Just a 10 minute walk from Horsham’s buzzing centre, Chesworth farm is free to enter, and open all day. Chesworth is well loved by local residents and wildlife enthusiasts, and more closely resembles a vast, well managed common area than a town farm. 90 acres of footpaths & bridleways criss crossing meadows and ancient hedgerows bordering the River Arun – a real treat, being so accessible.
British White Cattle, making the most of the watery sunshine on a chilly winter’s morning. The British White breed is usually docile. Being polled (no horns), they are easily managed – though conversely, with our Soay Sheep, we find their horns make them easier to manage – it’s always Honey, our Soay with no horns, who gets up to the most mischief…
Like our Soay sheep, Chesworth’s British White Cows are long lived, fertile and maternal, reproducing well into their teens. Another similarity is that they are hardy beasts, and happy to out winter in most conditions. (Rare Breed Survival Trust)
Parking for Chesworth Farm is on surrounding roads (no car park). There are several entrances, with the main gate being sited at the end of Queensway, off Brighton Road (A281). The best time to take advantage of free road parking is after 4pm or at weekends, outside parking restriction hours.
Chesworth Farm is run by Horsham Council in partnership with the Friends of Chesworth Farm. Sussex Wildlife Trust also run groups and workshops here in non Covid times. Beautiful cattle, sheep (sometimes with Llama companions) and more recently horses are used to help ‘manage’ the land in the most natural way and increase the complexity of the natural habitats for a wider range of species. In summer, clouds of butterflies and skylarks can be seen above the meadows, and owls can be heard at dusk.
Chesworth has been farmed since 1806. But well before this the land had royal connections. Catherine Howard, the 5th wife of Henry VIII (beheaded for ‘treason’ on 13.02.42 at the Tower of London) was sent to live with her grandmother at Chesworth House on the death of her own mother, when she was around 10 years old.
The work carried out by the Friends of Chesworth, and the intentions behind it in terms of benefitting wildlife, is fascinating. Well worth a quick read before visiting.
British White Cattle
The modern day breed of cattle known as British Whites claim direct links with ancient indigenous wild white cattle from Whalley Abbey park, Lancashire, around 1553. The 1860 Cattle plague almost caused extinction, with only two remaining, but from these the herd was built up again. (British white cattle society).
There are various walking routes on the Farm’s land. Alternatively, you’ll enjoy walking through part of Chesworth if you take the 13m / 20k Horsham Riverside Walk