- Distance – 7 1/2 miles
- Duration – 2 1/2 hours.
- Exertion – Medium, a few climbs.
- Terrain – path and track. Can be wet underfoot.
- Dogs – Be aware of livestock and keep to the countryside code.
- Map – OS Explorer 135 Ashdown Forest
- Start – The Cat Inn
- Refreshments – The Cat Inn
Setting off from the Cat inn (Michelin starred!) in West Hoathly and make your way south past the Priest’s House. This is a remarkable example of an old 15th/16th century house. Particularly famous for its many markings engraved into the wood of doors and fireplaces, protecting the house from witches!
Continuing doing the road and divert down a track past Philpots school, an independent special needs school. Then down into the woods where you can find some lakes hidden amongst the trees.
Wildlife is rife from rabbits and pheasants to large buzzards in the sky. The woods were thick and messy but every now and again you spot an intriguing managed spot.
The woodland is coppiced or maganged thoroughly but occasionally littered with bright red pine trees. It is all connected too, not split into little patches, isolated from each other. This then means that the wildlife can easily travel about hidden by the flora.
Stay in the woodland following the track to the river. Keep your eyes peeled for an old bridge, still standing strong. Skim the road on your right and travel back up the hill through the wood. Climbing out the woods you are faced with a large field often filled with deers. Even white deers living among them.
On meeting a road turn right and follow it to the next track. Follow the track down and take the next footpath on your left. Heading to Highbrook, the church tower coming into view to help guide you.
Walk north through the village and take a footpath on your right before the church.
You eventually arrive at the Bluebell railway, a heritage line. You are also past half way on the walk, and now heading back.
Join a road and turn left. Take the next footpath on the left to head back to the village of Sharpthorne.
When in the village turn right and the next left. Follow the road through the houses and round to the left again. Here you cross the railway for the second time as it passes under you through a tunnel. Follow the road round and alongside the railway and when it ends, turn left up the hill-it’s a climb!
Join the road and go straight across, either climb the steps or follow the road back down the hill. Go round the corner and up again and you arrive back at The Cat.