Fighting through a hedgerow near Wellbrook

Photo of overgrown hedge preventing easy access to a stileYou can just about see the stile behind the hedge in the picture. It was a real fight to get through the hedge and into the field beyond last Sunday (17th April 2016). But I rarely let anything stop me,  so I tried to pin back the brambles and pushed my way through, collecting some impressive scratches on the way.

I have reported the problem to East Sussex County Council so hopefully it will be fixed relatively soon (you can report any footpath problem, as well as other issues with roads etc. on the fixmystreet website). It may even be one of the tasks assigned to the voluntary group in Mayfield who clear footpaths and repair stiles, in which case I may end up helping to clear it myself.

In the meantime, I suggest avoiding this footpath (M&FA 79, which meets the A267 between Wellbrook and Mere’s Lane and whose northern end is on Fir Toll Road on the drive leading to Naylor’s Farm Cottages) especially if you do not like mud – there is about 3 inches to wade through at the lowest point of the path.




Mayfield Open to Visitors

Photo of the tower and spire of St Dunstan's Church Mayfield
St Dunstan’s Mayfield

Mayfield has much to offer visitors – a lovely village set in beautiful countryside, historic buildings, interesting shops and walks with fantastic views to name only a few.

But we have not been good at publicising our village.  We have a sign from the main road promoting Mayfield as a historic village, but no information readily available for those who turn off to have a look.

There is a plan to remedy that, to provide more information and to attract more visitors.  For my part, I am working on some 10-15 mile walks starting from Wadhurst station and passing through Mayfield about halfway,  This will allow visitors to come by train, enjoy a wonderful walk in the High Weald and have a break in Mayfield in the middle, stopping to have a look and for refreshments.

Watch out for the new walks, which should be published in the next couple of months.

If you have any suggestions – either for walks or for information about the village that you would like to know – please leave me a comment and I will see how I can take up your suggestions.




New routes and app from ESCC

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) now have a page listing circular walks in the county.  There are nearly 40 listed ranging in distance from 1.5 miles to 9 miles.

They also have an app which you can download to your smartphone for use with these walks.  I have not yet tried out the app but will report back when I have the chance.

You can find details of these walks and download the app by clicking/touching/swiping here




Disappearing stiles

Opening where a stile used to beSite of former stileAs a lover of the English countryside and all its idiosyncrasies, when a stile disappears I feel sad that the something quintessentially English has vanished.

However, as a dog walker, I am often very appreciative if it makes the walk easier when I have one or more dogs with me.

The photo shows where there used to be a stile at the start of footpath 56, which goes from the footbridge over the Rother near Merrieweathers towards Rolfs Farm.  I once came along this path from the Rolfs Farm direction on my way back after a long walk and discovered the old stile with no way round it and my 30kg Labrador unable to jump the stile.  Luckily I was just strong enough to lift her over and drop her (reasonably gently) over the other side.  Otherwise we would have had a long walk back the way we came.

I am not sure whether the removal of the stile is permanent and will wait to see with interest.  Meantime, we now have a much smaller dog (a Cockerpoo) which makes lifting her over remaining stiles much easier.

However in other areas “kissing gates” seem to be becoming more popular, which is also helpful for dog walkers.




Ramblers Big Pathwatch

Yesterday morning I heard about the Big Pathwatch on the Today Programme on Radio 4. I tried to download the app immediately but there was not enough space on my mobile phone and I was confused about logging in or registering (I am not a member of the Ramblers Association but I have registered on their website for news). Anyhow, I could not complete the action straightaway but I have just registered and selected two squares around my house.

I have to walk the paths in the square and report back on them.

A great idea to involve as many people as possible in reporting on our paths – just what Routopedia wants to do, though we would like this to be a continual process with local groups ensuring information on their local paths are kept up to date. I am not sure whether Ramblers see this as an ongoing project or one to be run at regular intervals.

I shall participate and record my findings here. Meanwhile, I would encourage others to sign up for the Big Pathwatch themselves




Development principles

The very first post on this blog set out our long-term aims for this site.

Tying in with this are two of our fundamental development principles:

– openness
– community involvement

First of all we want to be open about what we are doing and why. So we published our objectives for 2015 at the beginning of the year. We also want to the site to be as open as possible so that you can easily use the information in any way you want.

Secondly, we want to involve those who use the routes on the site. The site will only reach its potential if you, the users, are interested in giving us your feedback: your opinions of the routes, your experiences, the updates and news from which others can benefit. But we have to develop it initially to show you why that will be worthwhile. At present we are still very much building the basics. We hope you can already catch glimpses of an interesting future for it.

Soon we will be revealing new ways to help you find routes of interest, as well as a few more new routes. Then, as always, we would love to have your feedback.




Sky Rides for all you cyclists

Sky Ride cycling photo from Kent & Sussex CourierSky Rides, organised by British Cycling and Team Sky, will be organising rides in Sussex and Kent area. The rides make it fun and easy for groups to get together and ride around the countryside together with ride leaders and points of interest to visit – see the article in the Kent and Sussex Courier for more details.

 

I have looked on the Sky Ride site and while there are over 300 rides shown within 50 miles of Mayfield in East Sussex, there is only one shown so far that is within 20 miles.  So I think it is a question of watch the Sky Ride website for more to become available




Update – 17 March 2015

Here is a brief report card of progress to date this year.

So far the visible progress has been a couple more routes added:

  • 3.5 mile route round Rock’s Wood, Earls Farm and Renhurst Farm
  • 3 mile loop mainly on road round Five Ashes

both of which can be accessed from the Walks page and the Dog Walks page. A slightly shorter (2.5 mile) version of the Five Ashes loop also makes a suitable cycle ride for families if you take care – the roads used are narrow and windy but carry few vehicles.

Behind the scenes, I am working on a better way to find the routes you want using maps to show different centres from which you can walk and the different routes from each one.  Hopefully the first draft of this will be available fairly soon and we do not intend to send out any official emails to our followers until this is done, since it was one of the requested features when we asked for feedback last year.

More news will be posted as significant progress is made.




3 days left of National Walking Week

It is rather late to be telling you but May is National Walking Week.

People are being encouraged to walk for their own health, to avoid damage to the environment from unnecessary car journeys and to enjoy their surroundings.

Graphic showing that 88% of people improve their mood with a walkEven though it is late in the month, you may still want to find out more and be encouraged to walk at http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/national-walking-month.

You can also click on the graphic on the left to find out about Living Streets on Facebook

 

The Woodland Trust is also using National Walking Week to highlight walks in their woods.  There are a number of their woods near Mayfield including Minepits Shaw in Mayfield itself, Little Foxes Copse in Hadlow Down and Brock Wood in Burwash Common.  Find out more about local woods by clicking here.

Even if you do not have a chance to check these out during May, the sites can provide useful information, motivation and routes for the future.

Happy Walking




Brilliant weather for the monthly footpath walk

Today’s monthly Mayfield footpath walk had us all taking off our coats and pullovers to carry them in the warm sunshine.  A lovely day to enjoy the Wealden countryside and the spring flowers starting to bloom.

Mayfield from near Bungehurst Farm
Mayfield from near Bungehurst Farm

There were six of us, plus Sam the dog, who had a very pleasant amble down paths to the south of the village, crossing Piccadilly Lane and passing Moat Farm before doing a loop that took us out to Bungehurst Farm and then back on Scotsford Road for a short way. We will be adding this loop to the website fairly soon.

Thanks to Tim Cornish for organising the walk. It was the first monthly walk I have managed to make but I hope to enjoy many more in the coming months.

Violets in the hedgerow
Violets in the hedgerow