Thursday 12th June 2014
Netherfield to Rushlake Green
Decided not to put my faith in the bus and arranged a lift to Netherfield for a bright and reasonably early start for this the second walk on 1066 Harold’s Way, The Final Journey.
Seven Fields Farm provided a picture frame for photographs over towards the South Downs but today it was hazy.
It would be all downhill to Furnace Cottage and the site of an ironworks and it soon became apparent that I was following a green lane of sorts, at times lined by trees and occasionally a little below the surrounding fields. The 1893 Ordnance Survey confirmed that this ‘road’ led from Netherfield to the Forge, perhaps for the workforce or to transport charcoal but not the resultant ironwork.
It was good going with time for a chat to a couple at one of the pretty cottages before a co-incidental meeting with Bev Marks, Chairman of Battle Ramblers, out surveying a potential group walk for a couple of weeks’ time.
Next it was Sheila Mann on her quad bike checking on sheep and offering me a lift to the top of the hill – I politely declined – and off to Padgham Down with it’s duck pond, a couple of oldish houses and little else. Walking on these quiet lanes and paths with little hamlets and farms to discover, in the ups and downs of East Sussex, remote from bus and only the occasional car or van, on a perfect walking day gave me the encouragement that I had picked a good route for the Final Journey.
By the sound of the choir of pigs that I passed, they were all pleased to see me and rushed along the fence by the road. Pigs have been kept in the High Weald for a thousand years taken up for summer feed, to dens or denes in the woods and fed of the acorns from the Sussex Oak – I don’t think these pigs are that old though!
I passed the remains of Holy Trinity Priory founded 1413, parts of which are still standing before the final mile through the woods and meadows to Rushlake Green.
Keith was fixing netting to pens of grouse, 85000 birds bought in as day old chicks and creating a constant background chirrup – it would be quiet when they have all gone, flown the coop.
If it was not for walking and discovering new footpaths, I would never have explored this bit of ‘off the beaten track’ East Sussex, or relished the gem that is Rushlake Green. True to it’s name there is a large triangular green with five roads leading off to villages such as Three Cups Corner, Foul Mile and Bodle Street Green. On the western side is the Horse and Groom, open all day, and a pub to stand beside the Woodcock at Iden Green, The Lord Raglan at Rabbits Cross and The Queen’s Head at Sedlescombe.
The pint of Harvey’s went down a treat, sitting in the garden and the food was good too.