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all saints church in icklesham

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18-Jun-05 • Bela Struzkova

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Winchelsea to Hastings walk

The hardest walk in the book. A gentle start with the 1066 Path and a great pub for lunch. After lunch, a great coastal cliff walk with 4 steep climbs, Fairlight Glen naturist beach, fish and chips on Hastings seafront, so one for summer.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date # Post
Sat, 15-Jul-17 20

Cinque Port to Cinque Port (Rye to Hastings)

Book 1 Walk 25 – Rye to Hastings Romney Marsh, Dramatic Cliffs and Two Ancient Cinque Port Towns T=1.25

Distance: 15 Miles or 24 km for those more metrically minded (with option to shorten to 12.5 miles/20.1 km by starting in Winchelsea (an hour later))
Difficulty: 9 out of 10

Train: Take the 9:34 AM train from London St. Pancras to Ashford International and change onto the Southern service to Brighton (arriving 10:11 and departing 10:33) to arrive in Rye at 10:54. For those wishing a later start and a shorter walk, you can take the 10:37 train from London St. Pancras changing at Ashford (arriving at 11:14; departing 11:33) to the Southern Brighton service to Winchelsea, arriving 11:59 (about which time the Rye starters should be passing by). Return trains from Hastings are regular and varied (hopefully avoiding any issues with Southern): to Charing Cross 18:20; 18:50; 19:50; 20:50; to Victoria 17:58; 18:58; 19:58; and to St. Pancras (via Ashford) 18:36; 19:36; 20:36. Buy a day return to Hastings.

This is reputed to be the toughest walk in book 1. It starts off rather innocently in a gentle (almost misleading way) across Romney Marsh and finishes with a bang with four steep climbs along coastal cliffs with an opportunity for a cooling idyllic swim in an almost Mediterranean cove towards the end. I have not actually done this walk in this direction in ages (indeed it has not had a Saturday outing since 2015); however, I thought it would make for a nice change from the Hastings to Rye route which has been done more often of late AND the tide times for swimming in Fairlight Glen (the idyllic cove) are better in the late afternoon/early evening than in the morning. Please note that part of the coastal path has been diverted at the end of the walk – see some instructions for the diversion in the walk instructions. You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

The recommended lunch spot is the Queens Head in Icklesham (01424 814 552) about 4.5 miles/6.5 km into the walk. An alternative lunch pub, The Royal Oak (01424 812 515) is located in Pett village about 1.5 miles/2 km further along the route. Tea and afternoon refreshments could be taken at the Coastguards Tea Room (01424 814 131) on a short inland diversion to the right at the top of the first hill just before the Coast Guard Radar Tower. The old port in Hastings offers a variety of refreshment spots.

Enjoy the walk!
For fast walkers there is also the cafe at the Jerwood Gallery: http://www.jerwoodgallery.org/whatson/current
Seaviews, open to 17.00.
I recommend the alternative route from Winchelsea station to Icklesham (section C, paragraph 27 in the directions). Very pretty. Fine views. No longer than the main route.
Ah, so happily there is an option for those of us who don't like to get out of bed at 8am on a Saturday. See all you late risers on the 10.37.
Andrew
2 off an earlier train, 12 off the posted one, making 14 doing Rye to Hastings, with 6 others starting later for the shorter walk from Winchelsea, i.e. 20 on an overcast with sunny breaks then drizzly periods kind of day, with a nice breeze from the front. Most lunched at the Queen's Head, Icklesham while a handful continued to the Royal Oak, Pett. Also about a handful seemed to have walked the alternative route to Icklesham. The footpath closure at Ecclesbourne Glen is still in place, but the alternative path so overgrown that one has to assume no one actually walks it. Until the land slips again...
The 5 faster walkers got to Hastings in good time for the 16.50 train, after a beer in the Old Town.
Nine of us swam at Fairlight Cove, despite grey skies and heaving seas. Another (non SWC) group also turned up and swam, so the sea was suddenly quite busy.

Earlier a large chunk of the group had stopped at the Coastguards for tea. It was sunny at that point, so perhaps we should have pressed on and had the swim then. But never mind: always nice to have tea before the end of the walk and it gave us fuel for the big dips.

In Hastings a couple of walkers at least had fish and chips but six of us found a lovely Thai restaurant in a bookstore in the Old Town and had a delicious all fresco dinner there, joined by a seventh walker who just had drinks. 9.50 train home, getting back to London after 11.30pm. Tired now......
Wed, 24-May-17 9

Wednesday Walk - Cinque Ports and Steep Glens

Book 1, Walk 25 - Rye to Hastings

Length: 24 km (14.9 miles)
Toughness: 10 out of 10

London St Pancras: 09-37 hrs
Arrive Ashford International: 10-14 hrs
Leave Ashford International: 10-33 hrs Brighton service
Arrive Rye: 10-54 hrs

Return: Hastings to St Pancras via Ashford International: 17-09, 17-36 , 18-36, 19-37 and 20-36 hrs.
Return: Hastings to London Charing Cross: direct trains at 17-50, 18-46, 19-50 and 20-50 hrs.
Return: Hastings to London Victoria: direct trains at 17-55, 18-55, 19-55 and 20-56 hrs.

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Hastings, with a HS1 supplement.

This is the toughest walk in Book 1 - and possibly the toughest in the SWC repertoir, with most of the hard work - up and down steep glens - coming towards the end of a long walk when a walker is already tired. But the walk in rewarding and worth the mega effort for its variety and views !

Your long day's walk starts in the pretty Cinque Port of Rye, where you take the 1066 path into Winchelsea, once a port but now landlocked. Then its over farmland, fields and water meadows to Icklesham for an early lunch at the usually excellent Queens Head pub tel: 01424-814552. Please 'phone ahead with numbers - your e.t.a should be just before 13-00 hrs.
After lunch you descend to Pett Level and the sea, where a later lunch option is available at the Smugglers Inn. Onwards now into the National Trust's Fairlight Estate, where you soon find yourself dodging landslips as you make your way towards the Glens, and the hard work descending and ascending them. In recent times you have to take a diversion around Ecclesbourne Glen to avoid a land slip: all will become clear when you get there ! Eventually you arrive on the grassy cliff top above Hastings for your final, level walk into Hastings, for much needed refreshments in one of the pleasant pubs in the Old Town,
Today's walk is not suitable for anyone with evening appointments back in London: you will not make it to Hastings much before 6 pm, and probably later.
T=1.25
Walk directions: here L=1.25

Next Week, Wednesday 31 May : SWC 263c - Haslemere to Midhurst

Sadly I can't join you in this occasion. Last time I led a small group of tired walkers from the Coastguard Tea Rooms (up for sale by the way) back to Hastings by avoiding the glens. Happy to advise but reluctant to suggest a less strenuous route.
Managed to go straight through the glens last time in spite of signs trying to frighten people off jfk
One of the best walks and best pubs in SE Britain....
Rich
Anybody doing this walk?
Brid there should be a few takers
7 of us were on the scheduled train from St Pancras and Ashford, to start the walk in Rye, whilst 2 took alternative trains to start their walk from Winchelsea station, joining the rest of us at lunch, so that's 9 on a hot and sunny day but with a relieving breeze on cliff tops.
The morning leg from Rye to Icklesham on the flat was most pleasant, with late lambing in this part of the world adding to the peaceful, bucolic scenery. Up a hill to the Queen's Head pub, as busy as always, where 8 of us dined (7 satisfied customers: the chef's concept of a cheese sandwich left our eighth diner bemused she returned it). A good choice of beer, though, and friendly staff, so having rehydrated we set off on the long, demanding afternoon leg. We took on board more liquid at the customer friendly Royal Oak Inn above Pett (Note: a good alternative lunch stop, particularly at weekends when the Queen's Head is heaving). We now said goodbye to one walker who took the bus from Pett to Hastings, to be in time for a London evening appointment, and when we reached Pett Level, another colleague opted to return to Rye on the Book 2 walk we met him on the evening train home to Ashford. Fairlight and the glens proved to be hard work in the heat, as expected, and after much head scratching most opted to walk down and up Ecclesbourne Glen, still officially closed following land slips. It was passable, but on reflection we should have stayed on the upper glen and diverted around the closed glen. However, no harm done, but we were now behind schedule and on arriving in Hastings most of us headed straight for the railway station, taking much needed liquid there before catching the 18 36 train back to Ashford. A short wait for the Javelin train and I was soon in my local in Pimlico in time to watch the denouement of the Ajax v Manchester United game accompanied by a beer or two. Verily, it had been a hot day and I was still thirsty !
Sun, 07-Aug-16 5

Sunday Walk 1 – a classic South Coast walk

Book 1 Walk 25 – Winchelsea to Hastings
Length: 20.3 km (12.6 miles). Toughness: 9/10

09:27 Hastings train from Cannon Street (London Bridge 09:31, Orpington 09:49), changing at Hastings for the Ashford train* (arr 11:00, dep 11:18), arriving Winchelsea at 11:33. Buy a day return to Winchelsea.

In theory you could also travel out on the 10:08 High Speed train from St Pancras, but you'd have a 30-minute wait at Ashford and would arrive at Winchelsea 9 minutes later than the others.

Direct trains back from Hastings to Cannon Street are at xx:31 (fast) & xx:50 to 18:50, then hourly. If you've got a High Speed ticket you could return via Ashford at xx:18, while lovers of slow trains on the scenic coastal route to Victoria can gamble on a Southern train turning up at xx:22. Last trains 20:22 to Victoria, 21:18 to St Pancras via Ashford, 21:50 to Cannon Street.

A classic Book 1 walk getting its first Sunday outing since records began, as the Sunday train service to Winchelsea was withdrawn for many years. There's been a major landslip near the end of the walk but the diversions are well-signposted, and a local has also kindly offered to reveal an easier alternative route.

You'll need to bring Book 1 or print the directions from the Walk 25 page.

* If there's a problem on Sunday with the connecting (Southern) service from Hastings you can always devise some kind of Hastings Circular. T=1.25
Being quite selfish I would welcome something in Kent or East Sussex!
If the London based people can put up with a longish train journey I could post Book 1 Walk 25 (Winchelsea Hastings), now that Winchelsea has Sunday trains again. Could someone with local knowledge confirm that it's possible to get around the landslip in Ecclesbourne Glen?
Regarding the landslips in Hastings Country Park the minor diversions are well signposted. For those who do not wish to negotiate the many steps involved in going up and down the glens back into Hastings it is possible to take a level route from the Coastguard Tea Rooms at Fairlight; this entails a walk through an overgrown quarry and then a footpath that leads to Barley Lane that leads to the East Hill lift adjacent to the Tamarisk Steps that lead to the Hastings Old Town. This level route is also very pretty and does give good views across the sea. I am happy to lead this deviation from the tearooms for those who do not fancy the strains of the glens. It probably reduces the overall grading of the walk down to 7/10 from 10/10!
Most recent feedback is that
the coast path is still officially closed with a signed inland detour. If you've done the walk before, its the last 'up' before Hastings. i.e. after Fairlight Glen.
but (at your own risk) you can still use it.
If the Hastings Winchelsea train isn't running the 100 bus (The Wave) departs Hastings at 1106 and takes about 35 mins to get to Winchelsea (the village not the station).
Well the sea fret finally cleared at 5pm. Five walkers in the main group plus another couple who reduced the age profile considerably and another chap who said he was getting fit for Kilamanjaro.
5 on this walk with the weather w= cloudy with a breeze. However at the start of the 4 glens stretch there was sea fret with a strong breeze which means its in your face as you do the ups and downs. After the pub in Icklesham the route to the coast can be a bit tricky and a compass is helpful. At one field the owner has built chalets and there is quite extensive camping which means the instructions to head for the corner of the field to reach a lane is really not the best route. Far easier to head for the chalets to reach the lane and turn left .
Also the Royal Oak Inn is definitely open and looks very popular.
On the 4 glens route I did not pay attention to the instructions and the gpx route file and ended up taking the "closed" path. The final climb is tricky in places and has become very overgrown not really recommended and I should know better at my age! On the walk back through Hastings at 5pm the sun came out and it was a glorious end to the day. The HS1 which I think has really made a difference for me in getting to walks in this area whisked me back to East London in time to catch the womens Olympic road cycle race which seemed far more dangerous than the last stretch of the Hastings Country park path.
Sat, 12-Dec-15 11

Saturday Third Walk -- Ho, Ho, Ho!

Combo Walk – Book 1 Walk 25 and Book 2 Walk 29: Rye Circular – an interesting exploration of the hills, ancient towns and marshland around Rye finishing with some Festive Cheer at a Dickensian themed Christmas Festival in the historic town center of Rye

Length: About 12 miles
Difficulty: 3ish out of 10 – largely flat with one hill
Train: Take the 9:34 Faversham train from London St. Pancras, arriving in Rye at 10:54 (with a change at Ashford – arriving 10:11; departing 10:33). For those preferring the slow train, take the 9:10 Ramsgate train from London Charing Cross (9:13 from Waterloo East) to Ashford and connect with the 10:33 departure to Rye – but, beware, this has a tight connection at Ashford, arriving at 10:28; another option with a more forgiving connection time would be the 8:52 Ashford International train from London Victoria (arriving at Ashford at 10:21) and connecting with the 10:33 train to Rye. Return trains from Rye are at 56 minutes past the hour until 21:56. Buy a day return to Rye.
This walk is a “hidden walk”, created by combining two existing walks. It is being posted specifically to coincide with the Dickensian themed Christmas celebration taking place this Saturday in historic Rye. The walk essentially follows the 1066 trail from Rye to Winchelsea along the base of the bluff, it then goes through Winchelsea and climbs atop the bluff passing a windmill en route to the Book 1 Walk 25 lunch pub in Icklesham (on an alternative route to the one in Book 1). After lunch, you then follow the Book 1 route to Pett Level where you pick up the instructions for Book 2 Walk 29 (just prior to [7] in the Book 1 instructions (at instruction point 57) and picking up with [4] in the Book 2 instructions). The route is actually an oddly contorted figure of eight with Winchelsea in the center. More information and details for this combination can be found here. Also, do not forget the instructions for Book 1 Walk 25 and Book 2 Walk 29 (or relevant parts thereof). More information and a schedule of events for the Christmas Festival in Rye can be found here. For those interested in shortening the walk and/or spending more time in Rye at the Festival, it is possible to catch a bus at Pett Level (check the times at the bus stop near the Smugglers Inn) or Winchelsea in front of the New Inn (hourly at 49 minutes past; then 18:37 and 19:37) or catch a train from Winchelsea (15:50, 17:50 or 19:50) back to Rye.
The recommended lunch pub is the Queens Head (01424 814 552) in Icklesham (about 5.5 miles into the walk). A booking for 8 at 1:00 pm has been made – which may need to be adjusted depending on numbers. Tea and/or afternoon refreshments can be had in Winchelsea at the Winchelsea Farm Kitchen (possibly, if open – there has been some press that it is now closed) or the always trustworthy New Inn, both passed as you follow the instructions back through Winchelsea in the afternoon (though the New Inn is first). To round out the day, plenty of festive libations should be on offer in Rye.

Enjoy the walk and Happy Holidays!
I will coming from Hastings
11 on this walk, grey and windy but mild. Most came on the high speed train, but a few on the slower option. We had a very pleasant walk out from Rye, including an interesting session of gender bias correction activities at the sign for Dumb Woman's Lane (there is a photo of this if anyone cares to post it up...). Though most seemed initially inclined to do the book 1 route from Winchelsea, they were prevailed to try the alternative route along the ridge to Icklesham and seemed to approve of it.

One is used to having lunch at the Queen's Head in Icklesham in high summer, sitting in its garden and enjoying the view of the valley below. But it was also a very cosy place to sit inside in winter. We did not emerge until well after 2pm and it seemed a bit implausible at this point that we would make it all the way to Pett Level (memories of summer swims!!) and back across the marsh to Winchelsea before dark, but we did just about manage it.

Most took the 4.49 bus here after a hasty tea in the pub, but four of us decided to walk, in the deep darkness, largely without use of torches, across the fields, which we managed to do thanks to cunning navigation by our resident Stargazer. I don't know if those who caught the bus managed to catch any of the Christmas festivities in Rye: we found the town looking very festive but empty of people, as the townsfolk had by now decamped to a carol service in the church. We looked in on this briefly but the charms of the Ypres Inn soon lured us away. Nice dinner there. 8.56pm train home.
Sat, 22-Aug-15 12

Saturday First Walk Walk requested

Book 1 Walk 25 : Winchelsea to Hastings
Length: 20.3km (12.6 miles)
Toughness: 9 out of 10
Explorer 124 or Landrangers 189 & 199
https://www.walkingclub.org.uk/book_1/walk_25/map.shtml

Train from Cannon Street 09:48 (London Bridge 09.53) (changing at St Leonards Warrior Sq arrive 11.14 depart at 11.31 ) arriving at 11:50 Winchelsea and please wait for the St Pancrass crowd who should arrive 9 minutes later
OR
London St Pancrass Int 10.37 (Stratford Int 10.44) – 11:59 Winchelsea
Buy a day return to Winchelsea
Frequent return trains

There was a large landslip at Ecclesbourne Glen (between Hastings and Fairlight Glen) on the Hastings to Winchelsea/Rye walks. The coast path may still be closed, there is a detour if need be.

An excellent walk - the hardest and possibly the best in book 1.
Lovely coastal views, but be sure to take sufficient water and a hat if it is sunny as there is little shade.
You may wish to take your swimming togs if the weather is good.

The recommended lunch place is the Queens Head (tel 01424 814 552 01424 814 552 http://www.queenshead.com/), Parsonage Lane, Icklesham, which serves good food from midday to 9.30pm, but tends to become rather crowded.
5km further on and a 350 metre detour from the route there is the Smuggler Inn at Pett Level (tel 01424 813 491 ) which serves food midday to 2pm daily but on your toes to get here in time.

As always if more than 6 wish to lunch at the pub then please phone ahead as a courtesy and possibly a necessity and even to check if they are still trading.

You go past numerous tea places on the route through Hastings

You will also find more details on the lunch and tea options and background to the walk here https://www.walkingclub.org.uk/book_1/walk_25/index.shtml

High tide is at 4pm today, so both Pett Level and Fairlight Glen should be good for swimming (at least as far as water depth is concerned: use your own judgement re waves etc). If you arrive at Fairlight Glen after 6.30pm there could be problems with underwater rocks, however
thanks for posting this walk, can you kindly brief as to why this is such a hard walk ? plus are there any vertigo inducing clinging to cliff edge bits ?!

many thanks
It is for the most part an extremely gentle and easy walk, with gently undulating territory. But the last three or four miles are along a hilly bit of coast, with four great big descents and three great big climbs. Coming at the end of a longish walk, these are a test for the muscles, but the scenery is great, so what the hey.

There are no vertigo inducing cliff edge bits.
thanks for info Walker
12 hot and sunny About 10 on the slow train. London Bridge was very busy, long ticket queues, and the ticket machines didn't believe in Network Cards. Guard was cool about buying a ticket on the train. The 10, having arrived at midday, didn't wait for the High Speed peeps, just as well as their very overcrowded trains were delayed due to number getting on and off at each stop. Lunch pub was great. Food looked good. But it is early on in the walk. Some minor issues in Fairlight more roads have fallen into the sea, All met up at Firehills, most went to the Coastguards, and took the easier inland route ("Barley Lane") to avoid the hills in the afternoon heat. 2 made it down to Fairlight Glen, and were privileged to meet the volunteer path maintenance crew (the route down is in excellent repair, and has changed slightly from last year due to a landslip). The beach was unusually busy. The Fairlight 2 caught trains around 8pm.

The 4 hills at the end are hard work on a hot summer's day, especially given the books late start. An earlier start would be better, even if it meant a picnic lunch, or a much later Coastguard's Cafe lunch. Maybe the book 2 walk (starting in Hastings) just works better. A shame, as the lunch pub is exceptional.
A further 5 on the delayed "fast" connection. Both the Hi speed and the Marsh Line were overcrowded, the latter outrageously so. There were were minor spats as people tried to force their way on at intermediate stations. This caused delay. 3 of our number headed direct to Pett Level when we finally squeezed our way off. The other 2 did the proper walk. I'd just like to point out,by the way, that I was first into Hastings. I had to wait for the others to catch up at the ice cream van.
Once in Hastings, I fell in with a bad crowd. They took me drinking then persuaded me to catch the slowest imaginable train back to London me with my superfast, only bought by toffs, Hi Speed return) it stopped EVERYwhere and a few other places as well. :(
Sun, 17-Mar-13 Rye Circular (shorter version)
Wed, 15-Aug-12 Rye Circular
Sat, 18-Jun-11 Winchelsea to Hastings
Sat, 05-Mar-11 Winchelsea Circular
Sat, 24-Apr-10 Rye to Hastings
Sat, 13-Mar-10 Rye Circular (shorter version)
Sat, 20-Jun-09 Rye to Hastings
Sat, 21-Mar-09 Winchelsea to Hastings
Sat, 21-Jun-08 Rye to Hastings
Sat, 25-Aug-07 Winchelsea to Hastings
Sat, 23-Jun-07 Rye to Hastings