RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Burton Mill Pond

Woods, waterfalls, warblers and western hemlocks make this wonderful walk of two-and-a-half miles (4kms).

Park by the old watermill at SU979180 but note this minor road is closed eastwards across the dam until end of June so approach from the west and the A285.

Burton and Chingford Ponds LNR are managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust and cover 56 hectares.

Even as you start you may hear the chatter of reed warblers singing among the reeds by the road.

Cross road south-west into Newpiece woods.

Edge of lake grow tall clumps of tufted sedge. Willow warblers sing here, and blackcap warblers everywhere around the walk. You should hear cuckoos till early June.

You can leave the straight hard track for a while on a left-hand diversionary loop following the dragonfly trails signs. More than 20 species of dragonfly live here.

Note the masses of holly flowers turning now to berries. This means the holly blue butterfly will be seen again in August with the second brood. There will also be a good crop of rowan for autumn thrushes.

Rejoining the hard track, you cross the Snipe Bog, now rather overgrown with birch. The bracken slopes to right have been replanted with chestnut, oak and hornbeam.

Soon you pass the 90-year-old remnants of Burton Park Estate boundary iron fence. Then arrive at seven enormous sweet chestnuts (subject of this week’s Nature Trail).

View ahead to Bignor Hill. At the last chestnut on right, turn sharp left down road with a house to your right and a tract of heath to your left. Ancient oaks, big poplars, line the route.

Note the next meadow on left which is covered with sheep’s sorrel.

Join Serpent and also Literary Trails ahead to cross the dam showing Chingford Pond to right. Tufted ducks, moorhens, coots, mallard, reed warblers, and even lesser spotted woodpeckers.

Soon sharp left onto Dragonfly Trail into the woods around the south shore of Burton Mill Pond. Cool, tall, straight, evergreens are Western Hemlock (uneven needles and small cones), Western Red Cedar (soft bark), Sitka Spruce (culindrical cones) and Douglas Firs (cones with three-bladed bracts).

Woodland path runs north but curves back south.

Coming out into open on a heath, look right for boardwalk across The Black Hole, a dangerous deep swamp with rare plants mainly tussock sedge.

Return from the boardwalk and follow the signs around the heath ahead which has masses of the very graceful grass Silver Hair-grass (Aira caryophyllea).

Return by road keeping left at all junctions to find the old Alvis, as did once the Morris, champing on that old bit of history when Elizabethans dammed this flow starting Britain’s iron and steel revolution that led to their own eventual construction.

Now the Morris really has gone for a Burton.