Winchelsea - Icklesham - Brede Valley - Winchelsea

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Winchelsea stands on its own defensive little hill, staring out, to the east and south, towards the sea and inland, to the north and west, across the wide, green valley of the River Brede. This is a good place to begin a walk which gives pleasure at any time, but which is, on a sunny summer evening, simply stunning! Initially passing through National Trust-owned land, taking in the delights of wildflower-strewn meadows in June, one can gaze out over the marshy levels below to the English Channel. William Penn, founder of the state of Pennsylvania, once owned the 16th Century Wickham Manor, whose buildings you pass close to. It is now an organic farm and you may spot its copper-coloured cattle browsing peacefully nearby. Pause beside a windmill on a knoll, now a recording studio, to enjoy pastoral views over fields which until recently, were planted with row upon row of sweet-scented apple orchards – blossom in spring, but 'scrumpy-flavoured' later in the year! Their removal, presumably for good economic reasons, is a loss to the passer-by.

The attractions of the village of Icklesham lie mainly in its Norman church, passed en route and usually open to visitors; and the Queen's Head Inn, perched in landmark position, with gorgeous views overlooking the Brede Valley. It is from here (after a possible pause for a pint!), that one descends to wander through sheep-cropped meadowland and along the waterside, which in summer is alight with waterlilies and darting damselflies, before climbing back up to Winchelsea, a town of some charm, planned under the patronage of Edward 1 and one of the Cinque Ports – surprisingly, since the sea has receded, leaving it a mile from the coast. At its peak, it boasted a harbour which exported timber and more importantly some might think, allowed the wine to flow in, making it a favoured place for smuggling. On reaching it, there is scope to explore its neat streets, ancient church, museum and tea shops.

England - South England - East Sussex - Countryside

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Museum, National Trust, Pub, Public Transport, River, Toilets
19/02/2015 - Alison Gilbert

Thank you, Laurence, for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the walk. East Sussex now have a policy of putting in gates rather than stiles, I believe, but it will probably be quite some time before all are replaced.

18/02/2015 - Laurence Andrews

A very nice and varied walk, but unfortunately not dog friendly. Very high styles, often with chicken and barbed wire on each side. We really struggled with our 12 year old dog. This seems fairly typical of the footpaths in East Sussex.

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Distance away
3.7 Miles