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If you go down into the woods today…you might not find a teddy bear’s picnic, but you may find the hidden water gardens of Chelwood Vachery. Nestled on the edge of Ashdown Forest, in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Beauty, awaits the enchanting overgrown Vachery Woods. This steep sided valley hides four connecting lakes, rock pools, an Edwardian infinity swimming pool, a folly bridge, stepping stones over a meandering  steam, and a man made gorge built from sandstone and limestone boulders some transported from Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. The woodlands are no longer part of the Chelwood Vachery Estate, so you are free to don your walking boots, roam, explore and marvel.

It is believed that Vachery Woods were royal lands until the late 17th century and the estate itself dates back to as least 1229. Gavin Jones designed the woodland water gardens around 1925, an extension of the more formal gardens of Chelwood Vachery house designed by the Scottish architect William Flockhart in around 1906. Click here for details of the walk and directions. For a shorter walk people can take the short cut footpath from point 2 through Chelwood Vachery to the folly bridge.

Vachery Woods is located approximately 4 miles from Forest Row and 8 miles from East Grinstead. You can find plenty of local places to visit, shop and eat in our local guides here. Alexandre Boyes sell, let and manage private residences in and around the whole area. We have a beautifully furnished two bedroom flat located in central Forest Row for rent and the quaint Tuesday Cottage, a 3 bedroom cottage for sale in East Grinstead. Contact Kate Boyes with your enquiries…she was also tasked with exploring this local hidden gem!