Heaven Farm seems to be a little known delight amongst local families and I have to say…in the words of Belinda Carlise Heaven is, indeed a place on Earth! What a magical find! The farm is situated on the A275 between Danehill and Sheffield Park set amongst stunning views of rolling English countryside. The car park is quiet, spacious and accessible. As you approach the farm you are greeted by chickens, ducks, rusting tractors and historical farm buildings. The farm buildings date back to 1830 but records of the farm itself go back to 1387!
I visited the farm last week with 3 of my children aged between 1 and 10 years. They all loved the place as did I and felt that as such a hidden treasure I’d like to share our adventure, particularly with other local parents. The farm site consists of a number ofamenities; The Stable Tea Rooms (meals, hot and cold drinks and alcohol), a campsite, the old farm buildings and the farm shop. The Farm Shop is our starting point. We are directed by a sign outside of the to buy our tickets for the Nature Trail. Admittedly I was initially surprised at having to pay for a Nature Trail, but this walk is so well maintained, pushchair friendly and packed with little surprises that I felt that it was worth every penny. I paid £10 for the 4 of us to do the trail. I was charged £5, the older children £2.50 and Little Logan was allowed to enjoy the trail for free. We were also given a detailed map which doubled as our ticket. This map was filled with 26 points of interest to look out for as we followed the trail, Leon 10 loved reading through these and educating the group as we moved around the trail.
So off we set, down a gentle hill and through a small gate to our first pit stop. Wallabies! How cute are wallabies? We walked along side two fenced fields which ran adjacent to the trail cooing at the fellas. A whole bunch ofthem, babies, albinos…even some tiny little Munyjac Deer. Such an unexpected treat.
The trail goes on through ancient woodland. The kids ran off in all directions looking at different things..there is so much to grab their attention. We ambled past ponds with giant plants, over streams and bridges, past a mill, badger sets, trees that double as climbing frames…one thing after another! Throughout there are signs of interest in addition to the map. We learnt that Gardeners World have filmed in this wood and that a pensioner once fell in the stream!
The woodland gives way to the Hop Garden Field with the trail running through the middle where hops were once farmed. We make our way across this vast green space suddenly appreciating how much cooler it is in the woodland and enter the large Oak Woodland.
The Oak Wood is denser and more consistent than the previous. Again the trails are pushchair friendly and easy to follow. The kids run off ahead eager to be the first to conquer any points of interest. There are benches and rest points throughout the walk, we took advantage of these as this is the point the children began to complain that they’re tired! The whole circuit is a mile and a quarter so by now they’ve probably walked about half of that..if not more. We have a drink and a chill then we’re all set.
The last past of the walk follows the age of New Park field. We’re no longer in woodland but open grassy parkland. Although this is perhaps the least interesting part of the walk the setting is delightful with giant oaks, ponds and typically English countryside. Before we know it we’re back at the bottom of the drive which led us to the Wallabies. We continue back up the hill in need of refreshment at the Stable Tea Room.
We spend a good hour sat on benches enjoying ice creams and a drink. The children all explored various aspects of the farm. Logan chased the chickens and watched the caged budgies. Daisy and Leon rode the rusting tractors and chatted to the Indian Runner ducks. In case you’re wondering my waking hours are spent steering Logan away from hazards so I was kept pretty busy too!
I can’t recommend this place enough! It’s quiet and low key but unassumingly charming and a hit with all ages. If you’re local to Sussex please pop in next time you drive past, you won’t be disappointed.