Bersted Park Art Trail

3km (1.8 miles) Circular route

After reading Sarah Davey’s feature last month about staying at home and discovering local areas i thought it would be a great idea to feature a local walk that is accessible to all. So this month a 3km (1.8 mile) trek takes in all the wooden sculptures at Bersted Park that have been created by local chainsaw artist Simon Groves. Bersted Park is the new housing development in North Bersted and is bordered by the redirected A259, within the 26 hectare site are large areas that cannot be built on and now feature the art trail along with a trim trail, lake, sports pitches and a community centre. Arun District council are managing this area in an environmentally friendly way with fields of wild flowers. Over a two year project Berkeley Homes have funded a total of 10+ sculptures as part of their conditions for this new development. Local residents were consulted for ideas on what the sculptures should be and each piece has been expertly carved out of locally sourced sustainable oak. A trail map can be found on the Arun District Council’s website which can be printed off and shows three routes of varying lengths.

The walk starts at the Bersted Park Community Centre and to the right of the building at the edge of the car park can be found the first sculpture featuring a ‘Trail Guide’ showing the three routes. The route featured in this article is the full route marked in yellow. Follow the trail into the fields towards the second sculpture which is a tractor and bales of hay, great for children who can sit on this and imagine that they are farming the fields.

Keeping to the edge of the field continue to the lake, this small body of water has been strategically created as flood relief to this low lying area. It is connected to a number of streams and drainage ditches and ultimately links up with the Aldingbourne Rife. At the end of the lake is a carved wooden sofa where you can sit and take in the native wetland habitat, Yellow Flag Iris can be seen along the edge amongst many wild flowers and the rare water vole may even be seen. In the middle of the lake is an island that features an egrets sculpture, the white of the birds can just be seen above the bushes.

The route goes round the lake and along the southern edge of the park to the trim trail, made up of various outdoor exercise apparatus this is great for those who want to further workout and burn a few extra calories.  At this point a rest can be had on the dragonfly bench and whilst sitting here the orchid sculpture can be seen a little further on.

Double back and follow Barton’s lane to the entrance of the sports field where a great sculpture depicting a football boot and cricket stumps stands. From here the walk continues outside of the sports field, however an eleventh sculpture can be found on this field which is well worth taking a detour to, as the artwork is really amazing.

At this point in the trail swifts can be seen circling around, some great views of the South Downs can be had and a group of three grazing sheep can be seen strategically placed in the middle of the meadow.

Just past here is the WW2 Pill Box, one of thousands that were built along the south coast in 1940 which would have been manned by the home guard to hamper any enemy invasion.

At the far corner of Bersted Park can be seen the waymarker pointing to key areas like Eastfield conservation area and Bersted Brooks that are also worth further exploring if you want to extend the walk.

Follow the sign’s direction and head back to the community centre where the last sculpture called historic piece can be seen on the trail. A great walk for all the family to enjoy.