The site looks across the valley to Uckfield and the High Weald, but extensive landscaping and planting scheduled to take place will hide the nearby A22. The surrounding area will become a flower meadow.
“The area at the top of Owlsbury Park will remain unchanged, except for a few extra trees, providing an ideal place to exercise while taking in some fine countryside views. To the north is Camp Hill on Ashdown Forest, to the south is Lewes and the South Downs,” said Councillor Ann Newton.
“To enhance the community connection to Owlsbury Park, we have planted two orchards which we hope local people will use and enjoy. One features more traditional varieties which will include plums, cherries walnuts and quince. A second orchard, in the north of the park, will include modern varieties. As the fruit trees mature, the apples can be used both for fruit and pressing for juice.”
Many of the existing features including a number of farm ponds are being restored to provide a reservoir of wildlife.
A car park will be installed off Horsted Pond Road but the main access is expected to be from a footpath running under the A22 linking to Uckfield via the Ridgewood estate, while other footpaths link it to Little Horsted and Piltdown.
Initially there were to be 28 parking spaces off Horsted Pond Lane but councillors took on board concerns of Little Horsted parish meeting and residents and agreed there should be 14 permanent spaces there and another 14 spaces should be found on the Ridgewood side of the A22 as development progressed.
Owlsbury Park will provide a new recreation area for residents and their dogs from the surrounding town and villages, taking pressure off Ashdown Forest as its lowland heathland ecology is being threatened by nitrogen deposition from vehicle exhaust fumes and a high amount of recreational use.
Planners refer to such infrastructure benefits as SANGS – Suitable Alternative Natural Green Spaces.
The work currently taking place at Owlsbury Park involves creating 3 kms of hard-surfaced paths linking the main access routes. Soil removed in the path construction will be used to form the acoustic bund at the bottom of the park.