by Aspect County

Mixed-use woodland development brings enterprise and opportunity to Flimwell

The vision of creating a pioneering, mixed-use sustainable woodland development in East Sussex, is becoming reality as the site edges closer to completion. With the opening of a new dining concept, overnight accommodation, a day spa and extensive woodlands open to the public, Flimwell Park offers the local and surrounding communities a place to visit, eat, live, work and learn.

Birchwood restaurant, headed up by Michelin Green Star chef, Will Devlin, is just one of the many businesses that occupies the sustainably sourced timber-built workspaces. Other businesses include Wild Iris Spa, The Potters Studio, Sugar and Shutter Photography, cyber security company Lepide, co-working space The Hive, sustainable clothing and accessory brand Swole Panda and Quench Cycles. 

Flimwell Park hosts ten subterranean lodges, available as short term let accommodation. Sleeping up to two people, the lodges offer a comfortable stay for those looking to make the most of their time in the area. An ideal base from which to explore the East Sussex and West Kent countryside, whether it be on bike or foot, with a direct trail linking the woodlands of Flimwell Park to neighbouring Bedgebury Pinetum.

The site will be fully completed in spring 2022 when three highly ecologically advanced private homes will be ready to be occupied. Each home will be built with solar panels, renewable energy systems, rainwater harvesting and air source heat pumps with underfloor heating throughout. The houses will provide a unique opportunity to live in the heart of the beautiful rural setting amongst a vibrant and evolving woodland development.

Flimwell Park has been a ten-year collaboration between developers Regalmain Ltd and architect, Steve Johnson of The Architecture Ensemble. Along with a core team of foresters, ecologists and permaculturists to re-purpose the land formerly a disused bird park, the site has been transformed into an inspiring new model for a sustainable woodland community that blends living, working, recreation and learning.

Environmental, social, and economic sustainability has been at the heart of the project, with all timber sustainably sourced and weathering steel used for the window bay cladding. Onsite solar power is generated from 300 photo-voltaic cells located on building roofs, cladding, and canopies, with a grid of solar thermal units heating water directly from the sun. The car park SUDS system is made from local stone, geo-textile filtering layers and recycled plastic open-grid surfacing making up the Truck Pav system. Six Tesla charging points have been installed, with two more charging points available for other electric car brands.

The Focal Building, the largest building on site, will be the epicentre of learning and teaching opportunities with The Bartlett UCL, illustrating how architectural and woodland development can co-exist in an integrated and symbiotic relationship. This space will also host courses in conjunction with schools and colleges from Kent and East Sussex, as well as other educational institutions.

Director of Regalmain Ltd, Chris O’Callaghan commented; The vision was to bring together the local community and to also provide a place for businesses to collaborate and work. With the high standard of sustainable architecture and the managed woodland, Flimwell Park has created an environment that harnesses opportunities for woodland enterprise, recreation, conservation and education whilst harmonising all this with nature.”