Introduction: This 76ha. Sussex Wildlife Trust nature reserve is a microcosm of the wider Ashdown Forest within which it is located. Open heathland supports a wide range of internationally important wildlife.
Location: on the B2026 between Maresfield and Hartfield
What can I do? Walk the marked trail around the reserve. Stop and watch dragonflies and damselflies such as the Golden ringed dragonfly on the boggy stream and pond. Admire the open vistas across Ashdown Forest.
What can I see? A variety of heathland birds such as Tree pipits. Grazing animals including Exmoor ponies used on the reserve for management.
What can I hear? On summer evenings, nightjars churring in the open areas and rides. A sound like two pebbles banged together which is the territorial call of the male Stonechat a resident bird at Old Lodge.
Information available: A site leaflet guides you around the reserve pointing out some of the highlights of this heathland site.
Grid reference: TQ469306(OS Map)
OS map: 135 (Explorer, 1:25,000)
Opening times: Open all year
Dogs allowed: On a short fixed lead only
Terrain: Some stiles, gates and steps at the entrance and steep slopes
Nearest train station: Jarvis Brook (mainline) 6.5 miles
Nearest NCN route: Route 21 is 3.8 miles
Where can I park: Small car park available at the reserve entrance
Where can I get further information? Sussex Wildlife Trust website
Site Enhancements 2009 - 2012
Heathland is a priority habitat in the UK, with much having been lost over the past century, and this has been the focus of these enhancements.
The works involved the removal of bracken by mechanical and chemical means, to create bare areas that are gradually being colonised by the desired heathland plants. The initially bare areas are of benefit to nesting woodlark. Over time, the linking of heathland areas benefits species such as nightjar and Dartford warbler.This work also benefits land outside the Old Lodge boundaries, by contributing to the continuous mosaic of heathland across the adjoining Ashdown Forest.
Both Old Lodge, and the wider Ashdown Forest is covered in archaeological evidence: ranging from as early as the stone age (mesolithic period), 8,000years ago; through Roman and Norman Britain; and continuing to the more recent past with First and Second World War military archaeology. Other project work in the Weald Forest Ridge LPS, including the undertaking of a LiDAR survey, helped Sussex Wildlife Trust find out more about Old Lodge's history and has enabled them to conserve archaeological features within their site management proposals.