Visit Buchan Country Park

Buchan Country Park

Buchan Country Park , Horsham Road , Crawley , West Sussex , RH11 9HQ

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Buchan Country Park is 170 acres of beautiful countryside right on Crawley's doorstep.


Buchan Country Park has won the Green Flag Award, which recognises the best green spaces in the UK, every year since 2010.

The Park is an excellent place for walking, watching wildlife or enjoying a picnic. We have a number of sculptures dotted around the park which families can have fun hunting for.

Animals to look out for include dragonflies, Night Jar, Great-crested Grebe, Adder, and Grass Snake.

Park information

Park facilities

Enjoy this special piece of Sussex countryside and the wildlife that calls it home. Buchan Country Park has won the Green Flag award for the last 5 years for the quality of its facilities.

We offer:

  • Countryside Centre (see opening times)
  • refreshments
  • wildlife garden (dog free zone)
  • picnic area
  • free parking
  • disabled parking
  • pushchair access
  • wheelchair access
  • toilets, including a disabled toilet
  • access for dogs in certain areas
  • dog bins
  • dog dip
  • fishing.

Getting around

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. You can download our easy-access trail information below.

There is a permanent 2-mile novice orienteering course; a map can be purchased for £1.50 from the Countryside Centre.

Countryside Centre

The Countryside Centre provides information and displays about the park and wider countryside. It is open Sundays and bank holidays, 12.30pm-5.00pm, and at other times as staffing levels permit.

A variety of items, including hot and cold drinks, locally-made ice cream and a range of local produce, are available in the Centre.

Picnic areas

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, and refreshments are also available in the Countryside Centre.


A toilet block outside the Countryside 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. Users can also obtain a key from the national RADAR network for £4.00.

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.
  • Help us keep the wild garden a dog-free area.

Find out more in our Code of Conduct:

Park history

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.

William Cobbett's Rural Rides

In 1823, William Cobbett set out from Worth to ride to Horsham. His route took him through what is now 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 through the estate of Lord Erskine as being bare heath...

..."in part, planted with fir trees, which are as ugly as the heath was; and, in short, it is a most villainous tract."

Cobbett clearly saw heathland as a wasteland.  However, today heathland is seen as a very important but declining (disappearing) habitat, and conservation organisations put much effort into restoring it. Since 1992, 13 hectares of heath have been restored at Buchan Country Park.

Victorian era

In Victorian times, the park was owned by a wealthy businessman called Mr Saillard, who built what is now Cottesmore school on the site. The Saillard family was responsible for establishing both Island and Douster ponds.

Buchan Park today

West Sussex County Council purchased the park in 1969, and Buchan Country Park was officially opened in 1982.

The park 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.

Both books mentioned above, 'Rural Rides' and 'Come into the Sunlight', are available from the Library Service.

Find out about our management plans in the documents below:


Fishing at Buchan Country Park is managed by the Crawley Angling Society. 

No day tickets are available and night fishing is only permitted on Tuesday and Friday nights.  

Please use Crawley Angling Society website for further details.

Please note a close season is in force on these waters from March 2015 - June 2015.

Events 2015

Amphibian Amble

When: Friday 20 March, 7.00pm - 8.30pm
Cost: £3.50 per person
Details: An evening walk and pond dip searching for frogs, newts, and toads. An adult must accompany children. Meet at the Countryside Centre.
Booking: Complete the online booking form.

Willow Weaving

When:  Saturday 4 April, 10.00am-2.30pm
Cost: £15 per person (maximum of 10 places available)
Details: Get creative and learn how to weave a willow dragonfly, flower, or even a snail by twisting willow into small sculptures. At the end of the day, take your creations home to brighten up your garden. All materials supplied. Meet at the Countryside Centre Buchan Country Park.
Booking: Complete the online booking form.

Family Bushcraft

When: Wednesday 8 April, 10.00am–4.00pm, Friday 24 July, 10.00am–4.00pm and  Friday 26 August, 10.00am–4.00pm
Cost: £15 per person or Family Ticket for 4 (not suitable for children under 5) at £45
Details: Enjoy a family day out in the woods and learn how to build a den, light a fire without matches, saw up logs, make ‘wild’ string, weave animals from willow sticks and make charcoal. In-between you get to enjoy beans and sausages cooked over an open fire. All tools/materials provided. Wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, sensible footwear and be prepared for wet weather! Hot/cold drinks will be available throughout the day. Lunch is included in the price (fruit for dessert). It’s hungry work being outdoors so you may like to bring along a few healthy snacks. Meet at the Countryside Centre.
Booking: Complete the online booking form.


International Dawn Chorus Day

When: Sunday 3 May, 4.30am–7.30pm
Cost: £7 per person (includes continental breakfast)
Details: International Dawn Chorus Day is the worldwide celebration of Nature's daily miracle. All around the globe people will be rising early to greet the rising sun and enjoy the Dawn Chorus. Everyone should hear it at least once! After a 2-mile walk to listen to the bird song we will enjoy a continental breakfast of tea/filter coffee and croissants at the Countryside Centre. All proceeds from this event will be donated to St Peter and St James hospice in North Chailey. 
Booking: Complete the online booking form.


When: Saturday 13 June, 9.00pm–10.30pm
Cost: £5 per person
Details: Our Nightjars may have spent the winter in the Democratic Republic of Congo! Take a twilight stroll to learn about the ‘fern owl’, the bird that has a supernatural reputation with its silent flight and the mythical ability to steal milk from goats. Meet at the Countryside Centre. 
BookingComplete the online booking form.

Buchan Bushcraft

When: Thursday 23 July, 9.45am–4.00pm and Tuesday 25 August, 9.45am–4.00pm
Cost: £20.00 per child and includes hot lunch.
Details: Get the summer holidays off to a great start on this hands-on day for 8-15 year olds. They will build their own den, make a camp fire without matches, take the observation challenge and get to use tools. Children will need to wear old clothes, sensible footwear and be prepared for wet weather! Lunch will be sausage and beans, with fruit for dessert. Meet at the Countryside Centre. 
BookingComplete the online booking form.

Bats and Moths

When: Friday 4 September, 8.00pm until late
Cost: £5 per person
Details: Join our Rangers as we search for bats and moth in the country park at night. Have a go with a bat detector and watch bats hunting over the lake. Discover how a ‘treacle treat’ attracts moths and see ultra violet moth traps in action. Meet at the Countryside Centre.
BookingComplete the online booking form.

Photography competition 2014

Opening hours

The country park is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

The Countryside Centre is open on Sundays and bank holidays, 12.30-5.00pm.

Car park opening times

1 November - 31 March: 8.00am - 6.00pm
1 April - 31 May: 8.00am - 8.00pm
1 June - 31 August: 8.00am - 9.00pm
1 September - 31 October: 8.00am - 8.00pm

Contact details

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