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A castle & a steam railway

Length

Standard walk: 18.5km (11.5 miles), 5 hours 45 minutes. For the whole outing including trains, sights and meals allow 11 hours

Short walk: 14km (8.7 miles), 4 hours 15 minutes.

Long walk: 27km (16.8 miles), 8 hours 30 minutes.

Maps

OS LandRanger Map No. 199. OS Explorer Map No. 136. Robertsbridge, map reference TQ 733235 is East Sussex 22km south east of Tunbridge Wells.

Toughness

4 out of 10 (2 out of 10 on Short Walk)

Features

This High Weald walk passes through classic Weald countryside of rolling hills, woods, hop fields and orchards. A highlight of this walk is arriving at Bodiam Castle for tea, a perfect picture of a castle, nestling in the Rother Valley, with the hooting of the steam trains of the Rother Valley Railway nearby. From there the route continues on a gently undulating course to Salehurst, before a leisurely finish back into Robertsbridge.

Walk Options

You may reduce the length of the standard walk by over 4km to 14km (8.7 miles) by following the Short walk directions and then pick up the Standard walk directions from [6]

Alternatively you may catch the 254 bus (Mon - Sat hourly service until 17.20), from outside the road entrance to Bodiam castle. (west side - Castle Inn pub side of the road ) to Wadhurst and Tunbridge Wells railway stations. Traveline 0870 6082608.

Alternative walk back to Robertsbridge along the river Rother If you would prefer to end the walk with a flat easy walk back into Robertsbridge from Bodiam castle, then follow the Alternative walk directions back to Robertsbridge from [6]. This applies to all three walks, standard, short and long and reduces the length of each walk by 0.5km. Please note between mid May and mid September the 700 metre footpath along the embankment of the river Rother can become extremely overgrown. It is thus advisable not to take this alternative walk ending from Bodiam castle in summertime.

Robertsbridge to Battle: 17.2 km (10.7 miles). A linear southerly walk to historic Battle. This option is now included in the 2011 edition.

New Walk Options

Robertsbridge Circular via Hurst Green walk

This is a new alternative for the Roberstbridge Circular walk (or Stonegate to Robertsbridge long walk). It is a detour from the original route to have lunch in Hurst Green.

History

Bodiam Castle (tel 01580 830436, www.nationaltrust.org.uk) Built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrygge as a defence against attacks from France. England was at the time seriously under threat from a possible invasion and had suffered a number of raids, Rye and Winchelsea having both been sacked and burned in 1377. Bodiam being on the river Rother and 14 miles upstream from Winchelsea was consequently vulnerable to such raiding parties. However by the end of the 14th century this threat had very much reduced and the castle took on more the role of a comfortable home for the Dalyngrygge family. The only action that the castle saw was during the Civil War (1642-51) when the interior was more or less gutted after which the castle was left to deteriorate. A local Squire, John 'Mad Jack' Fuller, rescued the Castle in 1828, paying £3000 to save it from destruction. Although it was not until it was purchased in 1916 by Lord Curzon, who embarked on an extensive restoration and research programme that the fortunes of the castle truly improved. Lord Curzon bequeathed the castle to the National Trust. The castle is open 10am - 6pm, daily from March until October. 10am - 4pm, Saturdays and Sundays from November to February.

St Mary's Church, Salehurst was built largely during the 13th century, and has portions of early and later styles of English architecture. It is noted for its north and south aisles of seven bays each, dated from the 13th century.

Suggested Train

Take the train nearest to 9.50am (before or after) from Charing Cross station to Robertsbridge. Journey time is just over an hour. Trains back from Robertsbridge run once an hour.

By car

Robertsbridge station car park currently costs £2.00 weekdays and is free at weekends.

Lunch

Standard and Long walks The suggested lunchtime place is The White Horse Inn (tel 01580 860235), SilverHill, 5km (standard), 13km (long) from the start of the walk, which serves inventive food (M, W, Th - 12 to 3pm; F, Sa, Su - all afternoon; Tu - no food) and has a large west facing garden. Short walk The Castle Inn (tel 01580 830330), Bodiam 8km from the start of the walk, which serves moderately inventive food (11 to 3pm daily) and has a west facing garden. Alternatively lunch may be taken at the National Trust tea-room, Bodiam Castle 12 to 2pm. (Out of season: November to February usually open only on Saturday & Sundays, check www.nationaltrust.org.uk for up to date information.)

Picnic Virtually anywhere along the route would be a good picnic spot.

Tea

The suggested tea stop is at the National Trust tea-room (tel 01580 830436), Bodiam Castle open from 10am to 5pm, March - October. Out of season restricted opening, usually just Saturday & Sunday and closing at 4pm, check www.nationaltrust.org.uk for up to date information. The alternate suggested tea stop is The Ostrich pub (tel 01580 881737), Robertsbridge which serves tea and coffee.

Afterwards
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Trains

Out: (not a train station)

Back: (not a train station)

By Car

Start: TN32 5DJ

Amazon
OS Explorer 136 - High Weald Buy from: Amazon UK (normal) (waterproof) Amazon US
OS Landranger 199 - Eastbourne & Hastings Buy from: Amazon UK (normal) (waterproof) Amazon US
Help Start walkingPrinting (large print)Train Times Bus TimesBBC WeatherTide Times • GPS data  
Version

Sep-14 This walk was fully revised in Sep-10. It is available in the current 2011 edition of the book, and as a PDF (link above). The map is only in the book.

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Walk Instructions

Download and print the PDF file for revised walking directions. But, for the map, see Time Out Country Walks volume 2