Pub Walks in 1066 Country

I want to tempt you with some short but exhilarating walks, a wealth of fascinating local history, good pubs and of course, good beer.

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Here is a selection of four Pub walks that encourage you to explore 1066 Country on foot and in the process, discover some tremendous country walks.

I am not claiming they are the best pubs but they are ones that I enjoy, chosen for their location, beer and conviviality and the opportunity to walk, to explore and discover the 1066 Countryside.

All the walks are accessible by public transport, mostly by Stagecoach services, and the occasional train. Leave the car at home and enjoy a pint and let the ‘bus’ take the strain.

In these Four Pub Walks, it is the walk that takes pride of place and that welcome pint in that friendly pub is the reward for all your effort.

Enjoy the experience.

The Ramblers have crowned Hastings Old Town as Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood 2018

Pub Walks in 1066 Country is available now from Hastings Tourist Information, Hastings Pier, The Bookkeeper (Kings Road St Leonards) and British Design, British Made and AHA in Battle or direct from History Walks

History Walks – more than just steps on a footpath.

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk 

Rock a Nore to De La Warr

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This is a walk that starts at Rock a Nore, at the easterly extreme of Hastings, and finishes at the De La Warr – that grand art deco pavilion on Bexhill’s promenade.

It is an historic route with much to occupy the imagination.

It is a hop on and hop off kind of walk, do as little or as much as you want but it is not a race. Take your time and enjoy the history with plenty of opportunity to stop for tea, coffee and, if warm enough, ice creams with a Stagecoach bus to take you home.

The Ramblers have crowned Hastings Old Town as

Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood 2018

Rock a Nore to De La Warr is available now from Hastings Tourist Information, Hastings Pier and The Bookkeeper, Kings Road St Leonards.

and direct from

History Walks

History Walks – more than just steps on a footpath

http://www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Bodiam Castle to Battle Abbey via Sedlescombe

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1066 Harold’s Way Walk 10

Perhaps there was a shimmer on the Appledore Estuary and an early morning mist rising into the trees. This was a wild and desolate place and no doubt a strong breeze was already pulling at the water as men and horses prepared for the final few miles to Caldbec Hill.

South of the causeway, the old Roman road drew the eyes up the hill between the trees of the forest, an arrow pointing towards the imminent battle.

This was Harold’s route, the fast route for a small and agile force that would take the ferry across the wide Estuary at Sedlescombe, but not for the main army who will divert via Cripps Corner.

IMGP0136  Sedlescombe Green

Broad leaved forests lead to Sedlescombe and in the valley is a squat towered stone church set against a backdrop of trees. Great Wood is to the south, Petley Wood to the north and a final steady climb to the rendezvous at ‘the old hoar apple tree’, Caldbec Hill.

IMGP1096  Abbey

Walk 10 label   Download your 1066 Harold’s Way Passport

   and collect your ‘walk ‘stickers’.

   Walk 10 Walk Report

 

 

Refreshments

Sedlescombe The Queens Head

Battle The Abbey

Battle The Kings Head

Battle The Chequers

Battle Abbey English Heritage

The Pub Blog

The Pub Blog should be read as a lively and essential travelling companion for anyone in the South-East England who intends to walk 1066 Harold’s Way, Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House and 1066 Harold’s Way, The Final Journey.

Battle The Kings Head

Battle The Chequers

Travel

Southeastern Trains from London Bridge to Hastings, return from Battle.

Connection from Hastings to Bodiam Castle: Stagecoach Service 349

1066 Walks

Celebrate the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 2016 and walk 1066 Harold’s Way.

1066 Harold’s Way is a 100 mile long distance walk, accessible by public transport, devised, created and written to follow King Harold II on his epic journey from Westminster Abbey to Battle. There are castles and battle sites, rivers, streams and valleys to cross, forests to forge and hills to climb, Roman roads, green lanes and ancient foot-paths to walk.

In 2017, the second walk, ‘1066 Harold’s Way The Final Journey’, will be published. This will be a walk from Battle Abbey to Bosham that will follow the progress of the funeral cortege of King Harold II after the Battle of Hasting. It is a new 80 mile long distance path that will traverse Sussex from east to west, along Saxon trackways and Roman roads that follows a legend that he was first laid to rest at Bosham, near Chichester. It is a good story and a good walk.

For more information visit:

1066 Harold’s Way 

Facebook – LIKE         

CAMRA What Pub .

Traveline South East

Sissinghurst to Bodiam Castle

Over the Hills     DSC00003

1066 Harold’s Way Walk 9

The landscape was so very different in 1066, with heavily wooded hillsides and the tidal estuary extending into the valleys around Bodiam and Sedlescombe – natural hazards to navigate.

The Roman road passed through Benenden to Sandhurst on the ridge and finally Bodiam. This Roman road is different, green lanes and forgotten sunken tracks, marked by lines of trees, you can look down on the overgrown road and imagine it full of Saxon men, women, horses and wagons, straining, pulling to make headway.

Roman Road near Beneden     Sandhurst Following the Roman Road

Walk the Roman road from Sandhurst to Sandhurst Cross before the descent into the upper reaches of the Rother Valley to join the Sussex Border Path for the final mile to Bodiam Castle, perhaps the most beautiful castle in all of England.

DSC00009      Bodiam Castle 2  

Walk 9 label

Download your 1066 Harold’s Way Passport

and collect your ‘walk ‘stickers’.

Walk 9 Walk Report

 

 

Refreshments

Iden Green The Woodcock

Sandhurst The Swan

Bodiam Castle National Trust

Bodiam The Castle Inn

Pub Blog

The Pub Blog should be read as a lively and essential travelling companion for anyone in the South-East England who intends to walk 1066 Harold’s Way, Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House and 1066 Harold’s Way, The Final Journey.

Iden Green The Woodcock

Sandhurst The Swan

Bodiam The Castle Inn

Travel

Southeastern Trains from London Bridge to Staplehurst, return from Hastings.

Connection from Staplehurst to Sissinghurst: Arriva Buses Service 5

Connection from Bodiam Castle to Hastings: Stagecoach Service 349

1066 Walks

Celebrate the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 2016 and walk 1066 Harold’s Way.

1066 Harold’s Way is a 100 mile long distance walk, accessible by public transport, devised, created and written to follow King Harold II on his epic journey from Westminster Abbey to Battle. There are castles and battle sites, rivers, streams and valleys to cross, forests to forge and hills to climb, Roman roads, green lanes and ancient foot-paths to walk.

In 2017, the second walk, ‘1066 Harold’s Way The Final Journey’, will be published. This will be a walk from Battle Abbey to Bosham that will follow the progress of the funeral cortege of King Harold II after the Battle of Hasting. It is a new 80 mile long distance path that will traverse Sussex from east to west, along Saxon trackways and Roman roads that follows a legend that he was first laid to rest at Bosham, near Chichester. It is a good story and a good walk.

For more information visit:

1066 Harold’s Way

Facebook – LIKE        

CAMRA What Pub

Traveline South East

The Castle Inn, Bodiam

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Imagine October 1066 and King Harold’s Army on their way to fight the battle, against Duke William of Normandy, that would become known as the Battle of Hastings.

In front of the Castle Inn stretched what was left of the Roman causeway that crossed the great tidal Appledore Estuary that seemed to spread as far as the eye could see.

Perhaps there was a shimmer on this inland sea and an early morning mist rising into the trees as the sun began to rise in the sky. It was a wild and desolate place and no doubt a strong breeze was already pulling at the water as men and horses prepared for the final few miles to Caldbec Hill. South of the causeway, the old Roman road drew the eyes up the hill between the trees of the forest, an arrow pointing towards the imminent battle.

Occasionally, after heavy rain, water can still reclaim this land and we can imagine being back in Saxon times.

The army had arrived the night before but sadly there was no Castle Inn for a bit of ‘dutch courage’ – imagine the order, 6000 pints of cider and who wants fish and chips?

Formerly known as the Red Lion, it was rebuilt and renamed in 1885 but its roots go back to the 15th century when merchants and tradesmen would have come on business to the castle. Later, it provided accommodation for visitors to the romantic Castle ruins and for the barges on the River Rother and today, it lies on the path of both 1066 Harold’s Way and Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House.

Arthur Mee wrote in 1936:

‘It is a picturesque brick and tile hung pub with a cosy tap room warmed by an open hearth with andirons upon which logs burned in winter and around which were high backed settles’.

On a July afternoon, Bodiam Castle is busy with visitors and the Castle Inn provides an opportunity to relax. The beer garden is a relief after the walk from Sissinghurst, with views south over the flood plain and in the summer’s haze, you can almost imagine that shimmer of water.

Today, The Castle Inn welcomes you with a range of well-kept Shepherd Neame beers and a good selection of food.

It is a good end of walk pub.

Shepherd Neame

http://www.shepherd-neame.co.uk/pubs/pubs.php/castleinn_robertsbridge

CAMRA

http://whatpub.com/pubs/HES/BODIA-1000/castle-bodiam

The Stagecoach bus stop for the 349 to Hastings or to Hawkhurst is just by the gate. They run every two hours either way but do check times as the last bus is between 5pm and 6pm and the Sunday service is limited.

1066 Harold’s Way, The Final Journey

Tuesday 17th June

Rushlake Green to Whitesmith

Taking advantage of this spell of good walking weather and today, putting my trust in public transport, all went smoothly and I stepped off the Compass 355 out on to the Green at Rushlake at 11.50.

The 9½ miles would take an estimated 2¾ hours not taking into account stops and route checking, photographs and note taking and the occasional foray off-piste when waymarks disappear.

I was looking forward to the final few miles of the High Weald before entering the Low Weald. I was intrigued by some of the villages and their pubs, the place names such as Gun Hill and that mile or so along the Cuckoo Trail from Horam.

Rushlake Green to Warbleton, past Kingsley Hill, before climbing up to the church opposite The Black Duck (one to come back to later) – the path takes you through the churchyard and at the entrance to the graveyard is a memorial stone to Richard Woodman, Farmer and Ironmaster, burnt at Lewes 1557.

Richard Woodman was a Protestant Martyr at the time of Queen Mary and along with nine other martyrs was part of the largest number of people burnt at one time. I will pass The Star Inn, now the Town Hall in Lewes at the end of the next walk and will say a little prayer.

Walking down from the church towards Vines Cross reveals views towards the South Downs and northwards to Heathfield and the prominent church at Old Heathfield. Sandwiches on a bench at Horam, there is a café for future reference, before the Cuckoo Trail and the 5½ miles to Whitesmith.

From the Cuckoo Trail it is a short walk through meadows to cross the A267 although the path on the Explorer Map is not quite in the right position and involved just a little tooing and froing to check where I should be walking.

From the A267 to the amazing and old Swanbrook Farm (17thC or before Swan Mill) before taking the path to Gun Hill – I have always been curious about Gun Hill which until now was just a signpost away from the A22. It disappointed a little, the road was busy, the pub was an ‘eating house’ and there was little obvious history about the place – further research proved unrewarding and I can only assume that the Gun relates to canon and guns that may have been produced by the local ironworks. I will be re-routing The Final Journey to a safer path. From Gun Hill, the Weald Way takes us to Chiddingly and sadly, I missed the pub completely, the path going through the churchyard and across the cricket field, leaving the Weald Way behind (that goes past the pub!).

I met Keith Mitchell from Scotland visiting his father but also taking the opportunity to walk part of the Weald Way, today Buxted to Hailsham. We talked about 1066 Harold’s Way and Three Castles over a gate that would not open – it was a proper Harold’s Way ‘ambush’.

Just a mile to Whitesmith, the Bus Stops to Eastbourne and Uckfield Stagecoach buses and my lift, courtesy of Stef who was promised a cider.

A good walk, a good pace but Whitesmith will only be a stop on the way to Lewes after all there is nowhere to sit and have a pint.

At Chiddingly, I met the verger? who was there to check that the Church wheelchair tyres were blown up and offered me a cup of tea when I got to Whitesmith – regretfully, I said no as I would be sure that my lift was waiting at the main road. I would have had time as the traffic along the A259 towards Eastbourne was horrendous – another time perhaps.

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