Another week and therefore another Sunday training walk.

I had planned to do 26 miles walk from East Grinstead to Gatwick and back in preparation for the July “Walking for Autism” Day 7. Having reviewed the Met Office reports for the Gatwick area I decided to switch to a walk on the South Coast.

I settled on a section of the proposed day 2 and did Westfield, Icklesham, Winchelsea, Rye and beyond towards Bodiam along the “Saxon Shore Way” as the weather was not meant to be quite so wet. As it happens I didn’t get a drop of rain.

Most of the walk is along the 1066 Country Walk path and I found this very well signed and easy to follow and another plus was the fact that, unlike last week, there was not much in the way of muddy sections.

So.. a normal Sunday morning… alarm set for 3:20 am, out the door by 4am and get to Westfield and start in the dark. There was plenty to see and do along the route and my prior impression of Winchelsea was completely wrong….

The site of the historic Windmill at Winchelsea

What a picturesque town, steeped in history dating back seven centuries to Edward I. It apparently was built on the site of the original town of the same name which had been lost to the sea in a series of great storms in 1287.

With a combination of royal patronage and its membership of the Confederation of Cinque Ports, the new town of Winchelsea thrived and became, during the 14th century, one of the primary ports of the realm

Now a peaceful and picturesque community of around 600 residents, Winchelsea was once a major hub for the medieval wine trade and a town of great national significance.

I digress…. Back to the walk..

Beyond Winchelsea is the the picturesque town of Rye. Once surrounded by sea, this fortified hilltop town played an important role in the defence of the south coast of England. These days, the river no longer harbours warships and is home to the local fishing fleet and extremely tidal.

Originally granted to the Abbey of Fecamp in Normandy in 1017, Rye was reclaimed by Henry III in 1247 and blossomed as a Cinque Port, vital to England’s defence.

Walking through its streets and out towards Bodiam it is clear to see the attraction of this town to tourists… so picturesque.


Other notable places along the way is the Queend Head pub in Icklesham. Tucked away up a small lane (Parsonage Lane). They sold Harveys Sussex Ale and had a superb menu on the go. Very popular and therefore booking a must.

The weather held off all the way and after sun-up I managed to get down to short sleeves owing to the clement conditions.

One amusing sight along the way was a road sign…. “Dumb Woman’s Lane”. Don’t think I would get away with suggesting buying a house there without fear of divorce from Kay!

I was very pleased with the 29 miles walk and not too bad a time (9.5Hrs) considering a few stops and a swift half of Harveys in the Queens Head.

Let us not forget why I am doing this training. It is all building up to the two walking events of the year I am doing for the National Autistic Society:

  • Round the Isle of Wight 63 mile at the end of April
  • The main event – Walking for Autism – 7 marathons walked in 7 days 185+ miles

Where to next week? Probably East Grinstead to Gatwick and back. Until then….. xxx

Leave a Reply