Sussex Countryside and Pretty Villages
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This is a linear walk from Polegate to Lewes and is a repeat of a walk that I led last summer.
A beautiful walk amongst the green fields at the foot of the South Downs. From Polegate, north of Eastbourne to Lewes, through the villages of Folkington, Wilmington, Firle and Glynde. Passing the Long Man of Wilmington, Charleston Farmhouse and Firle Place and ending the walk with a climb to 146m on Mount Caburn, before descending to the county town of Lewes.
The Long Man of Wilmington: a hill figure on the steep slopes of Windover Hill. The Long Man stands 69.2 meters (227 feet) tall and is designed to look in proportion when viewed from below. It was formerly thought to originate from the Iron Age or even the Neolithic period, but more recent archaeological work has shown that the figure may have been cut in the 16th or 17th century AD.
Charleston Farmhouse: In 1916 the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant moved to Charleston Farmhouse and over the following half century Charleston became the country meeting place for the group of artists, writers and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Set.
Firle Estate: Firle derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘Fierol’ meaning ‘oak covered land’. The Estate sits on ancient downland chalk landscapes, spread across four villages at the foot of The Firle Beacon. The main house and Estate are owned by the Gage family.
Mount Caburn: a 146m hill, one of the highest landmarks in East Sussex, about a mile east of Lewes overlooking the village of Glynde. It is an isolated part of the South Downs, separated by Glynde Reach, a tributary of the River Ouse. It commands magnificent views over the surrounding countryside and is a popular launching point for hang-gliders.
Lewes: the county town of East Sussex (and historically of the whole of Sussex). A popular market town, with many antique shops and pubs. The town was the site of the Battle of Lewes in 1264, and landmarks include Lewes Castle, Lewes Priory and Anne of Cleves House.
What to bring
Water: bring at least two litres
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Boots: waterproof and breathable and designed for hiking, trainers are OK if the ground is dry and there’s little chance of rain
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy summer days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch
Food & drink
Please bring a packed lunch and plenty of water. There is a Co-Op shop by Polegate station to buy drinks and snacks. There are tea rooms at Charleston Farmhouse and Firle House, which we may be able to stop at, if time allows. There are lots of restaurants and pubs at the end of the walk, in Lewes.