Robertsbridge Bonfire celebrations 30th Anniversary day walk
15 people attending
15 places left
Sussex is my home and one cannot live here without being aware of the annual bonfire night festivities. 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. However, all of the Sussex (and one in Kent) bonfire societies have their own event and as well which means that they as well as the enthusiastic public can go to many bonfire nights in each season and walk in shared processions.
I live in Robertsbridge, a small village south of Tunbridge Wells and north of Battle and Hastings. I have run a walk for Outdoor Lads three times previously for this event and all who have attended have been amazed that such a spectacle can be achieved in a small place like this.
Come therefore to see for yourself the fantastic displays of the numerous societies parading in costume through the village by the light of their blazing torches in three separate march pasts. After that there will be an awesome firework display which follows the lighting of the high and dramatic bonfire.
As this is the 30th time that Robertsbridge Bonfire has run this event, it is promised to be even more spectacular than usual. I am not sure how they plan to achieve that.
Obviously I am aware that nobody currently knows if events like this will be able to take place, but I am being optimistic!
Our destination this year will once again be the National Trust's very popular and impressive Bodiam Castle. I have led several walks to this wonderful place and each time, I try to make the outward route a little different. There are lots of options, fortunately.
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 through the countryside in a circuitous route to the castle.
The Sussex Border Path goes through the grounds and indeed right by the moat, so we shall be able to follow this route to walk right round the castle without paying anything. After that we shall go to the Castle Inn where we shall have a late lunch.
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, which is where your torch (or phone if you have enough battery left for that as well as the evening) will be useful. 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 will hope to 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.
This is a very good first event as the walk is not too strenuous and the focus on the day is very much about socialising and getting to know each other, with several pub opportunities from the lunch and into the evening. If you have never been on an Outdoor Lads event before, you will be made very welcome.
What to bring
Please be aware that it is likely to be 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 as well. 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.