Our History

We are surrounded by The Ashdown Forest, situated in the High Weald area of Outstanding Nature Beauty. 

A view across The Ashdown Forest.

On our doorstep are fabulous walks through this lowland heathland which is also the famous landscape synonymous with Winnie-the-Pooh.

The Ashdown Forest was originally enclosed for the purpose of hunting deer and game. Around 1589 (during the reign of Elizabeth l) a sweet chestnut sapling took root here. This sapling can still be seen outside the café over 400 years later and is the 125th largest in Sussex.

The Nursery was created in 1967 from a neglected farm site, and specialised in mail order pelargoniums, impatiens and fuchsias. When the greenhouse was constructed it was the largest single span glass structure of its type in the country.

The greenhouse at Babylon.

The previous owners took over ‘The Ashdown Forest Garden Centre’ in 2002 and began work on the dilapidated Dutch Barn which subsequently opened in February 2004 as a café. The garden centre focused on cultivating the majority of their plants onsite & created a strong reputation recognised by groups like the RHS.

We acquired the Ashdown Forest Garden Centre in June 2023, seizing the opportunity to create a truly exceptional destination amidst the breathtaking surroundings of the Ashdown Forest. 

Our goal is to ensure a memorable experience where you can indulge in delicious food, sip on a cup of coffee (and perhaps enjoy a slice of cake?), while exploring our selection of plants, equipment, and garden inspiration. 

We want to create a welcoming place for the local community. A destination to meet up with friends and a source of creativity for your outdoor space. We hope that the local community and visitors from further afield will embrace this new phase for the garden centre and we look forward to welcoming you to Babylon The Eco Centre.