Monday, 25 May 2009

Battle to Rye

Here is Jane Rosoux's report on Saturday's 15 mile joint HRA / South Bank ramble.

Tim Johnson, who was to have led the walk, was unable to do so because of a temporary problem with his vision. However, he travelled with us on the train to Battle, supplied maps of his intended route, which was the 1066 Country Walk (which follows the steps of William the Conqueror) as far as Winchelsea, and put us on the right path out of Battle. Bob Burnell from the South Bank Group took over as leader and did an excellent job at route finding and the main party arrived at Rye at around 5.15 pm leaving plenty of time for a drink or a look round Rye before the intended train left at 5.54 pm.

Tim had planned the lunch stop at 'The Queens Head', Icklesham because although two thirds of the way along the route it served food all day and was the only pub passed, with the exception of one at Westfield which was too close to Battle. Bob set a fast pace from the outset and two members of the party had difficulty keeping up. When we arrived at Westfield at around 11.45 am he diverted slightly from the route to the pub with a view to stopping there for half an hour for a pre-lunch drink but unfortunately (or fortunately?) the pub was closed and shortly after returning to the 1066 Country Walk it was noticed that two members of the party were missing. They eventually turned up and said that they had lost the party at Westfield.

I had one of Tim's maps and agreed to act as backmarker but the three of us gradually fell further and further behind and at one point on the route (which was generally very well signposted) I went wrong and we had to retrace our steps. Eventually we decided we did not want to wait any longer to have lunch and picnicked in a field a mile or so before Icklesham, spending around 50 minutes relaxing in the sun. We then continued to Winchelsea where we stopped for refreshments and I left the other two and set off for Rye hoping to catch the 17.54 train, which I missed.

Whilst wandering around Rye I bumped into Penny Taylor who, unlike the rest of the party, had decided to look round the town and had even managed to visit a museum before it closed. I caught the 18.54 train with the other two (and arrived back at Charing Cross at 20.45), leaving Penny to have a leisurely meal before catching a later train.

I attach a selection of the photographs which I took on the walk, which was notable for masses of buttercups and a large number of sheep with lambs in the fields. It was clear that the shearers had not yet got round to the heavy-fleeced ewes and it crossed my mind that the farmers regretted not having 'easycare' sheep which shed their fleeces naturally.

Above shows a particularly awkward stile near the point where the three of us went wrong.

Above shows a converted oasthouse which is characteristic of the area

The photo above shows the deeply-sunken road leading to Winchelsea

The final photo above shows an old-style lamppost almost completely enveloped by a clipped conifer tree.

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