Monday 18th August
Three Castles has been fully walked and it is time to review and reflect on a few of the sections.
Monday was a day for being driven around Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House, stopping and re-walking, taking notes and photographs to improve the overall feel of this circular route that walks through the history and industry of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Somehow, the overall mileage had increased to 55 miles and with some of the paths proving to be just as demanding for tired legs as the first time round, it was an opportunity to look at a few route changes to make life a little easier and the route a little more pleasant to walk.
First up was Salehurst to the A229. The path through the orchard was poorly waymarked followed by an unproductive slog through trees and up a field. The new route was to the north, towards Higham House and Bourne Lane, and then east to the A229.
Second, the original route between Iden Green and Benenden avoided two of the key features of Benenden, the Church and the Green and by walking the splendid, tarmacked footpath between the two villages it brought me out by the church with the magnificent green stretching down towards The Bull. Job done.
Similarly, Kilndown to Scotney Castle actually skilfully avoided Scotney Castle which was not really the plan. Back to the original route which proved to be a lot more successful and led directly to the Scotney Castle tearooms to tick off the third castle of the title.
Finally, I was never that happy with the route between Stonegate Station and Burwash. The station was on a detour off the main path and that second, hidden hill on the climb up to the ridge was still as unenjoyable as the first time I walked it. There were no real views to compensate for the build-up of lactic acid and, in addition, the approach to Burwash avoided the church, with its smugglers graves, and the best views of the High Street walking down to the Rose and Crown and The Bear.
The new route still climbs as high but more gradually uphill from the River Rother valley. All the time there are wide ranging views to provide encouragement and an opportunity to pass Burwash Church and visit The Rose and Crown on the way down to the village car park by The Bear.
A first time in The Rose and Crown for a pint of Harvey’s, busy on a Monday night at 5pm! It is an altogether different pub to The Bear with has its garden and views and both have a character of their own.