Crowhurst To Battle Walk

Crowhurst To Battle Walk

by Robert Veitch

Robert Veitch laced up his boots for this month’s walk, marching through the ages, across the landscape of 1066 and this historic corner of the county.

Leaving the wide expanse of Crowhurst Station via the rear of platform 1, follow Station Road downhill, beyond the multitudes of commuter cars for just over one-third of a mile, until the road comes to an end.

Cross the road at the T-junction and enter St George’s Church cemetery opposite. Just beyond the glorious giant Oak on the right, is a tree for the ages on the left – The Crowhurst Yew. The knarled and twisted trunk has a beauty of it’s own and it’s quite bewildering to realise this tree was here at the time of William the Conqueror’s invasion. It’s thought it could be around 1,300 years old, possibly planted by the Saxons. King Harold owned the Manor of Crowhurst, which the Normans destroyed prior to the Battle of Hastings. Fortunately the Norman invaders sourced their firewood elsewhere.

Beyond the yew, follow the path around the back of the church to the junction with Forewood Lane. Turn left and wander along the path for 200m, turning left again by the metal gate and fingerpost indicating the 1066 walk.

The path follows the right side of the field initially, before rolling downhill across the middle, into the gully beyond, as far as the seven-bar gate.

Across the field of Rapeseed is a stile, which is the access point into the RSPB’s Fore Wood Nature Reserve. Follow the route downhill, passing a small pond on the right. The path rolls up and down through the woodland geography, veering right and uphill when timber stacks hove into sight. The musical overtures of miniature modern day descendants of Pteradactyls inhabit the airwaves like an avian orchestra. Walkers who know their birds may be able to spot the Chaffinch, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch and Redwing that all live here.

A small bench on the right appears a few steps before the gate, and bridge over the Powdermill Stream.

Across the field, turn right at the fingerpost, walking around the side of the metal seven-bar gate. From here it’s uphill and around the left hand bend as far as the T-junction. Turn right and follow the track downhill, under the power lines and back across the Powdermill Stream by the small waterfall that lies upstream.

Follow the track as it weaves a way through the scenery, a ribbon cutting it’s way through the landscape. The black oast at Peppering Eye is topped with a white cowl and cockerel themed weather vane. Beyond this it’s no more than one-fifth of a mile to the junction with Telham Lane at the end of the track.

Turn left onto Telham Lane and walk 100m along the road to the junction with Powdermill Lane. Cross the road with care, aiming for the fingerpost opposite. Up the bank and over the stile, the footpath hugs the edge of the field. At the top of the field, pass through a pair of small metal gates and then down the loose stone path, which becomes packed earth as it flattens out and then begins to clamber uphill. Beyond another couple of gates, grass replaces the earth and the path heads towards a solitary Horse Chestnut on the horizon. Beyond this is a fingerpost where the walk joins the 1066 footpath from Rye to Pevensey.

The path is wide and leads to a gate, beyond which is a red brick wall, speckled with ivy. The wall emerges into civilisation and the historic town of Battle. Continue east, across the entrance to the Abbey Gate House (remembering the Crowhurst Yew is older than everything you can see) towards the quadrant arch.

The path follows the ancient boundary wall of the Abbey, along the road towards the mini roundabout. It’s thought that the roundabout marks the point where the course of British history changed with the flight of that apocryphal arrow in October 1066.

At the mini roundabout turn right and walk downhill for about 400m, before turning left and bimbling downhill for the final furlong to Battle Station, to complete this march through time.

Distance: 4 miles

Walk Time: Between 2 and 3 hours

Stiles: 2

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 124

Refreshments: Take your pick in Battle

Trains: Hourly to Crowhurst from either direction, twice hourly to Battle

Whilst Les Campbell is recuperating from an accident, Robert Veitch has taken on the role of being Les’ legs. We hope that Les will be back out and walking again soon and wish him all the best with his recovery. Robert has tested the route personally, making sure it is suitable for walking. However, even he cannot guarantee the effects of the weather, or roadworks, or any other factors outside of his control. If you would like to send your feedback about a local walk, please email editorial@sussexliving.com