Walk 3521 - printer friendly version
Wittersham to Rye (High Weald Landscape Trail) Walk
Author - Peter Smyly
Length - 7.5 miles / 12.2 km
Ascent - 400 feet / 121 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference TQ900273
Lat 51.013689 + Long 0.70727752
Postcode TN30 7PG (approx. location only)
The High Weald Landscape Trail (HWLT) runs for 90 miles (140 kilometres) between Horsham in West Sussex and Rye in East Sussex. This walk features an essentially linear eight mile route that features the last section of the trail. Therefore, necessary transport arrangements will need to be planned in advance since the walk does not return to the start point. The walk presents no difficulties from a terrain point of view and is mostly either on the level or along gentle slopes up or down. There are a number of wooden stiles to cross and the route is mostly along public footpaths with the occasional road. There is a variety of landscape including rolling countryside, rivers and streams, a large and picturesque pond, two old churches, fields, woodland, farms, rural settlements, a couple of orchards and, fittingly, a grand view towards the end of the town of Rye perched on a hilltop, the final destination of the walk. Although the route is waymarked, there are a few points where careful attention to detail is necessary to find the way to continue as the way to go next is not immediately obvious. As with walking in the countryside generally, it is advisable to have a map and compass and to know how to use them.
From the sign for the Ewe and Lamb at Wittersham on the Isle of Oxney, formerly a pub, follow a road called The Street due south as far as a church on the left. A public footpath directly opposite on the right leads north-west to join up with the HWLT and passes south-west through the first orchard on the walk. The route winds its way between rows of apple trees before descending to a wooden stile and continues across a field. A narrow path with vegetation on the left and a field on the right then leads to another wooden stile, then across a field to a secondary road. Sheep may be seen grazing in the field to the right. Follow the road ahead and cross Blackwall Bridge over the River Rother on the Rother Levels. It is at this point that the HWLT joins the Sussex Border Path.
The road ahead, bordered by brambles with ripe blackberries at the right time of year, leads to a wooden stile on the right which continues the HWLT off-road, through woods briefly before taking a diagonal traverse across a cultivated field along a narrow path which, once located, is easy to follow. Cross the fields ahead until a point is reached at Decoypond Ditch where the way ahead may not be immediately obvious. It is now necessary to bear right for about fifty yards where there may be cows in the field ahead, then cross a wooden stile on the left near to a small footbridge over a stream. Next, cross the ploughed field ahead to cross another wooden stile and follow a narrow path alongside a wheat field on the left before emerging into the open via another wooden stile. Shortly after this is a path junction where the Sussex Border Path and HWLT go their separate ways. Take the path to the left and a glimpse may be seen of the pretty Decoy Pond through trees on the right, however it is worth a closer look by leaving the track briefly to reach its shore.
Next the path passes through woodland, across a minor road and then a grassy field. At this point, it is necessary to correctly locate a stile on the other side of the field as the route re-enters woodland at Mill Wood. At the next road junction at Flackley Ash, it is necessary to cross the A268 and follow the pavement as the road goes downhill and Jempson's Superstore is seen on the right. Just before the car park outside the superstore , turn right over a wooden stile that leads across fields and another left turn at the next road leads into the village of Peasmarsh. Follow the pavement on the right hand side through a residential area.
The walk continues with a path off to the right, uphill across Peasmarsh Park with an optional diversion to see the second church on the walk by way of a path to the right through a corn field. After visiting the church, continue down a road to the left and then a path on the right past the second orchard of the walk on the left. This path leads back to the HWLT and follow a country track which reveals an open aspect to the right with a distant low ridge reminiscent of the Chilterns, while ahead reveals the view mentioned in the first paragraph, looking towards Rye on its hilltop with the sea beyond
The path now goes gently downhill past Clayton Farm to meet up with the River Tillingham which is especially pretty when seen in early evening sunlight, on the right. From here it is about a mile back to Rye with the path and river meandering in different directions, sometimes meeting before houses appear on the right to announce a return to civilisation. Cross a busy main road with the windmill straight ahead. A narrow path takes you past the windmill, now a B&B, before you cross the railway line to return to Rye town centre and the end of the HWLT at Strand Quay.