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.

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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About

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.

Toilets 

Male and female toilets are located outside the Countryside Centre and are available during car park opening times. There is an additional toilet that includes facilities for baby changing and for the disabled; this can be accessed by a RADAR key.

A RADAR key can be obtained from the Countryside Centre during office hours if staff are available. 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

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

Small Mammal Trapping

Where: Buchan Country Park, Horsham Road, RH11 HQ. Meet at the Countryside Centre
When: Friday 30 October 9.00am–10.30am
Cost: £5.00 per person
Details: Join Countryside Ranger Tom Burns on a 2 mile walk into the park to check live small mammal traps that have been set the night before. Learn to identify what we catch and why they are important to the country parks ecosystem. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Sturdy footwear (wellingtons or boots are best) and insect repellent advised. Sorry no dogs. Booking is essential.
Booking: Complete the online booking form

Family Night Hike

Where: Buchan Country Park, Horsham Road, RH11 9HQ. Meet at the Countryside Centre
When: Friday 13 November, 6.30pm-8.30pm
Cost: £6.00 per person
Details: Join us for a one and a half mile after dark walk, hot drinks and marshmallows around the camp fire and a torchlight procession back to the Countryside Centre. Booking is essential.
Booking: Complete the online booking form

Christmas Wreath Making

Where: Buchan Country Park, Horsham Road, RH11 9HQ. Meet at the Countryside Centre
When: Saturday 5 December 2015 2.30pm-4.30pm
Cost: £8.00 per person (includes mince pie and hot drink)
Details: Get creative with natural materials and make your own festive wreath. All materials provided. Booking is essential.
Booking: Complete the online booking form

Mushrooms, Toadstools, Brackets and Balls

Where: Buchan Country Park, Horsham Road, RH11 HQ. Meet at the Countryside Centre
When: Saturday 3 October, 10.00am–12 noon
Cost: £5.00 per person
Details: Join Countryside Ranger Simon Rowledge looking at the wide variety of Fungi found growing at Buchan Country Park. Find out about how this biological kingdom, neither plant nor animal, is essential to all life on earth. Booking is essential.
Booking: Complete the online booking form

Solstice ‘Sarnies’

Where: Buchan Country Park, Horsham Road, RH11 9HQ. Meet at the Countryside Centre
When: Tuesday 22 December 2015 10.00am-1.00pm
Cost: £10.00 per person (includes food for ‘sarnies’)
Details: Cook bacon or sausages on a ‘Swedish torch’. Bake your own bread rolls. Put them together and enjoy a sarnie in the woods on the shortest day of the year. Swedish torches will be available to buy. All food and materials provided. Booking is essential.
Booking: Complete the online booking form


Events 2016

Family Bushcraft

Where: Buchan Country Park, Horsham Road, RH11 9HQ. Meet at the Countryside Centre
When: Tuesday 16 February 2016 10.00am–4.00pm
Cost: Cost £16.00 per person or Family Ticket for 4 (not suitable for children under 5) £50.00 – includes hot lunch.
Details: Enjoy a family day out in the woods. We will show you 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 lunch cooked over an open fire. All tools/materials provided. You need to 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. Booking is essential.
Booking: Complete the online booking form

Family Night Hike

Where: Buchan Country Park, Horsham Road, RH11 9HQ. Meet at the Countryside Centre
When: Wednesday 17 February 2016 6.30pm-8.30pm
Cost: £6.00 per person
Details: Join us for a one and a half mile after dark walk, hot drinks and marshmallows around the camp fire and a torchlight procession back to the Countryside Centre. Booking is essential.
Booking: Complete the online booking form


Photography competition 2014