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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 30th January 2010
Withyham - Groombridge
8.5 miles

After a week of miserable rainy/cloudy days we woke to a bright/sunny but painfully cold one. It was snowing again and the weather man said to be prepared for very cold conditions. That wasn't about to stop us, although the terribly icy roads did their best to: the bike slipped once on the way there and twice on the way back and Gill said her heart was in her mouth both ways.
Our start point of Withyham church is the meeting point of three long-distance footpaths; The Sussex Border Path, The Weald Way and The High Weald Landscape Trail, so you're spoilt for choice as to which direction to go in. 
Our anti-clockwise circular route today took us on all three of these excellent footpaths as well as crossing the National Cycle Network too. It also encompassed streams and small rivers, high panoramic views, farmland and even a wooded glen with all of the expected birds out on view. Large flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares and roaming flocks of tits and finches were everywhere, reminding us (as if a reminder were needed) that we were deep in the middle of winter. Being as we were in the north east of Sussexshire our trudgings today took us dangerously close to the Land of Kent, so we even had oast houses and hop growing frames to see as well.

If you're planning a walking holiday to Sussex then you may have already decided to walk the fantastic South Downs Way. The whole of that route will only take you 10 days, so if you have some spare time try to add a few days on another of the county's named footpaths. From west to east the South Downs Way is crossed by the Sussex Border Path at South Harting, the Wey South Path at Amberley, the Monarch's Way at Steyning, the Sussex Border Path again just east of Clayton windmills and the Vanguard Way and The Weald Way both at Alfriston. None of these footpaths will disappoint as all three are well signposted and their routes wind through beautiful, ever-changing countryside. We can thoroughly recommend them all.

The sprawling church of St Michael and all Angels at
Withyham is the burial place of a number of the Sackville's who lived at Buckhurst Park for centuries.

The path goes straight through Buckhurst Park

There are islands of limestone rock in this area, in fact a very large outcrop nearby called Harrison's Rocks is managed by the British Mountaineering Council.

These pill boxes are used to keep an eye on Kent. They were also used in the defence of Britain in the Second World War.

It may have been a really good year for Bullfinches as they seem to be everywhere.

Hop frames in a front garden vegetable patch.

Here we're walking on both the Sussex Border Path and the High Weald Landscape Trail at the same time.

A triple oast

The River Medway, the source of which is only a few miles from Withyham.