The reserve is a part of Vert Wood, which was once a woodland and heath which teamed with wildlife. Large parts of the wood were planted with conifers in the latter part of the 20th Century
The reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and has been one of the few remnants of Vert Wood’s previously more extensive heathland.
As well as the main area of heathy grassland and a pond, the reserve contains broad-leaved woodland of oak, birch and hornbeam, much managed as coppice. The habitat management work is undertaken by volunteers.
The reserve supports notable plants, dormouse, adder, grass snake and a good range of dragonflies. Pearl-bordered Fritillary was thought to have been lost from Vert Wood but is now being seen again on the reserve.
Grid Reference: TQ 511 148 O.S. Map: 199 Size: 4 hectares (10 acres)
- Entrance at TQ 515 147.
- The reserve lies about 2km south of East Hoathly.
- Turn off the A22 at Park Corner and park in the lay-by on the right. Just beyond this on the right is a private road from which a track leads to the reserve.
Take either the Eastbourne to Haywards Heath, or the Lewes to Hailsham bus for Golden Cross to reach East Hoathly.
Site access and safety
The track and footpath from the entrance to Rowland Wood Reserve lead to Park Corner Heath – the track can be muddy in wet weather.
Please take great care in windy conditions, as the line of old trees along the footpath bank (ancient Deer Park enclosure) can lose branches.
The reserve has a network of footpaths through bracken and scrub. Adders often bask on path edges so please take great care and keep dogs on leads during spring and summer to also protect nesting birds and other wildlife.
Most ticks are little more than an irritation, but a few can transmit Lyme disease, a rare and potentially serious illness which is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early. It is therefore important to be informed and take some simple precautions.