent to the new Little Park development, fifty-seven native trees, including oak, hazel, rowan, willow and alder have been planted. As it matures, it is hoped that this new wood will help connect the designated ancient woodland of The Wilderness (not open to the public) to the surrounding hedgerows, giving wildlife more opportunity to move around and providing food and shelter for pollinators and birds.
Hurst Meadows is a beautiful and peaceful place to enjoy nature. It supports an interesting and attractive variety of habitats including wildflower meadows, woodland and hedgerows and these are home to a variety of trees, plants, insects, birds and animals. Informal walks are held throughout the year to introduce residents to the flora and fauna. These are advertised widely including on the Parish Council’s Facebook Page.
Since acquiring Hurst Meadows, the Parish Council has improved public access and safety by laying paths and putting in gates and signs whilst at the same time being careful to preserve the character of the countryside.
There are several ways into Hurst Meadows including access via the footpath opposite the Health Centre in Trinity Road, through gates from the Millennium Gardens and from the footpath behind Highfield Drive.