Winchelsea, East Sussex.

Today’s walk involved a mini road trip down to Winchelsea in East Sussex, about twenty miles up the coast from my home town in Eastbourne.

The ancient town of Winchelsea, about one and a half miles inland from Winchelsea Beach was once a busy harbour-part of the Cinque-Port alliance. The old town was destroyed by floods in the 13th century, and today the sea has receded some distance from the town.

Parking by the recreation ground we followed an adjacent path to the seafront, taking in quirky homes and proper English countryside. The geese flew over, as did lots of small bi-planes- we were close to Lid airport- and the cuckoo sang loud and long:

What do you do?

In April, I open my bill
In May, I sing night and day
In June, I change my tune
In July, far off I fly
In August, away
I must…

Sang to me as a child in the 1970s by my mother.

Lewes Racecourse.

Lewes racecourse, South Downs.

A gorgeous sunny walk up on Lewes racecourse on the South Downs in East Sussex on the first warm day in May.

Lewes Racecourse shut its doors for the final time in 1964, bringing an end to more than 200 years of history. However it is still an active training centre today and pedestrians and cyclists need to be mindful of racing horses.

The ‘pop up’ Paddock Bar was an unexpected treat and a real pleasure. A bar in a horse box with straw bales for seats. A pint of Sussex cider in the sunshine on the South Downs was a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Hire a mountain bike from Blackcap Bikes: https://www.blackcapbikes.co.uk/

Blackcap Mountain Bike tours and bike hire.

Check out the National Trust walking trail in the Racecourse area; A secluded gem with sunken bostals, a hidden woodland, views over the Weald and fascinating history: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blackcap/trails/a-walk-at-blackcap

Finally have a look at the The Old Racecourse Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/theoldracecourse/ to keep up to date with the area.

Check out also the Lewes Racecourse History Group’s videos of the racecourse on their YouTube channel:

The views were amazing and the warm weather and lambs made it feel like Spring had truly arrived. It is definitely a hidden gem and my new favourite place in East Sussex.

Hellingly, East Sussex.

This Sunday’s walk was part of the Wealdway walk around the Wealden village of Hellingly in East Sussex.

First point of interest was Horse Lunges Manor. This moated manor house, built in 1450 AD was the former home of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant. He is buried in nearby Hellingly cemetery.

Horse Lunges Manor.

Next up was Horsebridge flour milk, once a thriving, working mill, but now derelict.

This Grade Two Listed old flour mill was built circa 1900, but its history is sketchy, there was a fire between 1908 and 1910, when the mill was rebuilt as a large roller mill. McDougall’s (the flour company)had interests in it at some point.

We also passed a Bow Bells Milestone.

Bow Bells Milestone.

The milestone is one of a series stretching along the A22 and on the A26 giving the distance of miles to Bow Bells Church, in the City of London- erected by Turnpike Trusts that were formed in the 18th Century to improve roads.

It was a beautiful Wealden village walk in the spring sunshine. I had to include a picture of this abandoned outbuilding. It looked like it should be on a film set.

Waiting for a ‘waning gibbous’ moon.

Waning Gibbous moon (Emily Dudley)

Between full and last quarter moon – late at night or in the early morning – you might catch the moon in its waning gibbous phase. A waning gibbous moon rises later at night than a full moon, somewhere between local sundown and midnight.

In Eastbourne the other night it was very close to midnight by the time she appeared, but worth the wait.

Newhaven Heights.

This weekend’s walk was the stretch of coastline between Peacehaven and Newhaven.

Newhaven is a working port town, as opposed to a seaside town like Eastbourne and Seaford, with a regular ferry passenger service to Dieppe in France. It’s West Beach, French owned, was closed in 2008 because of safety concerns about the crumbling sea-defence walls and harbour steps. but there is an ongoing local campaign and negotiations to reopen the beach.

The coastline was barren and exposed but beautiful. We passed the coastguard watch tower and the old fort, which dates from the Neolithic age, through the Bronze and Iron Age and was then occupied by the Romans. Today there are the remains of various Second World War buildings.

During the Second World War the port, along with a large stretch of the South Coast, was a German bombing target. To protect Newhaven Port, the nearby river Cuckmere acted as a night-time decoy. The valley would be lit up like the port during bombing raids in an attempt to draw bombers off course and minimise the barrage of the town.

It was a fabulous walk, steeped in history and a totally different landscape from the Eastbourne South Downs where we commenced our coastline walk.

Newhaven FC.

Followers of my blog will know that I’m a bit of a football fan. They will also know that I like local football grounds. Lockdown has meant that instead of international travel we’ve been rediscovering our local area over the past year. Today took us over to Newhaven in East Sussex- another stretch of the coastline that I’ll cover in another blog.

Today’s picnic stop was by Newhaven Football Club grounds.

Newhaven FC is one of the oldest clubs in Sussex, and was formed by the Towner family who were brewers in the town during the latter 19th century, plus some of their enthusiastic friends. A meeting took place at the Bridge Hotel in December 1887 when it decided to form the Club and 20 members signed up on the day.

About Newhaven Football Club

Newhaven FC. ‘The Dockers’

They play in the Southern CombinationPremier Division. Unfortunately, as with the majority of local clubs the 2019- 2020 season was abandoned. Hoping for better things for 2021- 2022.