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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Saturday walk - Robertsbridge to Battle - the best wood anemone walk in the world

Length: 17.2km (10.7 miles): see below for ideas on extending the walk.
Toughness: 7 out of 10 T=2.20

9.15 train from Charing Cross (9.18 Waterloo East, 9.24 London Bridge) to Robertsbridge, arriving 10.34.

Buy a day return to Battle.

The walk directions are option b) of the Robertsbridge Circular walk: you need pages 7 and 9-14. You can also download a GPX file (again, you want option b) or print off a map (the route marked in pink).

What is a wood anemone, do I hear you say? Do this walk and find out. By the end of it you will be seeing them in your dreams. This pretty little woodland flower is at its best when it is reasonably warm and their stars open up: if it is cold they close into a bell shape - still pretty but not so visually spectacular. They are only found in ancient woodland and this walk just happens to pass through such woods from start to finish.

If you are blind to floral delights, fear not, as this is a perfectly pleasant Wealden walk, with pasture and views as well as woods, and enough hills to justify a chocolate cake or two at the end. Battle is a lovely historic place to finish, and if you are a fast walker you could even fit in a visit to Battle Abbey, site of the Battle of Hastings (1066 and all that), which closes at 6pm. (I would say two hours minimum is needed to do it justice, however).

There are two possibilities for lunch. 3.7 miles brings you to The Cross Inn in Staplecross, which seems to have more traditional pub fare, while the Queens Head in Sedlescombe is 6.9 miles in and (from its website) looks to be more gastro. The latter seems to serve lunch till 4pm, so there is no rush to get to it, but it is worth noting, if anyone cares about such things, that the most spectacular wood anemone wood is usually Killingan Wood just before Sedlescombe: it is quite nice to have time to wander around this without nudges from your stomach juices.

For tea the Queens Head is an option if you lunched in The Cross Inn, but note that it is shut 4pm to 6pm. Otherwise, Battle has various nice cafes, though they have a tendency to close at 5pm-ish: pubs are available after these hours.

There is no formal way to extend the walk, but a map-led option might be to strike westwards from Sedlescombe and join the Battle Circular route (see map) just south of Netherfield. A much shorter post-tea stroll would be to take the bridleway that leads away to the right from Battle Abbey gates which takes you out onto a piece of hillside that is in fact a continuation of the official Battle of Hastings site (English at the top of the hill, Normans at the bottom), only free to visit unlike the bit in the abbey site. However, it is an out and back walk (down the hill and back up again) as the path otherwise just leads out onto a main road.

Trains back from Battle (allow 15 minutes to get to the station from the town centre just to be on the safe side: it is a bit further than you think) are at 07 and 37 past until 19.07 and then at 07 past until 22.07.


1 comment:

Walker said...

It was a bright spring day with lots of sunshine. Well, somewhere it was. On this walk there was a lot of cold grey murk which eventually broke up to w=white-sky-sunny-intervals-in-the-afternoon, by which time it was almost warm. So not a bad day in the end.

It was warm enough for the wood anemones to open up, and there were certainly enough of them to satisfy any enthusiasm. There must be more of them on this walk than on all other SWC walks put together. Killingan Wood, the star attraction (if you will forgive the pun) certainly did not disappoint, with acres of the little blighters, plus a definite blue fuzz of bluebell shoots that augurs well for next week. Nuthatch song filled the air there, and if anyone noticed there was also an abundance of hornbeam, covered in golden catkins and fresh green leaf, throughout this walk. It is a tree only really found in the south east in this country, so it was interesting to see such a concentration of it.

N=24 of us set off on this walk, including some newbies, who we hope enjoyed their day. Talk of early lunches was soon scotched and the Queen’s Head was set as our lunchtime target, which we reached about 1.30. They were very friendly and set aside a whole room for us.

After lunch the majority seemed happy to stick to the standard walk, with the promise of tea in Battle, which I hope was fulfilled. I know at least one got there early enough to visit Battle Abbey and the 1066 battle site. Five of us, in contrast, set off to do an extended route to a vineyard, passing through another immense wood of anemones. The vineyard turning out to be closed or not open to the public, we headed south to hook up with the normal walk route and enjoy a well-timed burst of sun as we descended through oilseed rape fields in near full flower, before the final climb to Battle. There we refuelled in the cosy Abbey Hotel, learned that a horse had won the Grand National and that its owner was thrilled, and then got the 7.07 train home, fortified by traditional refreshments of the grape variety.