Four awesome autumn walks!
Love the outdoors? Us too, so we’re thrilled to be launching our first ever Muddy Walk Week! Grab your friends or family and try our pick of the prettiest walks in Sussex and beyond - all with dog-friendly pubs nearby.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Feel like stretching your legs over the next two weeks? Us too! Making the most of your precious free time and getting out and about with family and besties is what we love to do on Muddy, so we’ve come up with four brilliant Autumn walks (with pubs en route or nearby obvs) so you can really enjoy your down-time.
We’re proud to say that our Autumn Walks are part of Joules’ Charity Month – 31 days of fantastic fundraising for their five charity partners. If you want to make a small justgiving donation to take part (a quid is great, and doable even for little people) click here. And please do instagram your beautiful walk or gorgeous pub (yes, you can be in it!) and hashtag with #joulesautumnwalks #mymuddywalks, because we’ll use the best images in our round-up feature.
Details of our favourite walks across all 22 Muddy counties are here so even if you’re going away you can stride out. Plus you can enter our Reader Treat and three lucky subscribers and their families can step out in £500 of Joules coats and wellies.
What else do you want, crisp dry days and blue skies? Don’t worry, I’m working on it.
WALK 1/RYE NATURE RESERVE, EAST SUSSEX
Distance and difficulty: Various lengths. Flat and coastal, incorporating saltmarsh, lagoons and reed beds.
Good for: bird lovers, beachcombers, kid-friendly activities
Why we love it: Rye Nature Reserve is managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust and circular walks here should include plentiful birdlife. For a bit of extra insight keep an eye out for mini safaris and beachcombing events run by the Trust and family-friendly guided birding tours run by RSPB volunteers on certain dates. View Sussex Wildlife Trust’s walks here.
Afterwards, drop into the cobbled streets of historic Rye and head for a well earned drink or meal at The Ship Inn, which was established way back in 1592 and has a past as a smugglers’ hangout. Locally caught fish is one of the menu highlights and as the pub is related to Hush Heath vineyard in Kent you’ll find its wines on the drinks menu. Rooms are available for staying over. Camber Sands isn’t far away by car if a stroll in the dunes also appeals.
The Ship Inn, The Strand, East Sussex, TN31 7DB, 01797 229 256.
In West Sussex, for a similar bird and pub combo check out walks at the RSPB reserve at Pagham Harbour, a stone’s throw from excellent seafood dining at The Crab & Lobster, Siddlesham which uses the catch landed at nearby Selsey.
WALK 2/ASHDOWN FOREST, HIGH WEALD, SUSSEX
Good for: children and the nostalgic. Moderate fitness.
Distance and difficulty: Various options, some child friendly. Pooh Walks from Gills Lap are 1km – 3.25km. Forest and heathland. Mainly flat.
Why we love it: In AA Milne’s home village of Hartfield, you can drop in at Pooh Corner gift shop and tea rooms and pick up a route map to nearby Ashdown Forest and a ‘passport’ to tick of various places mentioned in the stories, like Roo’s Sandy Pit and the Pooh Sticks Bridge – with instructions on how to play the game (just in case you’d forgotten). Or, take the Ashdown Forest’s own recommended Pooh Walks from Gills Lap on which you skirt Hartfield part way.
Enjoy top notch organically-reared meat from the Buckhurst Estate at The Dorset Arms just up the road in Withyham. The pub and estate are owned by the current Lord de la Warr whose father used to play with the real life Christopher Robin and his toy bear in what became known as Hundred Acre Wood. There’s also a cottage to rent at the pub if you fancy staying over.
The Dorset Arms, Buckhurst Park, Withyham, Hartfield, TN7 4BD, 01892 770278
WALK 3/CASS SCULPTURE FOUNDATION, GOODWOOD, WEST SUSSEX
Good for: art lovers, townies, families.
Distance and difficulty: an easy circuit (can be cut short) around 50 sculptures through 26 acres of light, flat woodland
Why we love it: On this world class sculpture trail set in woodland you can appreciate art at the same time as getting some exercise. Some works are on a large scale, some interact with their environment, taking on moss or refracting light. There are very few that can’t be touched, some actually encourage you to interact, stooping through arches, and walking through rooms, so it’s a perfect gallery to visit with children, who shouldn’t get bored either (though note, no dogs). Pick up adults’ and children’s trail maps from reception. See walk here. Closed in winter when, alternatively, you can visit see the ancient twisted yew trees in nearby Kingley Vale.
Nearby pub: The Royal Oak Inn, East Lavant
Just up the road in East Lavant village, the Royal Oak serves up excellent food in a cosy low ceilinged bar, where fires are lit in cooler months and there’s a terrace for when the sun’s out. The menu foregrounds local produce and there are special tasting menus on certain dates. Smart bedrooms are also available, some in a stable block overlooking fields.
Royal Oak Inn, Pook Lane, East Lavant, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0AX, 01243 527 434
WALK 4/SOUTH DOWNS WAY AT FIRLE BEACON, EAST SUSSEX
Distance and difficulty: About seven miles for a circular walk. Moderate fitness required to make the circuit, with a steep hill at the start or end. Or, simply stroll a while along the top.
Good for: Impressive views. Ticking off part of the South Downs Way.
Why we love it: The South Downs Way, running from Winchester to Eastbourne, bisects a large swathe of Sussex. With proper prep you can tackle the lot over a week or two, but it’s more fun doing a relaxed chunk in an afternoon. To make a circuit at Firle, park in the village, or at the car park at the top of the hill nearest Firle Beacon (you’ll walk up the hill at the beginning or end depending on which you choose). Once you’re out on the ridge of the South Downs, on a clear day you can see for miles, with Charleston below and sometimes paragliders in the distance. After a while you head down a chalky path and circuit back to the village via the public right of way across the grounds of Firle Place. See more South Downs walks here.
The Ram Inn in Firle is a characterful 500-year-old low-ceilinged affair with good food (lamb, beef and game are very local), cosy fires and a community feel (musicians were jamming in a side room on our visit). Five bedrooms are also available.
The Ram Inn, The Street, Firle, Nr. Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 6NS, 01273 858222