Castle Wood and Dewlands loop

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Latest status

13/02/14 extremely slippery and very tricky for short section on river bank shortly before passing Streel Farm.

Image of footpath between two wire fences
“Toast rack” footpath

 

Points of interest: Freemans Oast, 17th century building soon after start and an airstrip between Dewlands and Streel Farm

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A 3 mile walk, mainly in a stream valley with a number of climbs, some quite steep, and one very slippery
Length 4.8km (3 miles)
Terrain Footpaths, some concrete track and road
Difficulty Medium. Ascent from river crossing after 2 miles is slippery and hard
Time 60 – 120 minutes
Suitability Walkers and runners
Start Junction of Horleigh Green Road with the northern branch of Fir Toll Road.
Public transport No 52 bus, Eastbourne to Tunbridge Wells to Butchers Cross, then 1 mile north along Horleigh Green Road.
Parking Park in small layby (room for a couple of cars) on East side of Horleigh Green Road, opposite entrance to Freemans Oast, just before junction with northern branch of Fir Toll Road. (OS map reference: TQ 562 268)

 

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View Castle Wood and Dewlands loop in a larger map

Set off north (away from Five Ashes) and note views to Argos Hill Windmill on your right.  In 20 yards turn left through entrance to Freemans where there is a footpath marker at head height on telegraph pole next to gate. Through gate and up drive with house on left, then across lawn bearing slightly left then right to find stile in fence behind bushes. Note Freemans Oast on left, which is a stone walled single oast and barn dated 1653.

Down through meadow keeping wire fence and wood on right. Ignore gate on right but note view of Freemans Farm to right. Down to corner of meadow, over culverted stream and over stile slightly to your right. Turn left along side of meadow up a slight rise and then down to footbridge at corner (note Streel Farm on brow of hill ahead between trees). Up hill across centre of meadow to junction of two hedges with gap in centre. Fingerpost in hedge on left. Through gap and turn half right across meadow to kissing gate with pond on left. Follow hedge on left for approx 50 yards to a second kissing gate which leads out onto a tarmac drive.

Turn right down drive for approx 300 yards to T-junction, then right along lane for 100 yards to a stile on left into Castle Wood. Ahead through wood on twisting path. Leave wood through two posts of an old broken stile up over 20 yards of grass onto a concrete road. Turn right uphill for approximately half a mile. Extensive views to left from the Cross in Hand TV mast around to Five Ashes, Buxted and the South Downs. Continue uphill along road through wood, past a corrugated iron shed on left and a brick outbuilding on the right, to a metal gate at end of road.

Through gate and turn sharp left down Dewlands Hill Road. Downhill, ignoring footpath up steps on right after 300 yards. After entrance to Little Ease Farm, turn left down drive just before signs to to Briar House Farm Estate and Briar House Barns. Turn down track with house on left and wood on right. After just over 100 yards at end of wood, turn right through steel gates (fingerpost leaning against tree at the turn) and into yard with new house (under construction Feb 2014) on right. Bear left away from very large building to your right and through field looking for white sign in hedge ahead right corner. This marks a gap in hedge which you pass through, taking care to follow the instructions on the sign to look both ways and up for aircraft. Across the field (runway) and down the hill with hedge/trees on your right to bottom corner of field where path drops steeply to 2-plank bridge over small stream.

Image of muddy riverbank
Muddy riverbank

Turn right on the other side of the stream and scramble along for 10 yards then left up a gully. This whole section is very slippery and difficult in the mud. The gulley turns into a wide grass track which climbs through the wood and then between two wire fences (a “toast-rack” path). At the top pass through a gate then shortly a kissing gate with Streel Farm on your left. Downhill to where there is a stile on the left just before the bottom. Over this and into the next field where you keep the hedge on your right and come to a footpath junction in 100 yards

From this point return to start by reversing the route.

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