Arlington Bluebell Walk awarded VisitEngland 'Hidden Gem' accolade

John Hooper from Eastbourne_ArlingtonBluebellWalk

The Arlington Bluebell Walk has won a VisitEngland “Hidden Gem” Accolade, amidst a record-breaking year of work. The accolade comes as part of VisitEngland’s Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme.

James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland said of the winners: ” These attractions have succeeded in receiving an accolade either for their warm welcome, unique storytelling or high-quality food and drink; ensuring an all-round quality experience for visitors. Our accolades reflect the wide variety of attractions on offer in England and provide the perfect reason to visit and explore the country.”

John McCutchan, Farmer at Bates Green Farm near Hailsham, who created the walks and looks after the wood, is delighted to learn of the news.

He said, “The Bluebell Walk has been taking place for 43 years and we are always working hard each year to provide an even better experience than the last. To receive this accolade is recognition of our work and we couldn’t be happier.”

In other news, the winners of the Arlington Bluebell Walk’s 2015 photography competition have been announced and this year’s images are as high quality as ever, despite the late spring – and late blooming of the bluebells. There were five categories in the competition and it was a difficult choice for the judges.

The winners were: Robyn Daly, 12 from Ringmer in the Junior category; Ross Lawford from Bexhill, for ‘Close up of a plant seen on the bluebell walk’; Therona Fraser from Hailsham, who captured a view from one of the walks; John Hooper from Eastbourne for his ‘person or people at the bluebell walk’; and Colin Shearing, Seaford, for his picture of ‘Flora or fauna as seen on the walks’.

Images of the photography competition winners can be seen here –

It has been a record breaking year for The Arlington Bluebell Walk, where 17 charities have raised nearly £42, 000, bringing the grand total raised to over £800, 000 in today’s value, since it opened in 1972.

The walk also broke their own record, with over 3000 visitors passing through the gates on one warm May Bank Holiday Monday.

The Arlington Bluebell Walk, which takes place in three working farms, provided seven different walks in the 23-acre Bluebell wood, including the gravelled Blue Walk, which gave access to people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the scenery. Mobility scooters were supplied free of charge and over 350 visitors this year have taken advantage of this facility.


Media enquiries: Paula Seager at Natural PR, Tel: 01273 857242 or email:

About VisitEngland Accolades:

  • VisitEngland accolades are available to attractions that are part of the Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme and are allocated through a scoring system based on an annual assessment by VisitEngland. They include the Welcome accolade, Hidden Gem, Best Told Story, Quality Food & Drink and the Gold accolade for top-scoring attractions. Two rounds of accolades will be announced each year.
  • Recipients will receive a certificate and a logo to display on their website. 

About the Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme

  • The Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme is managed by VisitEngland and, through its network of regional assessors, boasts an incredible reputation for instigating, modifying and shaping change to the customer experience at visitor attractions across England.
  • Following successful trials in 1998 in the South West and then in the East of England, the Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme was officially taken centrally by the National Tourist Board in 2007.  The scheme encourages participants to make the Scheme work for them as a management tool.
  • Industry support has been consistently strong with participants eager to take on board the recommendations of their local assessor.
  • Any questions or queries regarding the scheme can be emailed to
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