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About Buchan Country Park


Activity on Buchan Park pond


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

Green Flag Award logoBuchan Country Park has won the Green Flag Award which recognises the best green spaces in the UK.

What’s at Buchan Country Park?

Fly agaric mushroomAn ideal place for walking, watching wildlife or enjoying a picnic, Buchan Country Park has plenty to offer.

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

Address Buchan Country Park
Horsham Road
West Sussex
RH11 9HQ

Interactive map


The park is on the Broadfield and Bewbush circular walk, one of the Crawley Greenways walking routes.

By bike

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 use the West Sussex Cycle Journey Planner to plan your ride.

By bus

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.

Metrobus Fastway route 10 runs a frequent daily service to these stops from Crawley town centre. Information about other routes is available from Traveline.

By train

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 Crawley Greenway. 

Rail timetable information from National Rail Information.

By car

Buchan Country Park is located off the westbound carriageway of the A2220.

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 TQ245347).

From Crawley, follow the signs for Horsham and the park is signed at the roundabout ¼ mile before the park entrance.

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Getting around

Grass snakeThere 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.

Supporting document

Dog walking

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.

Supporting document

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Countryside Centre

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 permit.


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 produce.

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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Douster Pond

Medieval times

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.

Victorian era

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.

Buchan Park today

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 painful reflections!".

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 Library Service.

How we look after the site

Lesser spotted woodpeckerBuchan 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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