Bentley Wildfowl Formal Garden

Bentley Wildfowl Formal Garden

Magpie Geese at Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum

Bentley Wildfowl Magpie Geese

The Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum is an eclectic site featuring a wide range of attractions and things to do. The Wildfowl Reserve has around 2000 birds and 130 species from around the world. Some of the favourites are the upright Indian runner, the Wandering Whistling duck and the spectacular Spectacled Eider duck. In 2015 they started work on Bentley Nature - a new reserve which will complement the wildfowl area. In 1962 influenced by the Sussex artist Philip Rickman and a visit to the Wildfowl Trust at Slimbridge the Askew's (owners of Bentley) started a collection of wildfowl. A pond was dug in a nearby field which was poor agricultural land and the collection was started. The collection now has examples of 125 of the 147 species of wildfowl.

 

Bentley Motor Museum contains a unique collection of cars, motorcycles cycles and vehicles, which span over 100 years of road transport history. Most of the exhibits are privately owned and change regularly providing fresh interest for your visit. Glyndebourne Wood is an important habitat for robins and many other songbirds, woodpeckers, common pheasants, deer and grey squirrels. The surrounding fields are a good habitat for moles (who leave behind a lot of hills) and rabbits. In order to reach the woods one can walk or take the small trains from the miniature railway that links up the park to Glyndebourne Station. The quiet, peaceful gardens are quite secretively located behind the house and include well laid ponds and statues of sphinxes. Songbirds and moorhens live in the gardens. The house, with its extensions of Palladian rooms, is also open to the public. The Craft Barn has a range of crafts and exhibits including toymaking, porcelain and art restoration and quilting.

 

Bentley Miniature Railway is a 1 mile 7 ¼ inch ground level public passenger carrying miniature railway in the grounds of Bentley located between Uckfield and Lewes accessible from both the A22 and A26. The railway runs passenger trains powered by a variety of forms, steam, petrol, diesel and electric every weekend of the year and East Sussex school holidays. The railway is operated entirely by volunteers and funded by passenger fares. There are three stations on the railway: Glyndebourne Wood, Bentley Central and Bentley East. There are many different locomotives to be seen. The full-size Flying Scotsman was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley for the London & North Eastern Railway in 1923 and is the sole survivor of this class of pacifics which numbered 79 engines. The 7 1/4" gauge model Flying Scotsman was built in the 1930s and has been with the current owner for 40 years during which time it has run many hundreds of miles. BR Class 2, 2-6-0 78064 is a new addition to the locos seen frequently running on Bentley Miniature Railway. In real life 65 Class 2's were built with 78064 the last to be completed, in miniature, this loco is equally rare with only a handful of 7 1/4 Class 2's in existance.

 

Apollo (Tinkerbell). Built to the Tinkerbell design Apollo is an enclosed-cab locos and has proven it'self capable of hauling even the heaviest of trains in part due to it's weight (around half a ton in running form). Apollo can often be seen running on the busiest days. Basil (Bagnall). This loco is a model of a Bagnall 0-4-0 saddle tank. Its first appearance at Bentley was in 2004, and has since become one of the regular operators at the track. The loco was refurbished in 2012 and has been one of the most regular runners ever since. Black Swan (Thomas II). A powerful locomotive capable of hauling 6 fully loaded carriages, "Black Swan" entered regular service on Bentley Miniature Railway in 2007. This loco, built to a design based upon the popular "Thomas II" type, was built by Richards Engineering in 1997 with 0-4-2 wheel arrangement, outside cylinders, Walschearts valve gear and a large fully braked bogie tender. Desmond (Hunslet). This 0-4-0 loco is based on a Welsh slate quarry loco, and is of the same basic design as Jasmine and Elaine. This loco was a regular steamer at Bentley during the mid-1990's however spent some years idle due to it's owners failing health. Elaine (Hunslet). Elaine portrays a 1/3rd scale model of Hunslet-designed 0-4-0 saddle tank engines of the well- known 'Alice' or 'Port' class, so typical of those which operated in the welsh slate quarries. Elaine is built to the cab-less design making a very sleek, elegant design. Marry G (Romulus). This loco was first seen at Bentley in early 2013 and is a classic member of the Roger Marsh design Romulus family built in the same workshops as "Taurus" but only finished this year. During the year it was named Marry G (yes, the second R is deliberate - it's pronounced "Mary - G"). Scots Guardsman (Royal Scot). Number 6115 Scots Guardsman in real life is one of only two of the original 70 Royal Scot 4-6-0's still in existence. The first 50 of the original engines were built in 1927 by the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow in less than a year - the model which was completed in 2008 took nine years! All the original engines were rebuilt by Sir William Stanier commencing in 1943. Scots Guardsman was unique in being the only one to run with the characteristic smoke deflectors whilst still being an LMS engine for a few months in late 1947 before British Railways came into existence. It is painted in the LMS glossy black livery - a change from the more usual BR green. These are just a few of the locomotives to be seen.

 

The site is accessible to wheelchairs (except the woodland). They offer free electric wheelchairs for use on site. It is advisable to prebook. There are toilet facilities for the disabled. Unfortunately, owing to the zoo license, Assistance dogs are not allowed. Visitors can enjoy tea, fresh coffee, delicious cakes, ice creams and meals from a full home-made menu. Bentley Tearooms provide traditional food cooked and prepared on the premises.

 

Location : Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum, Harveys Lane, Near Halland, East Sussex BN8 5AF

Transport : Uckfield (National Rail) then bus (318) or taxi. Bus Routes : 318 and Regency Route 28 stop 0.5 miles away across the reserve.

Opening Times : Daily 10:00 to 17:00

Tickets : Adults £8.00;  Seniors $7.00;  Children £6.00.

Miniature Railway : £1.00 per passenger.

Tel. : 01825 840573