Author Topic: Weald Way - Gravesend to Eastbourne  (Read 400 times)

Warbler

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Weald Way - Gravesend to Eastbourne
« on: 11:42:54, 29/08/20 »
I'm considering walking the Weald Way, starting next weekend. I'll be staying overnight in budget hotels along the way and using public transport to get to some of them.

It's an area of the country I know very little about, so any advice/info from forumites who've walked this route or know the area would be appreciated.

Is the route well waymarked?
Does the Youth Hostel at Blackboys still exist?
What features or places of interest should I be looking out for?

Thanks in advance.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Weald Way - Gravesend to Eastbourne
« Reply #1 on: 12:51:01, 29/08/20 »
I've not walked the Weald Way as such, but I have walked almost all of the trail between Gravesend and Tonbridge at various times on my Kent circular routes.

The route takes you through some of the most scenic and picturesque areas of Kent - once you're out of Gravesend and have crossed the footbridge over the A2 that is!

Off the top of my head for now, I think that the incredible Hadlow Tower (at Hadlow) is worth taking a short diversion along some good footpaths to see (although you'll be able to see it from miles away anyway). Also, I especially like the area around leafy Vigo Village where the North Downs Way crosses the WW. Working backwards again, I absolutely love the area around Luddesdown with the chalky white hills.

Dovegirl

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Re: Weald Way - Gravesend to Eastbourne
« Reply #2 on: 14:21:58, 29/08/20 »
I've walked some of the Wealdway in Sussex and a bit in Kent.

One of the highlights is the section over the high, rolling heathlands of Ashdown Forest. I hope the heather will still be in flower when you go! 

In Buxted Park it's worth detouring from the route for a few minutes to see the beautiful lake.

Between Beachy Head and Eastbourne the route passes Cow Gap. A short detour leads down to steps giving access to the shore below the cliffs. A short walk westwards along the shore affords a spectacular view of the Beachy Head lighthouse. But one needs to be extremely careful of the tide times.

When I walked the stretch westwards from Tonbridge last year, the underpass under the A21 south of Lower Haysden was blocked and I did some roadwalking to get round it.  I don't know if it's been reopened.

Where the route crosses the railway line near Hempstead Farm Stud, to the west of Uckfield, the crossing has been closed. From the East Sussex County Council map, it looks as if a diversion is now in place. I've always used Hempstead Lane to cross the line.

https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/leisureandtourism/countryside/rightsofway/map/

gunwharfman

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Re: Weald Way - Gravesend to Eastbourne
« Reply #3 on: 14:33:31, 29/08/20 »
Having lived in Kent for most of my youth I can agree with all of the opinions, I think Kent and East and West Sussex are extremely good walking areas and have a number of long routes. Do you look at www.gps-routes.co.uk, the Weald Way is described there, plus the OS route to download, or if you prefer the OpenStreetMap version. In addition to the Hadlow Tower suggestion, Hadlow around 100 years ago was the scene of a disaster, a number of farmworkers were crossing a bridge nearby and it collapsed and many were drowned. I believe the new (or repaired?) bridge is still there and a plaque is nearby.

Warbler

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Re: Weald Way - Gravesend to Eastbourne
« Reply #4 on: 15:59:40, 31/08/20 »
I've not walked the Weald Way as such, but I have walked almost all of the trail between Gravesend and Tonbridge at various times on my Kent circular routes.

The route takes you through some of the most scenic and picturesque areas of Kent - once you're out of Gravesend and have crossed the footbridge over the A2 that is!

Off the top of my head for now, I think that the incredible Hadlow Tower (at Hadlow) is worth taking a short diversion along some good footpaths to see (although you'll be able to see it from miles away anyway). Also, I especially like the area around leafy Vigo Village where the North Downs Way crosses the WW. Working backwards again, I absolutely love the area around Luddesdown with the chalky white hills.


Cheers Dave. I've noted your highlights and will look out for them  O0

I've walked some of the Wealdway in Sussex and a bit in Kent.

One of the highlights is the section over the high, rolling heathlands of Ashdown Forest. I hope the heather will still be in flower when you go! 

In Buxted Park it's worth detouring from the route for a few minutes to see the beautiful lake.

When I walked the stretch westwards from Tonbridge last year, the underpass under the A21 south of Lower Haysden was blocked and I did some roadwalking to get round it.  I don't know if it's been reopened.

Where the route crosses the railway line near Hempstead Farm Stud, to the west of Uckfield, the crossing has been closed. From the East Sussex County Council map, it looks as if a diversion is now in place. I've always used Hempstead Lane to cross the line.

https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/leisureandtourism/countryside/rightsofway/map/

Thanks Dovegirl. I've heard about Ashdown Forest and I'm looking forward to that stretch, and I'll keep an eye out for the lake  O0

I've noted your two potential obstacles. For the one at the A21 I can see a road route that will add just over a mile if the underpass is still blocked. For the one near Uckfield I'll probably just use Hempstead Lane as you do. Thanks for the warning.

Having lived in Kent for most of my youth I can agree with all of the opinions, I think Kent and East and West Sussex are extremely good walking areas and have a number of long routes. Do you look at www.gps-routes.co.uk, the Weald Way is described there, plus the OS route to download, or if you prefer the OpenStreetMap version. In addition to the Hadlow Tower suggestion, Hadlow around 100 years ago was the scene of a disaster, a number of farmworkers were crossing a bridge nearby and it collapsed and many were drowned. I believe the new (or repaired?) bridge is still there and a plaque is nearby.


GWM, I'll be using A4 OS mapping printouts, with Viewranger or OS app on my phone as a back-up.


Warbler

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Re: Weald Way - Gravesend to Eastbourne
« Reply #5 on: 13:01:42, 11/09/20 »
I managed to get to Gravesend last Saturday to start this trail.

Working backwards again, I absolutely love the area around Luddesdown with the chalky white hills.

For me Luddesdown was where the walk really started. Looking down on Luddesdown church from Henley Down was where the views really opened up. There was a local cricket match going on next to the church, so I sat on the grass and watched for 20 minutes or so while having a late lunch. Splendid.


One of the highlights is the section over the high, rolling heathlands of Ashdown Forest. I hope the heather will still be in flower when you go! 

In Buxted Park it's worth detouring from the route for a few minutes to see the beautiful lake.

When I walked the stretch westwards from Tonbridge last year, the underpass under the A21 south of Lower Haysden was blocked and I did some roadwalking to get round it.  I don't know if it's been reopened.

Where the route crosses the railway line near Hempstead Farm Stud, to the west of Uckfield, the crossing has been closed. From the East Sussex County Council map, it looks as if a diversion is now in place. I've always used Hempstead Lane to cross the line.

https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/leisureandtourism/countryside/rightsofway/map/

I passed through Ashdown Forest and Buxted Park on the same day. I think these were the highlights of the whole trail. I wish Id had more time to savour them.

The underpass under the A21 is now open, so no need for a road walking detour.

The route across the railway line has now changed. It now crosses a couple of hundred yards further north-east. This is reflected on OS online mapping as opposed to my obviously unrevised paper map (OL25), which leads you to where the crossing is blocked, as you had forewarned me.

Dovegirl

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Re: Weald Way - Gravesend to Eastbourne
« Reply #6 on: 13:57:03, 11/09/20 »
I passed through Ashdown Forest and Buxted Park on the same day. I think these were the highlights of the whole trail. I wish Id had more time to savour them.

The underpass under the A21 is now open, so no need for a road walking detour.

The route across the railway line has now changed. It now crosses a couple of hundred yards further north-east. This is reflected on OS online mapping as opposed to my obviously unrevised paper map (OL25), which leads you to where the crossing is blocked, as you had forewarned me.

Glad you enjoyed Ashdown Forest and Buxted Park. 

Many thanks for the updates on the A21 underpass and the railway crossing.