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Go wild! The best guided walks and foraging in Sussex

Re-connect with the natural world in a way you’ve not experienced before on these carefully curated explorations with expert guides hosted by The Star in Alfriston

When the Seven Sisters country park is on your doorstep, the River Cuckmere in within walking distance and the South Downs Way runs to the right, and to the left, why would you do anything other than explore in nature? And this is why The Star (part of The Polizzi Collection of hotels) in Alfriston, near Polegate is hosting three special walks this September for its guests. 

Two are hosted by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector and co-owner of the hotel group, Alex Polizzi, and the third by forager Tamara Colchester. While staying at The Star – which is a charming 15th century inn – guests are invited to join in on the guided nature walks and to form a new connection with the beautiful East Sussex countryside. 

Walk with Alex, 6 September

Your off-the-beaten-path adventure will begin at The Star, and while navigating rugged paths and uneasy terrain you’ll head towards Windover Hill on the South Downs, with the sea in the distance and Eastbourne below it’s the perfect picture taking spot – if you don’t mind a little photobombing from the sheep and you’ll get a glimpse of the white cliffs too. From there, you’ll move to the peak of Jevington Holt, an elegant expanse of green rolling hills and tranquility as you look down the valley. 

If time allows, you may be able to stop in at The Eight Bells village pub for a quick refreshment. Marching (or rather ambling) on you’ll gradually aim towards Lullington Heath Nature Reserve, which has the admirable accolade of being a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which roughly translated means it’s pretty beautiful and has some amazing flora and fauna. Next you’ll land at Friston Forest which has a carpet of beech woodland where the sun peeks through the canopy of trees. Your final point of call is the village of Litlington where you can enjoy dramatic chalkland. But best of all, a brief walk away is Cuckmere Haven’s pebbled beach – the prime spot to dip your tootsies in the water and a refreshing reward. 

Walk with Alex, 13 September 

Same name but not the same experience! This second walk takes hotel guests on their mini expedition from Exceat – originally a fishing village in the Saxon times, here you’ll see the ruins of a 12th century church before tracing the River Cuckmere through the downs. This walk will also take you to Friston Forest before hitting the infamous Seven Sisters with its dramatic cliffs. On a clear day the white against a bright blue sky is jaw dropping – make sure your phone is fully charged so you can take lots of photos.

There is no charge for either Walk with Alex, although guests are asked to make a voluntary donation to a local charity. Due to demand, these events are exclusive to guests of The Star, please book with the hotel’s reception. 

Autumn foraging walk, 14 September 

Let loose your inner hunter-gatherer on this three-hour wild walk where you’ll start a new conversation with the natural world and form a beautiful relationship with food and foraging. The date has been deliberately chosen to mark the start of the autumn season where you’ll fill your basket with an abundance of natural produce – think berries and nuts, roots and bark and mushrooms (when safe to do so). Expert, researcher and passionate forager, Tamara Colchester will encourage you to reconnect with your senses in particular taste, touch and smell as you roam the Cuckmere Valley seeking out new foodie finds. 

Although that’s not all, herbal medicine will play a part and you’ll be introduced to homeopathic remedies hiding in the natural world. Tamara will teach you tracking skills using all your senses and help you connect with nature in an entirely new way. £30 per person, 10am-1pm. 

The Star Inn, Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5TA, (0)1323 870495,  thepolizzicollection.com/the-star

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