Going Out: Warnham Nature Reserve

In the latest of our occasional series looking at places to visit in Sussex and neighbouring counties, Head of Digital Steve Payne visits Warnham Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Horsham.

This impressive reserve is visited by thousands of people during the course of a year.

However, I guess there are still many others haven’t discovered its delights, enjoying its tranquillity and spotting the enormous amount of wildlife.

The millpond dates way back to the 15th century when it was dug out for iron ore.

The iron was used to make cannons but the mill was destroyed by Cromwell’s troops during the Civil War.

The area covered by the estate once belonged to poet Shelley’s son and then became part of the Warnham Estate.

It was finally bought by the district council and designated a Local Nature Reserve.

This was undoubtedly a good move by the council and the reserve continues to improve thanks to Countryside Wardens and a band of willing volunteers.

When the reserve first opened it was split very roughly into the millpond area and the woods section.

Now paths, boardwalks and tracks take you to many part of the 92-acre site where you can spot a wide variety of birds, ducks and even, if you are lucky, spot deer.

The reserve borders the golf course and beyond are the busy A24 and A264 routes.

But once in the reserve you can easily get away from the hum of traffic and settle for birdsong instead.

There are plenty of seats scattered around for you to take a rest and just bask in the delight of the surroundings.

But the best part is that you can visit at various time during the year and see something completely different as visiting wildfowl come and go and wildflowers pop up during their season.

Incredibly, it costs just £1.50 (annual subscriptions are available) to wander round for as long as the reserve is open - value for money in anyone’s book.

Visitors can pick up various leaflets to help them identify the flora and fauna and there is also a visitr centre and cafe.

The reserve is open 10am - 6pm at the moment and the earliest it shuts is 4.30pm in the depths of winter. It only shuts on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.