Before setting off I was puzzled as to why this route it zig zagged across the A265 but soon all became clear.
After walking up a very steep narrow path and through some farm buildings I was rewarded with the most fabulous views across the High Weald towards Mayfield. It was a lovely sunny day – a few white fluffy clouds in the sky – birds were singing and there seemed to be several varieties of butterflies fluttering around. Yesterday Robert had told me about an app called Chirp – I must download it!
The walk continued along country lanes with more stunning views- there were what looked like four rows of vines growing by The Old Workshop and I wondered how many bottles of wine they’d yield.
A bridleway, through meadows, led me down to a pretty wood with a very ancient looking oak tree guarding its entrance. There was a maze of paths through this wood and even using the GPS on my AllTrails app, didn’t stop me getting in a bit of a muddle and a bit lost.
In the midst of my muddle I stumbled upon Braylsham Castle with its castellated tower, Elizabethan-style wing, moat and drawbridge. Despite its appearance, the building is not medieval. It was constructed in the last decade of the 20th century by John and Jo Mew on the site of a derelict cottage they owned, inspired by the original Braylsham Castle (dating from about 1260). It looked positively enchanting and I felt as though I was in some sort of fairy tale.
Wandering back into the wood I met Moose, a beautiful Spinone Italiano (I’d never met a Spinone Italiano before) and Badger, a Golden Retriever. I chatted with their owners and told them what I was doing – they were walkers too. If it weren’t for their very helpful directions I think I might well still be wandering around in that enchanted wood.
Continuing along a lane, through fields with friendly cattle in and down again into another delightful wood I eventually arrived at the top of Heathfield and finished my walk at Hughes Solicitors. Rod and Hilary Hughes founded the firm eleven years ago and were generous supporters of FSH for many years before that – Rod served as a Trustee of FSH for several years.
With my walk over I drove to Hospice in the Weald’s Cottage Hospice at Five Ashes. The Cottage Hospice was opened in November last year and offers a new model of hospice care which enables patients to be cared for by their loved ones, in non-complex cases, in the dying phase.
I was greeted, at a distance of course, by Juliet Roberts – Volunteer, Holly Chowen – Lead Clinical Nurse Specialist, Sonia Burt – Volunteer and member of the FSH East Sussex Fundraising Committee, Kerry Norman – Acting Head of Cottage Hospice, and Helen McGee – Medical Director. The photos were taken by Georgia Clarke – Complementary Therapy Coordinator.
Hospice in the Weald provides care to patients with a terminal illness, their families and carers in West Kent and Northern East Sussex through it’s 15 bedded inpatient unit at Pembury, its new 10 bedded Cottage Hospice at Five Ashes, its Hospice in the Home service, it’s Day Care and bereavement support and counselling services. It costs £7.1 million to provide these services which are delivered free of charge to patients and their families – 10% of this is funded by the Government. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the Cottage Hospice has been designated a Covid-free site – patients are tested prior to admission – while the hospice at Pembury is admitting patients who may have the coronavirus.
This section of the trail was sponsored by Janie Childs in memory of her mother, Margie Childs. Janie, a stalwart FSH supporter and member of our East Sussex Fundraising and Ladies Luncheon Club committees is also responsible for the successful production and sales of FSH’s Christmas Cards.