Ten66 Country Walk
Follow in the footsteps of the Duke of Normandy (William the Conquerer) and his merry men as they rampaged across East Sussex after landing along the beaches at Pevensey. Defeating King Harold in a massive punch-up at the spot now called the town of Battle, this varied and scenic walk ends at the medieval port of Rye.
Thirty one miles in length, sixty two if you walk back to the car like us, the easy to follow path leads across delightful countryside with stunning views.
Our walk was broken down into six easy sections (approximately six miles each) planned with somewhere convenient to park the car. You will need maps OS Explorer 124 Hastings & Bexhill and OS Explorer 125 Romney Marsh, Rye & Winchelsea.
Pevensey Castle to All Saints Church, Herstmonceux Castle
Parking near Pevensey Castle, roadside or car park, the walk leads through the castle grounds (free) then heads north across the Pevensey Levels following the wide ditch of the Pevensey Haven and Hurst Haven to All Saints Church just west of Herstmonceux Castle.
The flat levels give an air of loneliness and desolation, ideal for letting the mind wander to past or future adventures.
A small hill leads leads to the 11th century church which marks the site of the medieval village of Herstmonceux. Views over the levels make for a great flask and sandwich break.
You'll need OS Explorer 124 Hastings & Bexhill. The going and route finding are easy.
All Saints Church to Ponts Green
Starting at All Saints Church – there is off road parking – the route travels past the elegant Herstmonceux Castle and the blobby shaped domes of the Observatory Science Centre.
Soon, you will be travelling north to Boreham Street, a beer stop on the return, then across sheep pastures to Wilson's Cross where the walk hits the tarmac to Brownbread Street, another beer stop and Ponts Green. It's a quiet road but you never know what's around the corner.
The little chapel at Ponts Green has a comfy bench for that all important refuelling before the return. OS Explorer 124 will be your guide.
Ponts Green to Battle Abbey
This is a lovely walk over rolling Sussex hills, down idyllic country lanes and through peaceful villages to the famous town itself, Battle. There is off road parking at Ponts Green near the chapel.
The going from Ponts Green to Steven's Crouch undulates but gives lovely views, especially of Ashburnham Place and its lakes. From Steven's Crouch a wide path leads through a pond studded wood before reaching Catsfield.
From here it's a small section of road followed by a gentle climb to the abbey town. It's hard to imagine the thousands of warriors camped here waiting nervously to do battle. Rather them than me… Yep, you've guessed it, you'll need OS Explorer 124.
Battle Abbey to Westfield
Leaving Battle Abbey, the pavement path leads through the pretty, very historic but busy town down to the cool of Great Wood. There are styles, bridges and gates and a few Lamas along the way.
After negotiating a golf course and dodging a few wayward balls, the way crosses the road at Kent Street then takes you on a journey through overgrown tracks and buttery yellow fields.
On reaching Westfield there is a pub or church to rest tired limbs. I personally, religiously like a pint when out mooching.
You can park at Battle Abbey (there is a fee) and you'll still need OS Explorer 124.
Westfield to Icklesham
This is a true countryside walk with no pubs or shops until you reach Icklesham so carry plenty of provisions with you. The way travels east passing the hamlets of Lidham Hill and Lower Snailham. Who names these places?
Crossing acres of farmland and pasture we met some very friendly lambs and inquisitive pigs which distracted from the abundant Sussex views.
There is a easy gradual climb into Icklesham, just enough to raise a thirst for the nearing pub. Did I say pub? Actually, we had coffee and sandwiches on the village green. And yes, we did have a go on the ride on thingy. It was fun to be honest!
You can find plenty of road parking in Westfield and keep OS Explorer 124 in your pocket.
Icklesham to Rye
If I was to name this walk, I would entitle it 'A Wander with Windmills'. There are three on route, two now homes and one a ruin, destroyed in the storm of 1987.
To be different, we parked in Winchelsea and sauntered back to Icklesham to start the last leg via Wickham Rock Lane – a quiet minor road bordered by high hedges.
Starting through orchards, we're soon on the outskirts of Winchelsea, passing Pickham Manor (National Trust, no visitors) and then into the historic, square grid town where Spike Milligan lays to rest in the graveyard.
Dropping out of the town, a short road section leads to Cadborough Cliff under which the walk takes us into the once harbour town of Rye. To bring closure to our journey we finished at Ypres Tower.
OS Explorer 125 just made it into the frame. You'll need for about three 'inches' of the walk. Have fun!