Friday, 15 February 2013


Sussex Border Path 7

You may not have known this before, but there are more words for mud in Sussex than in any other dialect.  Yesterday we found out why, as we walked leg 7 of the Sussex Border Path. We started, where we had finished last time, in East Grinstead, this time walking through the town.  East Grinstead is a historic town with the longest terrace of 14th century buildings in England.

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At the end of the High Street is Sackville College, a 17th century almshouse, where incidentally 'Good King Wenceslas' was written.

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Soon we were walking through the outskirts of the town,

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the construction of which had left just a track of smeery pug behind the garden fences.

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But we were soon out into the fields, where the first signpost left much to be desired.

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Although these fields look pleasant and grassy, up close they are in fact quite clodgy.

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Here's the soundtrack to our walk.

Rare fellow walkers, with humans sensibly high above the wappleway swank.

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We then reached Old Surrey Hall, a fabulous 15th century hall house.

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But our route was not up the paved drive, but alongside, through the stodgy gubber.

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At the top though was a spectacular view across the Weald to the Greensand ridge.

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The animals stoaching around in the slab were also covered in mud.

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But it was St Valentine's Day and time to drink a toast to our loved ones at home.

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Back in the woods, here's Jeff leaping a stream through the stug.

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There are several farms after this; only one seemed to have a tarmac path,

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but one had an interesting weathervane.

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After the farms, we passed the magnificent Tudor Waystrode Manor,

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into Cowden village and the Fountain Inn.  Hooray!

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This pub, incidentally, achieved 9.5 on the Jeff open-ended Ham, Egg and Chips scale.  Cowden is an interesting little village,

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with what must be almost the last remaining Festival of Britain bench.

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After lunch, we crossed Cowden golf course,

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which boasted an extraordinarily elaborate monument (it didn't say to what).

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Even the golf course was waterlogged.

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The path then crossed an ike of gawm, following Kent Water,the border stream,

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now running a rife, where snowdrops were already in bloom,

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and across wide laines, where the Kent scenery was already evident.

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Under the East Croydon railway, which we hoped to ride on shortly,

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into an old corn field, now a slubby slurry,

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before crossing the stream once again on a squeeze stile bridge,

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to the main road.

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At this point, after slippin' and a-slidin', peepin' and a-hidin', and pullin' our feet out of slobby sloughs all day, we had just 20 minutes left to make the 16.55 from Ashurst.  So we decided to avoid the last stretch of field and follow the road through Blackham Village at full walking speed to . . .

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Ashurst, where we just in time to see the train pull away.  But, as we settled down for an hour's wait for the next train, we did at least witness a nice sunset over Kent Water.

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  1. A lovely sunset actually. Sometimes it is good to miss a ride if you are given other delights. Again I could almost smell the air in the countryside. The skies were so blue and grass so green and the snowdrops made me drool for spring. We have a few more months to go before we see Spring. Do people still live above the shops on the long terrace?

    1. Yes, as far as I know, they are occupied - offices, as well as flats.

  2. I guess you could call that soundtrack "Squelchy Boot Blues". A really interesting walk, and some fine old buildings seen along the way. The conditions were a bit too 'gloopy' for my liking, but I enjoyed watching you guys negotiating them. Jeff's 'ham, egg and chips' scoring system brought a smile to my face. I had a similar 'scampi & chips' scoring system going when I used to visit the Norfolk Broads for several years running.

    1. I also had the scampi, Mitch. Actually, I would prefer the pie and chips, but you try walking after that and a pint! Yes, it was certainly squelchy.

  3. Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud,
    Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood,
    So follow me follow.
    Down to the Hollow.
    And there let us wallow in glorious mud.

    Never was a truer song written. This was the muddiest walk in living memory. But the weather, scenery and companionship were all excellent. Thanks for posting these photos Neil.

    1. I agree, Jeff. I actually enjoyed even the mud . . .

  4. Great site you have here. I am also on Blogger you know. I would have to agree with you, there's a lot of mud out there. Well, I guess for once I actually prefer snow!

    1. Well, at lkeast it wasn't cold, Isabelle. Welcome!

  5. Jeff said I should come and look at your walk ... though we have plenty of mud up here in the Midlands too. Jeff's overtrousers certainly seemed bartled up ...

    All in all though a very scenic walk. I enjoyed it once again. I could make a regular thing of this.

    1. Bartled, eh! Good to have you along, Charlie. Yes, it might just have been more enjoyable in an armchair.