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Jay Walking

Vanguard Way: Buxted to Berwick Station

I met a friend at 10PM outside Buxted station, after he sorted out he kit and other bits and bobs we headed off along the main road, stopping at the one shop to pick up some snacks. We were soon back on the route and despite it being a nice day, we immediately found ourselves on a very muddy path, due the heavy rain over the previous few days. The path was not too long and we were soon walking Southwards on a small road. We headed along this for a kilometre or so going pass various farm buldings, before heading along muddy footpaths though woods and farmlands, heading up and down across a series of small valleys. At one small river we crossed we met up with the Wealdway for a short while before it headed off Southwards and we continued towards the small village of Blackboys, which we reached after a bit of confusion, as we missed one of the signposts showing the route. We passed through the small village, and found ourselves outside the village pub, which I was surprised to recognise having stayed there a few years ago.

A hedge lined muddy path at the start of the day's walk
Signpost at the meeting of the Vanguard Way and Wealdway

Crossing the road opposite the pub, we headed along muddy and waterlogged paths, the area brought back memories of walking my old dog around here. We passed though some wood to reach a road, the sun was lovely and warm and the sky was clear of clouds, it was shaping up to be a really nice day. The route after Blackboys was mainly on roads with occasional tracks though farm lands, we again encounter very muddy and water logged paths, though at one point someone had been good enough to cover a bad patch next to a stile with wood chips.

The Blackboys Pub
View South along the route, showing a field of grass and trees in the distance.  The sky is a little cloudy.

We reached the village of Chiddingly around 2:30PM, another spot where the Vanguard Way once again meets the Wealdway. The village pub, called The Six Bells was a few metres away from the route and we stopped there for a quick drink and a longer break. The pub was old, busy despite the heat had a fire inside, though we sat on some benches out the front. I thought that we would easily be in time for the train from Berwick at around 5 PM, so stopping for a while seemed like a good idea.

Six bells pub at Chiddingly, a brick building directly on the road, with Six Bells Free House written on it
A small wooden bridge in a woods, partly covered by water.  A man is crossing it using the handrail

We left the village following the route though the church before heading off across a large field which headed downhill to a small stream and a bridge. It should have been a small stream and an easy crossing of the bridge but the recent rain had raised the flooded the area and the bridge was under water. Crossing the bridge in the normal way would have mean’t getting very wet feet, so we had to cross by holding on to the balustrade and crossing crab like across the bridge. Falling in would not have been fun but we both made it without getting wet feet.

We headed on until we reached a busy road, which we crossed. A small footpath that was filled with water and mud led to a track and the Mohair Centre, a farm which seemed to be a visitor attraction, or at least had been as there was no one there, though there were a variety of animals in evidence. We saw a couple of breeds of sheep, some llamas or alpacas but the place looked a little run down, I assume that there were some Mohair sheep but I’m not expert enough in sheep to tell the difference. We left the centre crossing a water logged field, heading towards the South East until we reached a trackway heading towards the South West.

A tree lined trackway heading off into the distance.

The trackway was more like an avenue, being quite wide and tree lined, it was very pleasant in the afternoon warmth and as it went on for a few kilometres it was good to be away from the boggy water logged paths we had frequently encountered today. We met a few people walking dogs but there were few cars or other people about. After a couple of kilometres the track changed into a small road, and after another kilometre we turned off for the final few kilometres to Berwick station where we were going to get the train to Eastbourne for an overnight stay. We had about 25 minutes to cover the 2km which I thought would be fine, and we ambled along though fields, past and through some farm buildings. We should have really picked up the pace as we discovered that we were still quite far from the train station with a fair distance to go in the time available. We now picked up the pace to a fast walk, which gradually turned into a shambling jog on slippery paths once we got to outskirts of Berwick. As the train station came into view, we could hear the bells for the crossing ringing, the train was already in the station. Luckily we didn’t have to cross the tracks and just managed to make the train, the alternative would have mean’t a hours wait so I was glad we made it.

We spent the night in Eastbourne, after dinner looking for a pub that we like but couldn’t find one that didn’t have loud music or massive crowds, though eventually we discovered the Old Town and found a few decent places though they were still crowded and loud, we had a few drinks, witnessed a minor altercation in the second one and went back to our hotel.