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|Sussex Hospices Trail Part 17: Heathfield to Uckfield|
|Author: , Published: 18 Aug 2016||Walk rating : Rating:|
|East Sussex, Heathfield|
|IMPORTANT NOTE: This linear walk uses a bus journey for the return leg which runs Mon-Sat ONLY. On Sundays you will need to use taxis or make other arrangements. |
A 10 mile linear walk from Heathfield to Uckfield rail station, forming the 17th stretch of the Sussex Hospices Trail. The route encompasses sections of the Cuckoo Trail, the Vanguard Way and the Weald Way and includes broad-leaf woodlands, grazing pastures, streams, meadows and river banks with two short stretches of country lane, mainly within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The final section of this walk is through the Hempstead Meadow Nature Reserve following the banks of the river Uck. A boardwalk crosses the wet grassland that hosts an abundance of marshland plants and wildlife.
The hospices of Sussex are dedicated to providing specialist end-of-life care. Friends of Sussex Hospices has worked with partners and supporters to create the Sussex Hospices Trail, a 200 mile long-distance path to support and raise awareness of the twelve hospice care providers that serve the adults and children of Sussex.
The terrain is mainly flat with gentle inclines and one slightly steeper incline just before section 9. There are several gates and steps to negotiate plus a variety of stiles to cross (suitable throughout for medium sized dogs, but larger dogs may need a hand over some of them). You are likely to come across sheep and cattle in a few of the fields. (There is one field where the farmer has suffered a savage attack on his sheep and insists that all dogs must be on a lead or they could be shot. This field is well-signposted on the route). Some of the paths are little used and there are one or two muddy sections. You will need to cross a rail line at an unsignalled crossing so look and listen carefully for trains before you cross. Allow 5 hours.
After 6 miles you can break your journey at the Blackboys Inn, a 14th century pub and restaurant offering traditional home cooking and bed and breakfast. Beyond Blackboys you pass four historic mills including Tickerage Mill, the former country home of actress Vivien Leigh, Uptons Mill, Heavers Mill and Hempstead Mill. There is a Waitrose supermarket adjacent to Uckfield rail station at the end of the walk.
The walk begins on Heathfield High Street and ends at Uckfield rail station and, as a linear route, you will need to arrange transport for the return leg. The exact start point for the walk is the Number 251 and 252 bus stop in Heathfield High Steet, adjacent to the Heathfield and Waldron Parish Offices. If you are coming by bus, buses run between Eastbourne, Hailsham and Tunbridge Wells. If you are coming by car, there is ample free car parking in Heathfield and a dedicated Cuckoo Trail car park (also free) at the entrance to Newnham Way, opposite Waitrose supermarket. For the return leg from Uckfield to Heathfield, you can catch Bus 31 from Uckfield High Street bus stop (adjacent to the rail station) directly back to Heathfield, a 21 minute journey. Buses normally run hourly Mon-Fri, with 4 buses on a Sat and NO SERVICE on a Sun. Check timetables before you travel and on Sundays you will need to make other arrangements, using taxis or two cars.
|Start to Cuckoo Trail Exit|
Start point: 50.9706 lat, 0.2482 long
From the bus stop beside Heathfield & Waldron Parish Council offices, proceed eastwards 150 metres along the High Street until you reach the Union Church where you turn right into Station Road. (NOTE: If you are continuing your walk from Trail Part 16, pick up the directions from this point.) Walk down the hill, crossing Station Approach, and join the Cuckoo Trail from the free car park at the entrance to Newnham Way (and opposite the Waitrose supermarket). This is well signposted.
|Cuckoo Trail Exit to Little London Road|
Start point: 50.959 lat, 0.2495 long
(The exit from the Cuckoo Trail can be identified by the featured image). Just 40 metres from the metal gate, a stile is hidden by undergrowth on the left (this is before the farm buildings). Cross this, follow the short length of wooden ranch-style fencing on your right and then walk diagonally right across the field (NOTE: there may be cattle in this field) towards the wooden gate just in sight. Take the stile to the right of the gate to enter the dense ancient woodland. Proceed straight ahead crossing the wooden bridge and following the wire stock fencing on the right.
|Little London Road to Hanging Birch Lane|
Start point: 50.9555 lat, 0.2348 long
Cross the main road diagonally right and enter the lane beside the Old Cannon House. After 50 metres, cross into the drive marked The Cottage and Garden Cottage and take the single white wooden gate (pictured). Follow the narrow track that leads down beside a wooden fence. The footpath into the woodland track is now clearly signposted. As the track winds downhill it bends to the right and you must watch carefully for the narrow, overgrown path that leads off on the left (this is signposted but can be easily missed). The steps, (with wooden handrail) can be seen just ahead of you and will help to identify the turning.
|Hanging Birch Lane to North Street|
Start point: 50.9565 lat, 0.2235 long
Turn right in Hanging Birch Lane, and almost immediately take the left turn into Back Lane, signposted Waldron 3/4.
|North Street to Possingworth Lane|
Start point: 50.9564 lat, 0.2038 long
From the kissing gate into North Street, turn right following the road as it bends to the left. Take the first turning on the left, marked Harpers Lane, and go straight over the crossroads into Brittenden Lane. After a short distance, a junction of 4 paths can be seen on a sharp bend. Take the first path on the left, signposted Oak Meadow (pictured). After 50 metres, take the signposted bridleway straight ahead.
|Possingworth Lane to Blackboys Inn|
Start point: 50.9607 lat, 0.1894 long
At Possingworth Lane turn right and walk 250 metres down the hill to the vehicle layby on the left, where you will see a gate with a stile to the right of it. Cross this stile and turn right almost immediately. Pass through the gate ahead of you and turn left, ignoring the bridge ahead. Follow the course of the stream on your right and ignore the first metal five bar gate.
|Blackboys Inn to Tickerage Mill|
Start point: 50.9623 lat, 0.1657 long
Leaving the Blackboys Inn, which is set back from the main road, turn left into School Lane (or turn right and immediately left into School Lane if you have not visited the pub) and walk along the pavement, until you meet the B2102. Turn Left, signposted Framfield & Uckfield, and, after 75 metres (and precisely where a 'SLOW' sign is painted on the road), turn right onto the footpath that runs between a hedge and wire stock fencing. The signpost leads you through allotments and on to the Vanguard Way straight ahead, ignoring the footpath marked to the right. Follow the track until you reach Terminus Road.
|Tickerage Mill to Uptons Mill|
Start point: 50.9689 lat, 0.1574 long
On your right, pass the splendid, Queen Anne, Tickerage Mill House, the onetime country home of actress Vivien Leigh. The featured image is unfortunately not visible from the lane. Cross the bridge over the millstream with views over the mill race where the famous actress was known to bathe and her ashes were finally scattered.
|Uptons Mill to Sandy Lane|
Start point: 50.9706 lat, 0.1423 long
On entry to Streele Lane, the Grade II listed Heavers Mill is ahead of you and, 100 metres down the road to the left, can be seen the 16th century, timber-framed, Uptons Mill (pictured). This has been re-fronted with red brick and grey headers on the ground floor and tile-hung above and is well worth the small diversion.
|Sandy Lane to Hempstead Mill|
Start point: 50.9692 lat, 0.1294 long
Turn right into Sandy Lane and pass the thatched Pound House on your left. Walk 800 metres along Sandy Lane and go straight over the crossroads with Etchingwood Lane. Just before the first bungalow on the right (Spurling Gate), turn right and immediately left in the vehicle layby. The wooden gate takes you downhill along a wide wooded and uneven path.
|Hempstead Mill to End|
Start point: 50.9761 lat, 0.1118 long
As you cross the bridge over the River Uck, you will see Hempstead Mill (pictured) on the right. This Grade II Listed, English Heritage, former mill house, is now sadly falling into disrepair, though its faded splendour is perfectly matched by the now tranquil mill race with overhanging Willow branches and wild flowers to create a gracious scene.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author DiSteele and may not be reproduced without permission.
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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