Category: Wealden and Eastbourne Walks(Page 1 of 2)
Wealden in East Sussex is a large and mostly rural district and provides many excellent walking opportunities. There are two main upland areas: the High Weald; and the eastern end of the South Downs. There are a number of small towns including Crowborough, Hailsham, Heathfield and Uckfield. Major landmarks include Beachy Head, the Seven Sisters and Cuckmere Haven, the Long Man of Wilmington, Ashdown Forest, and various high points along the South Downs. There are many historic villages and attractions including Alfriston, Hartfield, Herstmonceux Castle, Michelham Priory, Sheffield Park gardens, and Pevensey Castle. Long-distance footpaths include the South Downs Way; the Monarch’s Way; the Sussex Border Path; and the Wealdway.
An easy, generally level walk, passing through the Outer Bailey of Pevensey Castle, before crossing the Pevensey Haven.
The castle’s origins date to the beginning in the 4th century as one of the last and strongest of the Roman ‘Saxon Shore’ forts, two-thirds of whose towered walls still stand. It was the landing place of William the Conqueror’s army in 1066. During the century after the Conquest a full-scale Norman castle, with a great square keep and a powerful gatehouse, was built within one corner of the fort. In the 1250s the towered bailey wall was constructed, and soon put to the test during the great siege of 1264.
Passes medieval Michelham Priory with its water filled moat (though perhaps visit another day!)
Also passes Arlington Stadium which hosts banger racing and speedway which may disturb the peace somewhat every now and then! (Eastbourne Speedway)
Berwick Station is just a little south of the walk’s starting point
A varied walk with fine views towards the Downs. There are excellent bluebell woods along the way at Abbots Wood and the less well known Bramble Grove, and you also have the chance to visit (and pay to enter) the Arlington Bluebell Walk. Arlington Reservoir at the start and end, is a large nature reserve where you can view waterfowl and other wildlife. Most of the walk is through what was the vast dominion by Michelham Priory, which dates back to 1229 and is surrounded by England’s longest water-filled moat.
These varied circular walks take in Stone Farm Rocks, Weirwood Reservoir Nature Reserve and the steam trains of the Bluebell Railway, which runs for 11 miles (17.7 km). The railway operates between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, with intermediate stations at Horsted Keynes & Kingscote, allowing you to combine the walk with a trip on the railway. And of course, you’ll see bluebells along the way during the spring.
Weir Wood Reservoir was created in the mid-1950s by damming the River Medway. It is used for sailing and fishing, and known for its range of resident and migrant birds such as great crested grebes and herons.
Stone Farm Rocks are a series of sandstone crags, some as high as 8 metres (26 ft) high , and is owned by the British Mountaineering Council who run it for the benefit of climbers.
A walk of superb sea views and and rolling downland clifftops, with the initial section covering the high Downs on the edge of Eastbourne. It’s then westwards towards Beachy Head, 500 feet above the sea, and onwards to Belle Tout lighthouse high up on the clifftop.
Belle Tout was built in 1832 but decommissioned in 1902 when the new Beachy Head lighthouse was built at the base of the cliffs. During World War II, Belle Tout was damaged when Canadian troops used it as target practice. In 1999, due to continuing erosion threatening the future of the building the lighthouse was moved 17 metres (56 feet) back from the edge of the cliff.
From the lighthouse, it’s down to Birling Gap, a small settlement crumbling into the sea, but you should be able to visit the National Trust cafe as long as the sea has not made any further inroads!
From Birling Gap, it’s inland towards East Dean, where you can stop off at the picturesque Tiger Inn or the Hikers Rest Tea Room, situated on the traffic-free village green, where you can get a bus or walk back to the start.
pub and tea rooms in Alfriston, Seven Sisters Visitor Centre and Litlington.
riverside, quiet roads and downland walking with several stiles and short steep climbs
accessible by bus
A varied walk which takes in the historic downland village of Alfriston, the River Cuckmere, Friston Forest, the hidden flintstone village of West Dean, and the small attractive village of Litlington, where there is a choice of two good places to stop for refreshments – the Plough and Harrow pub and Litlington Tea Gardens (summer only).
Along the way, you’ll also visit the hill of High’n’Over, known for its White Horse (an impressive but relatively recent creation) carved into the hillside on the way up. During the 19th century, the horse was cut into the downs to the west of the village, replacing an earlier one known to have been present from some years earlier. From the top of the hill, there are fine views over the Cuckmere River, Friston Forest and the village of Litlington.
4-5 miles, 2 to 2-and-a-half hours, moderate walking
pubs and tea rooms in Alfriston, and the picturesque Cricketers in Berwick and Rose Cottage Inn in Alciston, just off the main trail
accessible by bus
This walk starts in Alfriston within the South Downs National Park where you can also visit the National Trust’s first property, acquired in 1896, the 14th century Alfriston Clergy House. Heading north, you reach the downland village of Berwick where the cottage style Cricketers pub makes a good stop as does a visit to the church for a look at the murals by Bloomsbury Group artists. There are fine views later in the walk over Alfriston and the spire of St Andrew’s Church, known as the ‘Cathedral of the Downs’.
This short walk through heath and woodland, begins at Friends Clump, one of Ashdown Forest’s iconic ‘clumps’. Clumps of Scots pines were first ordered to be planted here in 1825 by Elizabeth, Countess de la Warr, whose descendants owned the Forest until 1988. In 1973 The Friends of Ashdown Forest decided to commemorate the “Year of the Tree” by planting the Friends’ Clump, which is at the start of this walk. The Clumps are a prominent feature of the Ashdown Forest landscape and serve as useful markers for visitors.
The walk passes Nutley Windmill, a fine example of the oldest post mill design, known since the 12th century. The mill is believed to be about 300 years old, and is occassionally open to visitors. Continuing through trees and then on to open heath, the walk reaches the bottom of Millbrook Valley, once the site of a Saxon iron smelting furnace, before a steep ascent back to the start.
One longish but mostly gentle climb back to the ridge
This is walk 6 of the Exploring Ashdown Forest on Foot series of guides, with some fine views towards the North Downs. Starting from the Ashdown Forest Visitor Centre, this walk takes in all the best features of Ashdown Forest – wood, stream, heath and slope. In summer Broadstone Heath is home to characteristic breeding birds such as Dartford warbler, nightjar, stonechat and tree pipit, and deer are often to be seen here plus the odd adder or lizard.
Easy walking – field paths and country lanes, some stiles.
Both walks start from the centre of Fletching village and follow field paths and relatively quiet stretches of country roads through peaceful countryside.
Fletching is a quiet picturesque village tucked away off main roads. In 1264, Simon de Montfort stopped at Fletching for the Bishop of Worcester to bless the troops prior to the Battle of Lewes. The church, with its lofty spire, dates from the 12th Century and contains the tomb of the historian Edward Gibbon (Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire). The Griffin has a pub garden with wonderful views over the River Ouse valley and nearby Sheffield Park. The latter’s castellated back gateway is on the left as you enter the village at the end of the second walk (not an official public entrance).
The pub garden at The Griffin, Fletching
The Sussex Living walk is a walk along lanes and across fields around Fletching. The Argus is similar but visits the village of Newick along the way, with a picturesque village green (albeit dissected by the A272), and a choice of two pubs to break the walk.
A generally easy walk along country lanes and across fields with some stiles, passing close to Herstmonceux Castle. The moated castle is one of the earliest important brick buildings in the country, having been constructed in the mid fifteenth century by Sir Roger Fiennes. In 1946, it became the home of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, who stayed for 40 years. Now owned by the Queen’s University of Canada, the House and Gardens can be visited between April and October, whilst the Science Centre is open though much of the year.
Starting in the picturesque village of Boreham Street, a large part of this walk, including this section, follows the route of the 1066 Country Walk which runs between Pevensey and Rye. Walking across fields and along lanes, the castle is reached just before halfway round.