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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.

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Sunday, 16 June 2019

A Walk on the Wealdside – A Sunday Stonegate Circular (Clockwise or Anti-clockwise)

CW2:  Stonegate Circular (standard or in reverse) T=2.19

Distance:  
Long:  18.3 Miles or 29.5 km for those more metrically minded (with option to reduce to about 15 Miles or 24 km if done in reverse)
Standard:  9.6 Miles or 15.5 km for those more metrically minded (with short cuts available – reducing walk to 6.5 Miles or 10 km)

Difficulty:         3 out of 10, I reckon a bit more for the long option

Transport:        Take the 9:55 AM Hastings train from London Charing Cross (10:04 London Bridge) to Stonegate, arriving 11:06. Return trains from Stonegate are at 23 minutes past the hour.

This fine walk through the undulating high Weald has not been done in some time and I think the long version has only been attempted once…..So, I propose to give it another outing with a twist….For those interested explorers, I would suggest, we undertake the long option in reverse.  The reason for going in reverse is three-fold: (i) there are more options to shorten the route in reverse (for example, in Burwash Weald, you could simply pick up the main walk instructions to Stonegate – making for a walk of about 15 miles/24 km); (ii) Burwash offers a good opportunity for afternoon refreshments before the last push into the Sahara-dry environs of Stonegate (and offers a longer or shorter route to better coordinate with the train times) and (iii) since the route seems to have only been done once by about 5 people, would be nice for the SWC to explore it again. 

Of course, for those interested in a more modest outing, the standard clockwise option is a lovely route through the undulating Weald passing by Bateman's (Rudyard Kipling's former home).  More information about the walk and the various routes can be found here. For those planning on the long version in reverse, also bring a map print-out or GPX file.

Lunch:  It is Father's Day, pubs will be packed, bring a picnic (virtually anywhere along the route is a fine spot – according to the walk intro page). This aside, there are two pubs in Burwash and one in Burwash Weald. Those doing the standard clockwise route, may be lucky enough to squeeze into one in Burwash…..For those going in reverse, the Wheel Inn in Burwash Weald is the first point of refreshment (not sure of status, as unable to reach them (even website) – but, according to trip advisor, someone had a nice meal there last week).

Tea: For the standard clockwise route, The Wheel Inn in Burwash Weald (see caveat above) and for those going in reverse, either of the pubs in Burwash.  There are no amenities at or anywhere near Stonegate Station, plan accordingly….

Enjoy the walk!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am interested in the main, shorter walk if anyone else is.

~Karen

Anonymous said...

https://www.facebook.com/wheelinnburwash/

Stargazer said...

5 alighted from the train to be met by one driver plus a dog, making for n=6 huddling in a shelter on the train platform during a w=heavyish-shower discussing the options for the day. This ended up being a girls day out with one opting for the traditional route and 5 donning their Dora the Explorer caps to tackle the extension route in reverse....and, boy, was it an adventure...

As it happens, this wild and wonderfully weird corner of the weald is not only seldom visited by the SWC -- but seemingly rarely visited AT ALL. We saw almost no one en route and most of the paths were hardly discernible with little or no obvious markings (in fact, in one place, we had to improvise, as the footpath seems to have vanished)..needless to say, this made for some challenging navigation at times....

But, we were amply rewarded for our efforts....Within the first hour, we spotted a group deer in Wadhurst Park...including a white one (a sign of things to come, perhaps). This was the first of about 7 (yes, seven) deer sightings along the route...Next came the gorgeous exotic curly-haired pigs (admittedly in a garden we had inadvertently wandered into) -- one of the party ventured a bit too close and received a good nip from one of the pigs....fortunately, the finger remained intact...

Back on piste (after climbing a gate), another small group or two of deer were spotted in the woods; then out on a hillside enjoying the view we came across a largish herd of longhorn cattle (with rather long horns) that we carefully skirted before safely enjoying our picnics in the next field also with a great view...

After lunch, a few more deer sightings; then, of course, the white squirrel (yes, white) -- just what you would expect to see climbing a tree in the weald....A bit further on, we were pulled off-piste watching a small group of what appeared to be muntjac deer in a clearing, including a very little one frolicking in the long grass....adorable...Regaining the route (after climbing one gate and one fence), we encountered a few more small groups of deer; then, in the last valley before starting the ascent to Burwash Weald, we came across a rather large herd of deer grazing in long grass, as they moved on away from us, a small fawn came into view who bounced and sprung in the most acrobatic manner to catch-up with the rest of the herd....a really magical moment....

We eventually did arrive in Burwash Weald about 17:15 where one stalwart opted to head straight to the station for the 18:23; whereas the other 4 stopped for various refreshing drinks in the garden of The Wheel pub. We set off at 17:45 and easily made the 19:23, enjoying a leisurely evening stroll in, by now, w=sunny-conditions....spotting some bunnies and a bonafide country fox along the way...

Quite a day out, I think all agreed they got their money's worth out of this SWC outing.....I would certainly recommend this twist on the Stonegate Circular (lovely views and vistas through out) and would happily do it again -- but it would probably be better to take the 8:55 train to give yourself more time to enjoy the immense wildlife encountered in this wild corner of the weald....