With holidays and other commitment reducing numbers, it was left to just us four and Poppy and Shadow to complete the second walk to Chiddingly. Nicola bravely undertook the map reading and led us away from Rushlake Green, across the infant River Cuckmere, on the path to Warbleton and the opportunity to look inside the Church of St Mary the Virgin, the place where Richard Woodman denounced the Rector’s catholic preaching which ultimately led to Richard being one of the Lewes Martyrs burnt at the stake in 1557. There is a memorial to Richard in the churchyard and a plaque on the wall in Lewes which we will pass on the Lewes to Hassocks walk later in the year.
Leaving the churchyard for Vines Cross heralded views across the valley southwards and to the north, Heathfield lined the ridge and below, the spire of Old Heathfield church stark white against the countryside.
Big fields, hills and valleys and streams to cross before the climb up to Vines Cross and what must be the smallest library in the country. It is really a book exchange but whatever you take away you have to carry until the finish at Chiddingly.
An opportunity for a water stop by the duck pond on Foords Lane before heading off to Horam and the Cuckoo Trail. With gates and stiles missing, the walk instructions needed to be amended but not before our first and only mishap that led us only a little out of our way. Back on track we soon walked the final mile to Horam and a lunch stop in the sunshine.
The Cuckoo Trail, Cogger’s Cross and Swanscombe Lane led to Gun Hill and a meeting with the Weald Way that we would follow to the Six Bells at Chiddingly. There was jazz playing in the Vicarage garden and the village was busy with a summer fete. What we believed to be a quiet rural pub was ‘packed’ to the rafters and we were assured that it was like this every weekend.
Still there was a table free in the garden and after giving out the Walk 2 stickers, I was pleased to award certificates to Nicola and Nick for completing 1066 Harold’s Way the previous year. Well done.