Where are all these places?
The Recreation Ground lies at the centre of the village on The Clappers - the stretch of road between the High Street and Northbridge Street. It provides a large open space for games and general recreation and houses the village football pitch. It is also used for other occasional events and celebrations, including the annual bonfire and fireworks display in November organised by the Robertsbridge Bonfire Society.
There is an enclosed playground with modern play equipment for younger children and an adjacent open area with several items of equipment suitable for older children. A small car park houses the pavilion which provides changing facilities for sports clubs, and public conveniences which are open daily.
Whilst there are no public footpaths across the Recreation Ground, there is access to the adjacent Pocket Park and the public footpath that runs between the two, giving access to the wider footpath network. The enclosed play area is subject to the district-wide Dog Exclusion Order, however the rest of the Recreation Ground is only subject to a Dogs on Leads order, allowing dog-walkers to access the Pocket Park and footpaths.
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Robertsbridge Pocket Park lies to the north of the recreation ground beyond the disused railway embankment. Within its 2.25 acres the site contains a pond of ecological interest with flag iris and water-forget-me-not, dense areas of blackthorn scrub which are covered in blossom in spring and in autumn are laden with sloe berries, and a mosaic of grassland and riverbank habitats. There are also a number of mature , broad-leaved trees including ash, oak, maple and hazel.
The park is owned by the Council except for the old Mill owner’s garden area alongside the river which was leased from SCATS in 1995. In this part it is possible to find the remains of an old footbridge over the river and old fruit trees remain from the former garden. Practical conservation management, including coppicing hazel trees, is carried out by members of the British Trust for Conservation with help from local volunteers.
The entrance to the park is via footpaths under the disused railway line. Once inside there are a number of informal paths kept open by periodic cutting of the vegetation which also helps to provide a range of habitats for birds, insects and mammals. Ducks and moorhens can be seen on the river, and occasionally kingfishers. Other species include field grasshoppers, dark bushcricket, dragonflies, speckled wood butterfly and common lizard.
You are welcome to visit the park at any time but please respect the plants and animals that live there.
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This area of approximately 2 acres lies along Station Road and was purchased by the Parish Council in 1998. A number of covenants were imposed on the sale by the previous owners to ensure that the land remains as public open space.
Some years ago, willow trees were planted in the area by Grey-Nicolls to be harvested for cricket bat manufacture.
In 2003 some of the area was taken up with a flood embankment as part of the village flood defences (Robertsbridge Flood Alleviation Scheme) but since completion the grass has taken well and the area restored to its role as a valuable green area for the use of the village.
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This area of land (approximately 10 acres) was formerly part of the Stenning's Woodyard which, before its closure in 1986, occupied this site and the site across Bishop's Lane which is now Mill Rise. When development permission was sought the land was offered to Rother District Council as a public open space. In 1995, the Parish Council acquired the land from Rother DC on a very long lease and is now responsible for its maintenance.
A number of mature trees were already growing around the edge of the site and before the developers gave up the site a certain amount of tree planting was done; more have been planted since by the parish council. Over the last few years, the grassy areas have developed into a natural wild flower meadow. Since the 2nd WW Britain has lost over 95% of its wild flower meadows, partly through intensive farming methods, partly through development and also partly by over-picking of the flowers. The parish council decided to develop this area to encourage the wild flower meadow. A small area at the lower end of the field is kept cut short for informal children's play and rustic climbing-log type play equipment has been installed but the bulk is kept as meadow.
These meadows require management, mainly by cutting only after the flowers have seeded and removing the hay and of course, not using any weed killer. Many species of plant have emerged and apart from the obvious ox-eye daisies, in the spring and summer you can find bird's-foot trefoil, stitchwort, yarrow, mallow, ragged robin, meadow sweet and many more including, the occasional common orchid. Allowing the grass to grow during spring and early summer also provides a good habitat for moths, butterflies and other insects and for mice and shrews which in turn are an important source of food for owls and other predators.
As the meadow develops it will attract more and more flower species and perhaps even larks or other ground nesting birds which require undisturbed conditions during the nesting season. There has been a dramatic decline in the population of these birds during the last decade or so. Many species of bird can already be seen in and around the meadow and during the summer months, house martins will be seen skimming the tops of the long grass and scooping up insects to feed their young.
There is an official public footpath running diagonally through the field from NE to SW and paths are cut around the edges of the meadows. There is also a 'permissive path' in the SE corner which links the Glottenham public footpaths and which is there by agreement of the Darvell community. The footbridges were installed by volunteers from the village.
You can help this area develop, by keeping to the paths and leaving the meadows undisturbed. Remember, the flowers need to be left to seed to provide future plants and food for wildlife. We also have volunteer work days to keep the meadow in top condition; if you would like to be involved please contact the Clerk for details. Thank you, enjoy your meadow.
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The wood occupies 12 acres of land on the northern edge of the village. The raising of the money for its purchase and planting was organised by the Robertsbridge Millennium Committee by public subscription and grants from Parish Council, District Council and other sources. It is part of an initiative called ‘Woods on your doorstep’ by the Woodland Trust and ownership and maintenance is now vested in them..
Approximately 10,000 trees were planted in the area and planting started on 14th February 1999 when more than 150 village residents, young and old, braved a cold, damp day to help with the planting.
The wood is open at all times.
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Footpaths are the responsibility of East Sussex County Council but the parish carries out small repairs and clearing operations. We have a very active Footpath Volunteer Group in the village who work hard to help keep our paths accessible; if you would like to help, occasionally or on a regular basis, please contact the Clerk for details. If you find a problem with a path either report it to the Clerk or directly to the responsible Rights of Way Officer at ESCC - currently this is Matthew Harper, Tel: 01273 482324 e-mail: Matthew Harper. Please give details of the location of the path or, better still, use the official path number - copies of the Definitive Footpath maps for the area are held at the Council Office and can be inspected there. Or visit the ESCC website and view the online map.
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The Fouling of Land by Dogs (Rother District Council) Order 2007 makes it an offence not to clear up after your dog on any public area in the parish.
Please be a responsible dog owner - dog waste bins are provided at several points in the village.