insideSUSSEX Magazine Issue 08 - October 2015 - Page 69

DAYSOUT A Woodland Walk Strolling on the South Downs A Coastal Constitutional There is something altogether ‘other’ about taking an autumn stroll through the woods. Peaceful, secluded, a world apart from everyone and everything else, sometimes a walk through the woods is the only way to enjoy an autumn day. Sussex is famous for the South Downs, the UK’s newest national park. It covers 628 square miles (1,627 square kilometres) and all of it is stunning. Fancy a nice autumn walk? The South Downs has it covered. There is nothing quite like a bracing coastal walk on a frost-tinged autumn day, and in Sussex we are lucky to have a coastline that is close enough visit any day of the year. Brede High Woods Circular Walk // 5.5 miles (8.9km) // OS Explorer Map 124 Brede High Woods have the distinction of being some of the most ancient woodland in the entire country. As you wander through the trees you’ll be able to spot deer, newts, buzzards, and even glow worms – it’s a true nature lover’s paradise. This great circular route starts in the car park at Brede High Woods and meanders through the trees on slinking, curving pathways that give whoever is following them the chance to immerse themselves into the twisting, turning world they’ve stepped into. You will pass the Powdermill Reservoir, an ancient sweet chestnut coppice, and plenty of pretty little bridges as you go. Rockinghill Wood Circular Walk // 1 mile (1.6km) // OS Explorer Map 146 This short walk is no less pretty for its low mileage, and it is especially good for those who enjoy historical buildings, since it starts and ends at Standen, the National Trust owned arts and crafts house that once belonged to James and Margaret Beale. Rockinghill Wood covers 20 acres, and has a number of ponds dotted around it, making each corner a surprise once it is turned, as well as being a great place to look for elusive wildlife. Wherever you choose to go for your brisk autumn walk, please remember to take care of the incredibly special countryside you walk through by closing gates, taking your litter home with you, leaving wildflowers where they are growing, and not disturbing the wildlife you come across. We need to keep Sussex beautiful for the next generation. And the next. And the next. Kingley Vale Trail // 3.5 miles (5.6km) // OS Landranger Map 197 Kingley Vale is a nature reserve on the South Downs, and the trail involved a breathtaking walk up to the top of the vale. When you get there, you will be rewarded with views out to Chichester and the sea beyond. The most magnificent part of walking the Kingley Vale Trail in autumn is the yew trees. In fact, the area is famous for them. The yews in this plantation are at least 2,000 years old, and are considered to be some of the oldest living things in England. Standing near them, or even walking by them, on a crisp, cold day when the woods are quiet and the trees are the only thing whispering in the autumnal breeze is a magical experience. The Octagon Way // 18 miles (29km) // OS Landranger Map 197 The Octagon Way is made up – as the name suggests – of eight villages, providing the perfect route for a walk that includes some lovely views and some interesting places too. The villages are Stansted, Racton, Stoughton, East Marden, North Marden, Up Marden, Compton, and Forestside (although West Marden and Walderton are also close by). This walk was created and published in 2012, in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee, but although this is a modern idea, the footpaths and trails have been here for centuries, and many of our ancestors would have trodden the same route to and from these villages. The walk begins at the stately home, Stansted House (well worth a visit), although suggested parking is in the Stansted Park Garden Centre. Each village has something different to show those who choose to travel through them by foot in this way, including Racton Monument, the 11th-century church in Stoughton (St Mary’s), the thatched village well in East Marden, and St Paul’s Chapel in Stansted. 69 Seaford to Eastbourne // 13 miles (21km) // OS Explorer Map 123 The journey from Seaford to Eastbourne by foot is, although quite a trek, a spectacular walk that takes in some of the best coastal scenery in the county. It can also be broken down into smaller sections if 13 miles seems a bit much for a nice autumn stroll. Starting off at Seaford station, this cliff-top walk will give you views of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, passing through Birling Gap and Cuckmore Haven on the way. The beginning and end of the ݅