Horsted Green Park, on the outskirts of Uckfield, has quickly established itself as a popular spot for walkers, especially those with dogs.
It is designed to reduce the number of visitors by car to the Ashdown Forest, especially those heading there for a daily walk with their pooches.
The park – about 73 acres – was opened early last autumn and is becoming lush this spring after the winter rains.
At the moment, spring meadow flowers are in bloom, trees are coming into leaf and the sound of larks can be heard.
There are ponds, viewing places and even an orchard.
Paths are hard and topped with loose chippings.
The park can be reached on foot from Uckfield town centre, following a route from the Victoria Pleasure Ground and using an under-pass beneath the A22 to enter the site.
From Horsted Green Park itself, there are extensive views across the fields to Uckfield and Ridgewood, where the building works on the former Ridgewood Farm are clearly visible.
Horsted Green Park is officially known as a Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANGS) and is designed to divert people away from the ecologically sensitive Ashdown Forest.
The overall strategy is to help protect the forest’s special protection area status, including safeguarding rare birds such as the nightjar and Dartford warbler, by cutting the problems arising from visitor numbers.
The park, and one at Crowborough, has been developed and initially paid for by Wealden District Council.
The authority will get the money back from developers by way of a ‘roof tax’ on new housing.
In 2018, a council spokesperson told this website: “We are paying for it up front, using the News Homes Bonus [a government fund] from the Revolving Infrastructure Fund, but will be repaid by contributions from the Community Infrastructure Levy as housing is built, so that this money can then be used to contribute up-front towards other infrastructure improvements.”
By working in this way, the district council has “pump-primed” the new parks at Little Horsted and Crowborough to make sure they are available for use as the new houses are built and people move in.
As part of the project, a car park has been established along Horsted Pond Lane – a single-track road off the A26 serving a number of homes – which now has passing places.