- Total Distance: 13.95 miles
- Time: 5½ hours
- Maps: OS Explorer 136
The secrecy and spies of Scotney Castle intrigue but only divert from the job of making money for later in the 17th century, the iron furnaces between Lamberhurst and Burwash were being stoked for the production of cannon, grave slabs and the railings for St Paul’s, London.
Wadhurst, long identified as standing on a prehistoric ridgeway, once had 36 ironworks within six miles and 24 local families were owners and operators of the furnaces and forges.
The smoke and noise have long gone and there is little evidence left of such industry on the way to Burwash and Batemans, along the River Rother and its tributaries.
Once the iron had gone a new industry followed, fashionable at the time but still criminal in its activities and their mark has been left in the churchyard at Burwash – look for the ‘Skull and Crossbones’ marked on the graves of the smugglers.
The walk to Lamberhurst is a gentle stroll through parkland, meadow and the ubiquitous golf course before following the River Teise to the first of four climbs, 252ft, 485ft, Wadhurst 488ft and Burwash at 300ft
There are stiles and gates to negotiate along a variety of good paths and tracks and a minimum of walking on lanes and roads. The Old Vine Inn, at Cousley Wood, provides a refreshment stop after three miles during opening hours.
There is a gradual undulating descent from the sandstone ridge at Wadhurst into the valley of the River Rother to Stonegate Station. However, some of the ascents are steepish and there are stiles to negotiate. There are country lanes to walk along but these are generally very quiet with little traffic and provide a respite to the vagaries of the grassland.
From Stonegate Station, there is an increasing climb up to Burwash (300 ft), with good views over the Rother Valley, to enter Burwash from the top of village, close to the church.
The short descent from Burwash to Bateman’s has views across the valley to Brightling Needle at 614ft, a reminder of what is to come on the walk to Brightling, Robertsbridge and Bodiam Castle.
Cousley Wood: The Old Vine Inn
Bateman’s: NT Tearoom
History Walk Talks: The Speakers List
CAMRA: What Pub