List of walks in date order, with links
Date Walk Distance
01 August 2009 Bexhill - Battle and Battle - Robertsbridge 24.9 km (15.6 miles)
11 July 2009 Friston - Jevington - Pevensey 20.3 km (12.7 miles)
05 July 2009 Battle to Rye 24.9 km (15.6 miles)
06 June 2009 Pevensey to Battle 28.3 km (17.7 miles)

06 June 2009: 1066 Country Walk, Pevensey to Battle

28.3 km (17.7 miles)

Pevensey Castle
Pevensey Castle

I've walked from Dover to Winchester by the North Downs Way and St Swithun's Way, and most of the way back from Winchester to Dover by the South Downs Way and the Saxon Shore Way. The missing bit to complete the circuit of 'South of London' is the 1066 Country Walk, joining the South Downs Way at Jevington to the Saxon Shore Way at Rye. In this form, the 1066 Country Walk is a link in the E9 European Coastal Path (Sentier Européen du Littoral). So today's walk, from Pevensey and Westham Station to Battle Station is the start of a project to complete the circuit from Dover to Winchester and back.

Pevensey Levels
Pevensey Levels

I started from Pevensey and Westham Station (arriving by train), and walked to the official start of the path, in the car park outside Pevensey Castle, by going through Westham (intermittently picturesque) and then taking the public footpath that crosses the castle grounds. From there it was just a matter of following the 1066 Country Walk as shown on OS 1:25 000 map 124 (Hastings & Bexhill), stopping for a late lunchtime pint in the Bull's Head in Boreham Street.

I arrived in Battle with 45 minutes to spare for the train back to London, and so had time for a pint in the Chequers, which is convenient for the Station, and sells Harveys.

Dacre monument
Dacre monument

This section of the 1066 Country Way is a really good walk, at first across the Pevensey Levels, and then onto the High Weald. There are interesting paces along the way - notably Herstmonceux (it's worth calling into the church to see the Dacre monument) and Battle itself. There is are some particularly good views from Tent Hill (where William the Conqueror is reputed to have camped on the night before the Battle of Hastings). As you approach Tent Hill, looks as if it should be the highest point on the walk. However, it isn’t - the highest point is in Steven's Crouch, a little further on. Plenty of wild flowers - I found a small wood full of Common Spotted Orchids, and a solitary Butterfly Orchid.

The weather was ideal for walking - high thin cloud, hot with a strong breeze.

View from Tent Hill
View from Tent Hill

I've decided to add a page on the 1066 Country Walk to this site, as the information about the 1066 Country Walk available on the web is poor and I didn't find the only available guide, by Brian Smalls (Challenge Publications) entirely helpful. The page is to be published when I've completed the rest of the Walk.

I've already given directions for the Hastings Link of the 1066 Country Walk, in 'A walk to visit North's Seat', one of a series of walks I have devised to visit the Marilyns and HuMPs lying to the south of London. The route follows the 1066 Country Walk, as marked on the OS 1:25 000 maps, but with a very short diversion to visit the summit of North's Seat itself (a HuMP).

Ragged Robin


05 July 2009: 1066 Country Walk, Battle to Rye

24.9 km (15.6 miles)

Today's walk was the next stage of my project to complete a circuit from Dover to Winchester and back, by walking the 1066 Country Walk section of the E9 European Coastal Path, joining the South Downs Way at Jevington to the Saxon Shore Way at Rye.

near Doleham
View near Doleham

In actual fact, walking the section from Pevensey to Battle on 06 June completed my circuit, as I've previously walked Jevington to Pevensey and the Hastings Link of the 1066 Country Walk. However, in neither case could I say that I had follows the route of the E9 European Coastal Path - hence today's walk. The next stage is to re-walk Jevington to Pevensey, but following the E9 route as I understand it (the OS 1:25 000 map offers four distict options for the 1066 Country Walk extension to Jevington).

Pett Level
Pett Level from above Wickham Cliff

Train to Battle. The walk from Battle to just beyond Westfield (to Pattleton's Farm to be exact) is pleasant, but nothing exceptional. The remainder of the walk to Rye has some really fine sections. The high point is walking over the hill beyond Icklesham (Hog Hill?), past a nicely restored windmill, to suddenly see the sea. Winchelsea is interesting (an early medieval new town built on a grid system), and Rye is one of my favourite places to end a walk.

Queens Head
Queens Head in Icklesham

I took my lunchtime pint in the Queens Head in Icklesham. It is right on the route, but easy to walk past without spotting, being set back from the lane. The inn sign shows a head of the late Queen Mother (in painted tiles, made in 1995). There is a superb view from the garden, and it serves a good range of beers. I also made a short detour to look at All Saints Church in Icklesham, which was open, and worth the visit.

River Brede
River Brede from trig point outside Winchelsea

I was a little short of time in Rye, with only 25 minutes to spare before my train, so I had a rather rushed pint in the Cinque Ports Arms, conveniently close to the station. Good pint of Shepherd Neame Master Brew, the pub something of an old fashioned local.

Lesser Burdock


11 July 2009: 1066 Country Walk, Friston - Jevington - Pevensey

20.3 km (12.7 miles)

1066 South Downs Link waymark

Today's walk was another stage of the 1066 Country Walk section of the E9 European Coastal Path, this time following the 1066 South Downs Link from Jevington to Pevensey. To create a reasonable day's walk I started from Friston Pond (train to Eastbourne, then the No 12 bus).

I have previously walked the 1066 South Downs Link, from Pevensey to Jevington, then to Friston (by a different route than today's) and Exceat, walking over some of the Seven Sisters (a long walk). But today I wanted to try the alternative through Hankham, rather than through Stone Cross. And I wanted to take some photographs (I particularly wanted a Weald Way waymark for the paths page of this site).

The day started unfortunately. I had followed the footpath across the fields adjoining Friston Place, and caught up with couple of walkers as we crossed the roadway that runs just north of Friston Place. We were exchanging a few words about our plans for the day, when a cyclist came flying down the hill, skidded and came off just ten metres from where we were talking. We went to help, and found the cyclist conscious, but badly cut, with a damaged hand and possible damage to knees and shoulder. We called an ambulance, and it was the only time I've ever needed to use a foil insulating blanket in earnest, as the cyclist began to get cold lying on the ground waiting for the ambulance. Once opened, these blankets won't go neatly back in the bag - so I need to get another.

Jevington (behind trees), with downs beyond

Once the ambulance had gone, I set off up over Friston Hill and Snap Hill, then turned off along Long Brow, following the bridleway to Jevington. However, rather than walking directly into Jevington, I diverted northwards at the edge of Friston Forest, crossed the South Downs Way half a kilometre or so west of Jevington, then joined the Weald Way at Holt Bottom, to enter Jevington at its north end. With hindsight, the direct route into Jevington would have been a better, though shorter, option.

In Jevington I had a pint of Harveys and a cheese and pickle sandwich in the Eight Bells (which I was pleased to find unchanged, despite having acquired a flash website that made me fear it had gone gastro).

Church window
Window in tower of Jevington church

From the Eight Bells, I walked through the churchyard (interesting swing gate with a central pivot) and was amused to see it boasted an "E II R Golden Jubilee Tap", installed in 2002.

The 1066 South Downs Link starts in Jevington by following Willingdon Lane, a short spur off the main road through the village. At the end of the lane there is a choice of three directions. The footpath that the 1066 South Downs Link follows is not immediately clear - from the gate it strikes up hill, diagonally to your left. Halfway up the down, the 1066 South Downs Link briefly joins and then leaves the Weald Way (the waymarked Weald Way does not follow the route shown on the OS 1:25 000 map).

View over Eastbourne from Combe Hill

From the top of Combe Hill, the route drops down into Lower Willingdon. As in the case of the Weald Way, the waymarked route doesn't follow the route shown on the OS 1:25 000 map - it actually takes the loop above the disused chalk pit, which gives better views.

For here on, the only reason to walk the 1066 South Downs Link is to complete the link. There is little of inherent interest. One of my reasons for re-walking the link was to try the option through Hankham, to join the main 1066 Country Walk at Bridge Farm. This route passes through Sharnfold Farm, whose owners have a fondness for small laminated warning notices, including one saying "Hedgerow fruit is still fruit and should you choose to pick from the hedgerows then we expect you to pay at the farm shop".

Combe Hill
View back to Combe Hill

Between the B2104 and Hankham there is a large field sown with cereal, which was getting on for knee-high. Regrettably, the farmer had neglected to reinstate the path, and there were no intermediate guide posts, so I had to wade across the field following my best guess as to the route. When I reached the other side of the field, I found I was about 50 metres in error. Clearly, either this is not a popular path, or the farmer’s neglect has deterred other walkers.

From Hankham the route follows a lane to Bridge Farm, from where the only realistic option is to follow the main 1066 Country Way back the Pevensey. And from there I walked to Pevensey and Westham station for the train home.

Signpost at junction of 1066 South Downs Link and 1066 Country Walk

On balance, I think I'd recommend taking the alternative route through Stone Cross and Westham - it is shorter, and avoids duplicating a section of the main route.

The weather was misty, grey and occasionally drizzly, with low cloud obscuring the tops of some of the higher hills.

Fringed Water-Lily


01 August 2009: 1066 Country Walk, Bexhill - Battle and Battle - Robertsbridge

24.9 km (15.6 miles)

1066 Bexhill Walk waymark

Today I completed my exploration of the 1066 Country Walk, deferred from last Saturday. I just had the Bexhill to Battle link path to complete, but as that wasn't in itself long enough to give a day's walking, I decided to extend my walk to Robertsbridge. I started by taking the train to Bexhill.

I wasn't expecting much from the 1066 Bexhill Walk, but it proved to be a lovely walk, particularly where it crossed the valley of Combe Haven and skirted the edge of Fore Wood (an RSPB Nature Reserve).

Wheat field
Wheat field, approaching Combe Haven

Combe Haven is low lying valley with several branches, a miniature level, that must once have been an inlet from the sea. Oddly, someone has made a systematic effort to remove all the 1066 Bexhill Walk waymarks approaching the Haven. The finger posts in the valley itself bore the faded remains of cryptic comments in thick felt-tip pen such as 'You are now standing on link road 10 metre high' and 'And now a theme park. Crowhurst Parish Council wake up! Defend the valley'.

Combe Haven
Cows blocking bridge at Combe Haven

Towards Crowhurst I found a notice pinned to a fence post inviting people to join 'S.O.S Combe Haven'. A search of the web suggests that this all refers to a proposed Bexhill-Hastings Link Road. The Hastings Alliance has been formed to oppose the construction of the link road. I wish them luck - a road through the valley would be horribly destructive.

The valley is full of wildlife and flowers. As I walked along one ditch, there were a regular series of plops as the frogs hopped off the bank and back into the safety of the water. Crossing one drainage channel, the end of the bridge was blocked by a group of adolescent cows, who politely stepped back when I crossed.

Frog, Combe Haven

Crowhurst churchyard had a fine ancient hollow yew tree, bearing very bright red seed cones. The church, St George, was rebuilt in the 19th century, apart from the tower, which was built in the 15th century. Confusingly, there are two Crowhursts, both with churches dedicated to St George. The other is in Surrey, and it is that Crowhurst that boasts the 4000 year old yew with a door into its hollow centre.

Strangely, I saw no birds in the Fore Wood RSPB Nature Reserve, but the path had a more than usually diverse set of plants growing alongside it.

I stopped to eat my sandwiches just outside Battle, where the 1066 Bexhill Walk joins the main 1066 Country Walk. As I ate, the wind got up and the weather started to change. I got to Battle in the dry, but it started to rain heavily whist I was having a pint in the Abbey Hotel (Shepherd Neame). It was waterproofs for the rest of the day - I think for the first time this year.

Crowhurst churchyard
Yew tree, Crowhurst churchyard

I'd chosen a route from Battle to Robertsbridge that kept roughly a kilometre to the east of the A2100 / A21. All went well as far as the point where I crossed the River Line. From there I wanted to follow a footpath almost due north to reach the A21 at Vinehall Farm. Unfortunately, the residents of a large property, with barn conversions (unnamed on the map) had blocked the path, requiring a diversion down their driveway, into the next field and then through a gap in an un-maintained field boundary to rejoin the path. The diversion seems to be recognised by the residents, as one of them gave me gesticulated directions from her lounge window.

At Vinehall Farm I had a short and unpleasant section of the A21 to walk, from which I wanted to take a path along an old lane, northwards into Barne's Wood, part of Vinehall Forest. The start of the path was difficult to find, being overgrown and unmarked (though I suspect that buried in the undergrowth there would have been a ground level concrete marker of the type that is common in the area). The lane itself was generally wide and clear (though boggy in places, and little used). Once into the wood I found a solitary, fairly new, waymark for the footpath, which the map shows as following close to the western edge of the wood, emerging to join a minor road near Poppinghole Farm.

Redundant stile
Redundant stile, north of Battle

Unfortunately, either I missed the next waymark, or more likely it didn't exist, and I ended up following round the perimeter of the wood, to emerge on the road a good kilometre further east than I had intended. I knew I had missed my way, but couldn't be bothered to get out my GPS to establish my correct position, and was anyway enjoying the walk along a good forest road.

View near Vinhall Farm
View back, just before reaching Vinhall Farm and the A21

Having gained the road at last, I resumed my planned route, but decided against an intended detour to see what the pub at John's Cross was like. From the road (Poppinghole Lane) I followed paths to Salehurst Park Farm (where I was pleased to find a hop garden), then Redlands and Fair Lane, to cross the A21 by a footbridge into Robertsbridge.

hop Garden
Hop Garden, Salehurst Park Farm

I had planned a pint in the Seven Stars in Robertsbridge, but as my various detours had made me late and I didn't want to miss the next train, I settled for a pint of Harveys in the Ostrich, a pub dressed up as an Edwardian parlour, but conveniently close to the station. And then I took the train home.

This project is now complete.