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Beatons Wood is 24 acres and classified as ancient semi-natural in the East Sussex inventory of Ancient Woodland. This means that the wood has been present since at least 1600 and probably a lot longer. It was formally part of Michelham Priory estate, prior to my father purchasing it in 1922. It comprises of oak trees that form the upper canopy with an understory of hornbeam used for charcoal production needed for iron smelting in the Heathfield area, sweet chestnut used for fencing and building purposes as this wood is so durable, plus hazel used for weaving.


Beatons Wood is a managed wood as it is a constantly growing area just like Bates Green Garden. The procedures we have in place are designed to retain its unique character and remain unspoilt, so visitors each year can come to witness and enjoy with us what nature has produced year on year. We realize how fortunate we are to be custodians of what is now a sadly diminishing area of ancient woodland in the countryside.


Coppicing of the understory is an integral factor to ensure the wild woodland plants specifically bluebells and wood anemones flourish, by allowing more light onto the woodland floor. It is an ancient form of woodland management that involves repetitive felling on the same stump near to ground level approximately every 16 to 25 years dependent on the tree species, so allowing the shoots to regrow from that main stump, as the native broad-leaved trees fortunately have this ability to be coppiced.


Every few years we aim to coppice areas of the wood, leaving the oak trees and any dead standing timber for woodpeckers and many other insects and creatures that make good use of it. The toppings form what we call Wildlife Piles which slowly rot down, an idea seen at Great Dixter. Mature and untidy hornbeam on the north boundary bank of the wood are cut leaving a three to four feet stump, a form of pollarding to discourage the increasing number of wild deer to graze the new shoots.

Beatons Wood is also home to the iconic Arlington Bluebell Walk. While the Bluebell Walk is open, there is a separate entrance to the Wood, but at other times you can enjoy exploring this ancient woodland as part of your visit to the garden. Details are on the Visiting page

Bates Green Farm


Polegate, East Sussex

BN26 6SH


+44 (0)7818 888440

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