A glorious walk followed by a Sussex Bonfire extravaganza.
24 people attending
6 places left
Every Autumn, Sussex celebrates the bonfire season and for enthusiasts, there is a parade, grand bonfire and firework display most weekends across the county during this time. The most well-known of these is Lewes, which has several bonfire societies so plenty of things to see on their bonfire night, which is always on the 5th November unless it falls on a Sunday.
I live in Robertsbridge, a small village south of Tunbridge Wells and north of Battle and Hastings. I have run a walk on our event day twice now and all who have attended have been amazed at the fantastic displays of the numerous societies marching in costume through the village by the light of their blazing torches as well as the spectacular firework display which follows the lighting of the bonfire.
We will start with a brief guided tour of Robertsbridge village so you can see, by daylight, where the evening's events will unfold. After that we will head gently uphill past hop gardens and through fields and woods towards the hamlet of Staplecross, where we can stop in their recreation ground for a bit of a snack. After this a gradual descent through more undulating countryside until we approach, from the south this year, the National Trust's very popular and impressive Bodiam Castle.
The Sussex Border Path goes through the grounds and indeed right by the moat, so we pass that, go out the other side and up a hill to look down on the property and across vineyards to the Bodiam steam line across the valley, then back down the same hill, round the other side of the castle and across the road to the Castle Inn where we shall have a late lunch. Half of the restaurant is booked for us. The Castle Inn at Bodiam https://www.castleinnbodiam.co.uk
We will leave there mid afternoon for a flat three mile walk along the Rother Valley, following the river and old railway (and possible future steam line) track until, as the light fades, we reach the Salehurst Halt pub just outside Robertsbridge. We need to 'kill' about an hour and a half there as we wait for the time between sundown and the bonfire celebrations starting.
This is a very small but very popular country pub and while there will be shooting parties there when we arrive, they will probably gradually filter away and be replaced by us and by other bonfire visitors. There is room outside if we can't get in at first. I believe that their kitchen will be open so snacks may be able to be purchased there, but there will be catering vans in the village as well.
Anybody who does not wish to remain longer can leave the walk before we reach the pub and I can direct you back to the station. Alternatively you can come to the pub and leave after that!
The next section is an unlit country lane for about half a mile, so please bring a torch if you have one. We will cross the A21 and walk along the now closed roads into the village. There will be a lot of people about at this time which is why the morning village tour should help with night time navigation, particularly as our group will inevitably split up.
I will leave the group at the village side of the A21 to take my dog home.
At 7.15pm there will be a very loud bang which is the signal for the procession to start- from the station car park. I have brochures for everyone as a guide and souvenir for the evening.
If you want to come to the evening without doing the walk you are perfectly free to do so, while those who just wish to walk can do this too, but you would miss out on so much.
After the bonfire celebrations, both the George Inn and Robertsbridge Club will probably have live bands playing. For a small country village, this event is very impressive and I really look forward to sharing it with you, fellow Outdoor Lads, again.The bonfire event is free, although donations are very welcome.
This event is NOT suitable for dogs and while mine will be with me during the walk, she will be taken home before the evening celebrations.
What to bring
Please be aware that due to the rain we have had, it will be very muddy in places so good boots are a necessity, along with waterproofs, just in case. The bonfire celebrations normally go ahead regardless of the weather. If you have a small torch that will be a good idea but most places are well lit in and near the village.
Food & drink
Please bring a snack for our mid-morning stop. We will be having lunch at the Castle Inn public house. There will be vendors on the streets during the evening. Don't forget water to keep yourself hydrated. There are shops in Robertsbridge village.