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Sussex Gardens Reopen to Mark 100 Years

A stunning garden spanning 1.5 acres will be open to the public on a weekly basis for the first-time next week. There will be the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful Arlington Bluebell Walk Wood out of season, something never offered to visitors before. Bates Green Garden at Arlington, near Hailsham is part of the 130-acre farm, which first came into the McCutchan family in 1921, having formerly been part of the Michelham Priory Estate.

Bates Green Garden

John McCutchan’s late wife Carolyn started work on the Garden back in 1968. She was a keen and self-taught plantswoman and created the most amazing colourful and tranquil garden, full of unusual plants and shrubs. From 1988 she annually opened her garden under the National Garden Scheme (NGS) and for other charities. Sadly, due to ill health, 2015 was her last year. Following Carolyn’s death in December 2019, her former student of 2002 and dear friend Emma Reece and John McCutchan decided to start a project to restore Bates Green Garden back to its former glory. Emma with part time help, now keeps the garden looking absolutely fabulous, and it is a varied and diverse garden designed for colour all year round. The adjoining five-acre conservation meadow has mown paths, so visitors can enjoy the many wildflowers until it is cut for hay in early August.

Bates Green Garden

John said: “I am thrilled that Bates Green Garden will be open to the public every Wednesday between now and the end of October from 10am until 4pm. Now Emma and I feel the time is right to open it to the public one day a week. My daughter Phillipa Vine, who owns Bluebell Farmhouse Kitchen will supply light lunches and refreshments. Also, for the first time, we will be inviting visitors to walk around Beatons Wood – otherwise known as the Bluebell Walk – out of season.”

Bates Green Garden Sussex

In 2002 Emma secured a one-year placement with Carolyn at Bates Green Garden. She then went on to have an exciting career in the industry, primarily in the heritage sector, and she also taught at Plumpton and Chichester Colleges. Emma said: “Bates Green Garden is typical of the English style of gardening. It is planted in a relaxed and naturalist way with self-seeders positively encouraged. The garden sits comfortably surrounded by fields and woods, and is always full of birdsong. I am proud and delighted to be responsible for the restoration of this Plantswoman’s paradise, as sadly many areas had been neglected for a number of years. I was privileged to be taught by Carolyn and we become close friends, so it’s only right that we should celebrate Carolyn’s achievements by opening the garden on a regular basis.”

Bates Green Garden Sussex

You have to book online to secure your ticket. Cost is £7 for adults and £3.50 for children. If you wish to also visit Beatons Wood, there is an additional charge of £5 for adults and £2.50 for children, so when you buy your ticket for the garden you have the choice of purchasing a combined ticket. Go to to book your tickets.

If you like this post about Sussex gardens, you may also like:

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