About Buchan Country Park
Although it is little more than 2 miles to Buchan Country
Park from Crawley town centre as the crow flies, it's easy to leave
behind the hustle and bustle by exploring the 170 acres of
woodland, heath and meadow.
Ample car parking for 80 cars is available from:
- 8.00am-6.00pm - 1 November to 31 March
- 8.00am-8.00pm - 1 April to 31 May
- 8.00am-9.00pm - 1 June to 31 August
- 8.00am-8.00pm - 1 September to 31 October
Buchan Country Park has won the Green
Flag Award which recognises the best green spaces in the UK.
What’s at Buchan Country Park?
An ideal place for walking, watching
wildlife or enjoying a picnic, Buchan Country Park has plenty to
Lose yourself amongst the birch trees, wander around the heath
and lakes, or linger in the meadow. Enjoy this special piece of
Sussex countryside and the wildlife that calls it home.
Species to look out for include dragonflies, birds such as
nightjars and great-crested grebes and reptiles, including adders
and grass snakes.
Our sculptures, which are dotted around the park, are a popular
attraction for families. Enjoy finding owls, fish and a giant deer,
all carved from wind blown trees. Throughout the year visitors can
enjoy a varied events programme,
including many activities for children.
Buchan Country Park also has a Countryside Centre with
information about the park, local produce, and seasonal coppice
products on sale.
How to get there
||Buchan Country Park
The park is on the Broadfield and Bewbush
circular walk, one of the Crawley
Greenways walking routes.
Cycle racks are provided outside the
Countryside Centre. Bicycles are left there at owner's risk. Care
should be taken when cycling along the busy A2220 and A264. You can
West Sussex Cycle Journey Planner to plan your ride.
The nearest bus stop to Buchan Country Park is
at Bewbush shops, ½ mile from the entrance.
The park is signposted from the bus stops at
Dorsten Square Bewbush and Broadfield Barton.
Fastway route 10 runs a frequent daily service to these stops
from Crawley town centre. Information about other routes is
available from Traveline.
The nearest train station to Buchan Park is Ifield. From here,
you can enjoy a 1½ mile walk to reach the park along the signposted
Rail timetable information from National
Buchan Country Park is located off the westbound carriageway of
From the M23, leave at Junction 11, Pease
Pottage, and follow the A264 for Horsham. At the second roundabout
the park is signposted. Turn right onto the A2220, continue to the
next roundabout and follow the signs to the park entrance (Grid ref
From Crawley, follow the signs for Horsham and
the park is signed at the roundabout ¼ mile before the park
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There is a network of hard-surfaced
paths which ensures easy walking in all weather conditions. Much of
the park allows good access for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
Download the Easy access trail information below.
There is a permanent 2 mile novice Orienteering Course. You may
purchase a map for £1.50 from the Countryside Centre.
Buchan Country Park is a haven for quiet recreation and is
popular with local dog walkers.
- Dogs are welcome but please keep them under close control.
- Owners are obliged to clear up any mess their dogs leave. Dog
bins are provided for this purpose.
- Island Pond has a Dog Dip, a designated area where dogs may
swim without disturbing other users and wildlife.
- Please keep dogs out of Douster Pond to avoid disturbing
wildlife and other users.
- Please help us keep the wild garden a dog-free area.
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The Countryside Centre provides information and displays about
the country park and wider countryside. It is open Sunday afternoon
and bank holidays, and at other times as staffing levels
A toilet block outside the centre includes facilities for the
disabled, and can be accessed by a RADAR key. A key can usually be
collected from the adjacent park office, normally staffed during
office hours. Alternatively users can obtain a key from the
national RADAR network for £4.00.
The Countryside Centre sells a variety of items including hot
and cold drinks, locally-made ice cream and a range of local
You are welcome to bring a picnic. There are picnic areas by
Douster Pond, Target Hill and in the Wild Garden.
The nearest shops are at Dorsten Square, Bewbush, just under ½
mile from the entrance.
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In medieval times the area now known as Buchan
Country Park was heavily used for wood extraction and grazing for
sheep. As a result, the original woods became heathland.
On Thursday 31 July 1823, William Cobbett set out
from Worth at 5.00pm to ride to Horsham. His route took him through
what, today, is Buchan Country Park.
At that time the land belonged to Lord Erskine, who had named
the area Buchan Hill after his father, the Earl of Buchan. In his
book, 'Rural Rides', Cobbett recalls his journey.
"From Worth you come to Crawley along some pretty good land; you
then turn to the left and go 2 miles along the road; then you turn
to the right, and go over six of the worst miles in England, which
terminates but a few hundred yards before you enter Horsham. The
first two of these miserable miles go through the estate of Lord
Erskine. It was bare heath with here and there, in the better parts
of it, some scrubby birch. It has been, in part, planted with fir
trees, which are as ugly as the heath was; and, in short, it is a
most villainous tract."
While Cobbett clearly saw the heath as wasteland, it is seen
today as an important and declining habitat,
which conservation organisations put much effort into
restoring. Since 1992, 13 hectares of heath have been restored at
Buchan Country Park.
In Victorian times, the park was owned by a Mr Saillard, a
businessman whose wealth came from the sale of playing cards, and
ostrich feathers for ladies hats. Mr Saillard built a grand mansion
(now Cottesmore school).
Not far from Buchan Hill was a large property called
Woldhurstlea, which stood in what is now Gossops Green housing
estate. Nerina Shute, who grew up in the house, wrote a book called
'Come into theSunlight' , the story of her Edwardian mother. In the
book Nerina recalls a visit to Buchan Hill to visit the Saillards
with her mother. She writes that this was done only at rare
intervals, with chilly politeness, and usually on a rainy day!
The Saillard family was responsible for establishing both Island
and Douster ponds.
West Sussex County Council purchased the park on 31 July 1969,
146 years to the day after William Cobbett noted "I have seldom
travelled over 8 miles so well calculated to fill the mind with
The Country Park was officially opened 20 May 1982.
Both books mentioned above, 'Rural Rides' and 'Come into
the Sunlight' are available from West Sussex County Council's
How we look after the site
Buchan Country Park is owned and managed
by West Sussex County Council. It is designated a Site of Nature
Conservation Importance (SNCI) and is of national importance for
its dragonfly populations. In 1985 the lakes and surrounds were
designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
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