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Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfield

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Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfield
Author: , Published: 27 Aug 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star0  Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfieldstar0  Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfieldstar0  Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfieldstar0  Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfieldstar0  Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfield
East Sussex, Burwash Common
Walk Type: Long distance path
Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfield
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot  Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfield boot  Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfield boot  Sussex Hospices Trail Part 16: Burwash Common to Heathfield
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IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a linear route which relies on a bus for the return journey which runs Mon-Sat only. On Sundays you will need to use taxis.

A 6 mile linear walk from Burwash Common to Heathfield, forming the 16th stretch of the Sussex Hospices Trail. The route includes woodlands, grazing pastures, streams and meadows with short stretches of country lane, all within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along the way you will see Braylsham Castle (pictured), a medieval-style castle built from scratch in 1993, as well as the Grade II listed Pottens Mill Farm.

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 a few fairly gentle inclines. The walk difficulty has been slightly upgraded due to the fact that several of the paths are very rarely used so not well-trodden and careful attention to the map is required (an OS map is a useful addition). There are a variety of stiles to cross, suitable throughout for medium sized dogs, and two gates that appear to be impassable for dogs, but closer inspection reveals chains with spring gate clips. You are likely to come across cattle in two of the fields with some friendly horses in the fifth section. Allow 4 hours.

The only available hospitality on the route is at your destination in Heathfield where a variety of cafes and restaurants can be found.

The only public transport to Burwash Common is the No. 31 bus which runs from Haywards Heath (via Uckfield and Heathfield) to Burwash Common, terminating at Hurst Green. The same bus can be used for the return leg. Buses normally run about every 2 hours Mon-Fri, with 4 buses on a Saturday and NO SERVICE on a Sunday. Check timetables before you travel and on Sundays you will need to make other arrangements, using taxis or two cars.

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Walk Sections

Start to Cross A265
Start to Cross A265

Start point: 50.9864 lat, 0.3354 long
End point: 50.9863 lat, 0.327 long

From the No. 31 bus stop on the main A265 in Burwash Common, walk on the pavement for a few metres until you see the junction of Vicarage Road and the A265 at the 40mph sign. Just into Vicarage Road you will find a rather concealed waymarker sign pointing right uphill. This takes you up a narrow incline with a hedge to your left and a picket fence on the right.

After about 150 metres you emerge on to a road and turn right. Ignore the private drive on the right and turn right opposite a gate marked ‘Common Service Reservoir’. Go through the double gate and pass through a covered enclosure between two farm buildings. Proceed straight ahead then through a small gate. The direction shown on the waymarker is slightly misleading; you must go straight ahead with the wire stock fencing on your right. Take a moment to admire the fabulous views across the High Weald towards Mayfield. At the end of the field, turn left and follow the hedge for a few metres (going past a small gate), until you find and go through a gap in the hedge on your right.

Cross a small patch of scrub, ignoring the path to the left, and find a stile straight ahead. Cross the stile and keep direction with a dense gorse hedge on your right. NOTE: There may be cattle in this field (pictured), they were curious but calm when we walked. At the end of the field there is a stile on the right which takes you to meet a small lane. Turn right and walk down the lane for about 200 metres where you will once again meet the A265.

Cross A265 to Bigknowle Hill
Cross A265 to Bigknowle Hill

Start point: 50.9863 lat, 0.327 long
End point: 50.993 lat, 0.3106 long

Cross the busy A265 with care and turn left at an acute angle down Foxhole Lane (unnamed). Follow this road for about 800 metres, admiring the panoramic Wealden views to your right.

This area is served by the aptly named Hospice in the Weald. The hospice works to ensure that anyone affected by a terminal illness, whether that is a patient, a family member or carer, has the best possible quality of life from the moment of diagnosis. Find out how to make a donation to support this excellent work at the end of this walking guide.

When Foxhole Lane bears right, take the turning on the left, and keep straight ahead until you meet the crossroads with Swife Lane. Go straight across into Bigknowle Hill (signposted) and then turn right. At the next crossroads, turn left, signposted to The Chalet Farm and Taylors Farm.

Bigknowle Hill to Pottens Mill Lane
Bigknowle Hill to Pottens Mill Lane

Start point: 50.993 lat, 0.3106 long
End point: 50.9932 lat, 0.2917 long

Follow the metalled road which soon changes into a track, passing Chalet Farm and The Old Workshop. When you reach the gate to Taylors Farm on your right, turn left (signposted) into the field, passing some stables on your right. Climb the slope to the top where you will find a bridleway sign directing you right. Proceed a few metres to the next bridleway sign which points you down a hay field with trees and hedges on your right.

At the bottom of the field, curve left ignoring the gate on your right. Within a few metres you will find a bridleway sign and path that lead you into a wood on the right. An ancient oak tree on the left is visible. Continue straight ahead ignoring a footpath sign pointing left and any temptation to stray off the track. The criss-crossing and winding paths can seem confusing in the extreme! Keeping to the straight (and not too narrow) path, you go through a metal gate for riders and, within a few metres, you will find a short track leading left to an intriguing view of a balustrade. This is worth a quick detour. Venture down this track and you will be rewarded with a glimpse of Braylsham Castle with its castellated tower, Elizabethan-style wing and complete with moat and drawbridge. Here (according to the website) you can book a romantic weekend for two with fine food and intelligent conversation, hosted by owner Professor John Mew.

Returning to the bridle path, continue straight ahead then left over a footbridge (pictured) after which you curve between two ponds, complete with lily pads and wild iris in the summer. Walk up towards the farm buildings on the right, through a gate and on to a rough track. Soon you reach a metalled track leading to Pottens Mill Farm; here you turn left. Follow the track ignoring a footpath sign to the left but admiring the horses head gateway and catching a glimpse of the Braylsham Castle turret through the trees.

Continue straight up the track for a total of about 500 metres until you reach Pottens Mill Lane at a house called Woozels.

Pottens Mill Lane to Street End Lane
Pottens Mill Lane to Street End Lane

Start point: 50.9932 lat, 0.2917 long
End point: 50.9876 lat, 0.2872 long

Turn left down Pottens Mill Lane, ignoring the stile and waymark straight ahead. Walk for about 500 metres down this very quiet and charming country lane, between ancient hedgerows, until it swings left to meet (just after Rock Farm and at an acute angle) Street End Lane. Walk down Street End Lane for about 450 metres, passing Street End Farm and a post box on the left. Immediately after the house named Hornbeam Wood on your right you will find, also on the right, a waymarker footpath sign (along with a notice that dogs not on a lead will be shot, when we walked).

Street End Lane to Newick Lane
Street End Lane to Newick Lane

Start point: 50.9876 lat, 0.2872 long
End point: 50.9826 lat, 0.269 long

Go over this stile and take your bearings from a distant electricity pylon on the horizon. Using that as your guide descend down the field to find a gap in the far hedge. This leads obliquely left to pass through a rusted gate (with a hidden gate clip fastening) and waymarker sign. Continue across the stream, up the rough bank and through a further gate (similarly fastened). Enter the field and make for the top left-hand corner, to the left of a horse shelter. The horses are friendly but according to their owner, dislike umbrellas! Exit by the gate adjacent to the metalled drive.

Go straight ahead following a wire stock fence and continue to the left, crossing a waymarked stile. Turn right to a further waymarked stile, which you cross and veer left alongside a wire fence on to a track. Follow this for about 300 metres. (NOTE: The OS map shows a couple of footpaths in this vicinity but they are indistinct on the ground). Ignore any subtle path possibility and continue on the track until it turns left. At this point search for a stile and waymarker (probably in amongst the tangled vegetation) on your right.

When you have found it, cross and drop on to a rough field with a hedge on your left. The next paths, although waymarked, are little walked and complex, so care in navigation is needed!

Keeping the hedge to your left, cross the field and go over a waymarked stile and immediately beware of the remains of a wire fence. Continue straight across an area of very rough vegetation; cross a waymarked stile to find a ruined mobile home on your right. Veer left up a slope, past a derelict brick building on the right to find yourself in an open space. Ahead on your left is the back end of another large green, derelict caravan. Go round its right-hand side up to a white shed facing you. Turn right, then left and right following the large unofficial, but helpful, arrows. Follow a close-boarded fence on your right to reach a footbridge and metal gate. Continue straight ahead with hedge on your left to cross a waymarked stile; continue through scrub into a field, keeping straight ahead and over another waymarked stile.

Veer left through a copse, to where there is a ruined caravan in the scrub on your right and then reach a small brick dwelling with a crossing path of broken tiles. Turn right round the dwelling (waymarked) and immediately left down a bank to a copse and a footbridge over a rusty stream. Once again we are reminded that the whole of this area was once the major iron producing region of England. Now bear left up a wooded bank to a waymarked stile.

You are now in a rising field with a tall hedge on your left. After a few metres up the slope you will see in the distance another hedge at right angles for only part of the width of the field; you are aiming at its right-hand edge whence another hedge drops down the reverse slope. You must keep this final hedge on your left as, keeping direction, you descend the slope. Several of these fields ahead of you are inter-connected and likely to be occupied by a large number of bullocks. Descend the hill with final hedge on your left.

At the end of this hedge you enter a wood through a waymarked gate. Follow the track (which is likely to become very muddy) up to an apparent fork. Go to the left round the edge of a field, up some formal stone steps and keep to the extreme left-hand side of the cultivated garden. Continue straight ahead, keeping all buildings on your right. At the ornate iron gate take the small rusty gate on the left, keep the house on your right and emerge, no doubt with some relief, onto Newick Lane. The rest of the walk is relatively simple!

Newick Lane to Marklye Lane
Newick Lane to Marklye Lane

Start point: 50.9826 lat, 0.269 long
End point: 50.9818 lat, 0.2583 long

Turn left down Newick Lane and cross with great care as this is busy short-cut for traffic to Mayfield. Keeping on the right-hand verge you will find in 75 metres a waymarked narrow path to the right (by a safety mirror) which takes you between close-boarded fences to a field. Keep straight ahead with the hedge on your right, to a waymarked stile (which may be hidden in bracken).

Cross and walk ahead through two gates. Ignore a track entering from the left and take the concrete pathway until it bears right to a house. At this bend, cross the waymarked stile on the left and walk straight ahead across the field to enter a wood. Keeping a wire stock fence on your left, cross a gate and two stiles (both waymarked), pass an official diversion sign and two further waymarked stiles, keeping straight ahead until, via an overgrown path, you reach Marklye Farm on your left and Marklye Lane ahead.

Marklye Lane to End
Marklye Lane to End

Start point: 50.9818 lat, 0.2583 long
End point: 50.9707 lat, 0.2483 long

Turn left down Marklye Lane and walk for about 900 metres until you meet the crossroads with the A265. Cross at the traffic lights to the kitchen shop opposite and turn right down the main road. After 800 metres you are now in the town centre of Heathfield. If you are continuing onto Trail Part 17, turn left at the mini-roundabout into Station Road. Otherwise, cross the mini-roundabout keeping straight ahead and, in 200 metres, near the end of the parade of shops, you are by Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council offices and the bus stops that mark the end of Part 16 of the Sussex Hospices Trail.

We hope you have enjoyed walking this stretch of the Sussex Hospices Trail. Its creation was possible thanks to the kind donation from Janie Childs in memory of her mother, Margie Childs. Janie is delighted to support Friends of Sussex Hospices by sponsoring this part of the trail which passes near to her home in Newick.

Hospices deliver their services for free but such care is not cheap and they largely depend on funds raised from their local communities. We would be very grateful if you would consider making a donation either to your local hospice, wherever that may be, or to the Friends of Sussex Hospices in order to support these invaluable services. Tap the Listen button below (App only) to hear Kathy Gore, Chair of Friends of Sussex Hospices, explaining why donations are so important.

Friends of Sussex Hospices, Registered Charity No. 1089306

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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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