Visit Burton Mill and Chingford Pond

Burton Mill and Chingford Pond

South Downs National Park, Petworth

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A nature reserve 3 miles south of Petworth


Starting in Autumn 2023 - Works are being carried out to reduce the amount of trees and scrub growing within the wet reed margins of the Pond to stop these areas from drying out. This work is part of a planned programme of works to restore areas of fen, reed bed and open water.

An atmospheric hammer pond and holding pond, the open water of Burton Mill Pond makes up part of the larger Burton Mill and Chingford Ponds Local Nature Reserve (LNR). The Mill Pond has a variety of dragonflies, beetles, and other rare invertebrates.  Bird highlights include bitterns, warblers, and wildfowl.

Burton Mill Pond is also part of Burton Park Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designated nationally important for its wetland habitats, rare plants, birdlife, and invertebrate populations. Chingford Pond is designated a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI).

The serene open water is dotted with yellow water lilies and fringed with reedbeds used by wintering bitterns and nesting Reed Warblers. This is one of the places in Sussex where Cowbane, a rare member of the carrot plant family, is found. The pond is also bordered by carr woodland, where alder and willow trees thrive on the wet ground. Woodcock breed here and other birds attracted to the open water and surrounding habitats include Gadwall, Teal, Great Crested and Little Grebes and Kingfisher.

At Burton Mill

Getting around

A circular nature trail, about 3 miles long, leads through a fascinating range of habitats. The car park is a good starting point. The trail is on level ground, along surfaced and unsurfaced footpaths, minor roads and a boardwalk over the wettest areas.

The Serpent Trail can also be accessed from Burton Mill Pond via public rights of way.

Please remember to admire these wetland habitats from the footpaths, to avoid damaging the delicate plant community on this soft damp ground which is so vulnerable to trampling.

An easy access trail suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, about 400m long, follows part of the waterside nature trail. There are some moderate slopes and some sections can get muddy.

The Sussex Wildlife Trust have published a way-marked circular walk around the Local Nature Reserve.


Fishing at Burton Mill Pond is managed by the Sussex Piscatorial Society and is by membership or day ticket only.

An annual closed season operates between 15 March and 15 June inclusively.

See The Sussex Piscatorial Society website for further details.


There is a small car park on site with a designated disabled parking bay. There are no toilets or refreshments available at the site, however, local pubs nearby include The Cricketers (2.1 miles) and The White Horse Inn (2 miles).

Share your sightings

By recording and sharing your wildlife sightings enables you to support research and decision-making at local and national levels as well as contributing towards science and conservation.

You can find further information and register your sightings by creating an iRecord account and downloading the iRecord app.


In Elizabethan times this area had a huge iron-making industry. Local blast furnaces produced brittle cast iron which needed converting into a more durable form. The streams at Burton were dammed, forming a ‘hammer pond’ to feed the water wheel of a forge. The water wheel could power bellows and huge mechanical hammers to pound iron with up to 150 blows a minute, turning it into short thick bars called anconies. 

In the 1780s the pond's water power was put to a new use - grinding corns in the water mill (now a private residence), which is seen here today.

Contact details

  • Address

    South Downs National Park, Petworth

Find us

Interactive map

To find Burton Mill Pond, launch our interactive iMap, select 'British National Grid' from the search menu and enter SU978180 into the search box (top left).


Burton Mill Pond is connected to the surrounding area by a network of footpaths and bridleways, and is near Duncton, Fittleworth and Sutton. It can be reached on the Serpent Trail and the West Sussex Literary Trail.

By bike

There are various approaches to the site along bridleways and minor roads. Use West Sussex Cycle Journey Planner. Bikes would have to be left outside the reserve (for example, there is space, but no racks in the car park), as cycling is not permitted on the nature trail or public footpaths within the site.

By bus

The nearest bus stop is at the Cricketers at Duncton (1½ mile walk). Compass Travel Route 99 runs between Petworth and Chichester (request stop – advance phone booking essential).

By car

The car park has space for around 12 vehicles. It is by the pond, next to the old water mill on Burton Park Road, which is a right turn off the A285 one mile north of Duncton.