Setting out from Robertsbridge on the 30th of October 1902, Hilaire Belloc wrote:
‘There was still wind in the sky, and clouds shaped to it, and driving it in the cold morning as we went up the lane by Scalands Gate and between the leafless woods and still the road rose until we came to Brightling’.
Scalands Farm still stands and Belloc would have walked past a white clapperboard Victorian pub and hotel on his way to Brightling in the company of Grizzlebeard.
This was and is The Ostrich, built in 1851 to mark the end of the railway line.
Belloc’s dusty lane is now lined with houses and cars disturb the peace but if you take time to enter The Ostrich you will walk into a pub that has that rare charm of taking you back to a different age.
It stands next to the railway level crossing in Robertsbridge and is an amazing find, one worth seeking out on Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House – either as a stop on the way to Bodiam Castle or for a final drink before catching the Southeastern train south to Hastings or north to all stations to London Charing Cross. There is a car park for those who want to use the Ostrich as a base for walking Three Castles in Kent and East Sussex.
There is no one style that dominates the eclectic mix of decoration in this two/three roomed pub with rooms, from the grand Victorian fireplace, that would provide a perfect backdrop to any house party, to the wide array of pictures that cover the walls. The garden and patio area are to be seen to be believed with banana plants, tree ferns and vines bearing grapes that create a sub-tropical feel to the end of a long walk.
Harvey’s is a constant usually accompanied by a special, both hand pumped.
Home cooked food is good food cooked well for customers who appreciate ‘proper food’.
Both walker friendly and dog friendly, it was recognised by all the History Walkers as something unique and one to return to on future walks.
Thank you Ostrich
Visited August and September 2014.
Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House is due to be published in April 2015 by Bretwalda Books