A POPULAR bluebell walk is set to reopen on Monday with a new booking system and limited capacity to allow for social distancing.
The stunning Arlington Bluebell Walk at Bates Green Farm in Arlington, near Polegate, is an annual event which has attracted thousands of people each year since 1972.
Last year it was unable to open amid the national lockdown, but on Monday the Arlington Bluebell Walk will be welcoming people back for five weeks, every day from 10am until 5pm, with the last entry at 4pm.
While the farm walks remain closed, visitors who have booked online will be able to do the bluebell walk through Beatons Wood – a one way route with a separate entrance and exit.
The bluebells are out and organiser John McCutchan is thrilled it will be going ahead – and money raised will go to a selection of charities.
He said: “We have worked incredibly hard to ensure the site is safe and adheres to all Covid-19 restrictions.
“We have thought long and hard on the details of how we could open but am positive we have got it right for our visitors.
“I am delighted to be opening on April 12 and thrilled we can welcome the public back once again to the Bluebell Walk.
“The past year has been so turbulent, and Covid has affected every one of us in some way, but the future looks brighter as more people receive their jabs.
“It has to be a slimmed down version for this year to ensure the safety of our charity volunteers and our visitors.
“Nevertheless, we look forward to a successful period from Monday until May 19, and of course it is local charities which will benefit every day. And that is so important to me.”
A booking system has been introduced so 65 visitors will be allowed on the walk every hour from 10am until 4pm.
The information kiosk will be located at the farm entrance gate for charity volunteers to ensure that only those with pre-booked slots can enter.
Organisers will provide extra portable loos and ample hand sanitisers around the site.
Adult entrance fees have been reduced from £6 to £5, and there is a £2.50 entrance fee for children aged between six and 16.
About 20 charities will benefit from the money raised, including the Children with Cancer Fund, Canine Partners, Hailsham Lions Club, local rotary clubs, The JPK Project, Cancer Research UK and Memory Lane Eastbourne.
There will be no petting animals in the animal barn, but as it is large and well ventilated, Arlington Church is able to host its popular plant sale, with a one-way system in place.
This year Bates Green Garden will also be open to those who have booked to go on the Bluebell Walk, with a separate entrance fee of £7 for adults and £3.50 for children aged six to 16.
It is the first time in five years that the tranquil plantsman’s garden has been opened to the public, following restoration.
For more details, visit www.bluebellwalk.co.uk