An walk through the beginnings of the High Weald in countryside that you may not have explored before.
Distance, Terrain and Time
6 miles, 10 kilometres, undulating terrain, 2.5 hours
Some of the navigation requires care. You may want to use the GPX file
Short but nasty bit of road walking just Lake Wood
Start and finish points
Start at the Allington Road bus stop at the western end of Newick. Ask the driver to put you off. .
Finish in Uckfield High Street at the 29 bus stop
The 121 bus from Lewes stops at Allington Road. (The 31 bus which runs from Uckfield to Haywards Heath also stops here)
For bus and train times see here
Ordnance Survey map
Explorer series number map 135 Ashdown Forest
Pub and shop at Newick (off route, about 800 metres from Newick Church) Numerous in Uckfield
In Uckfield at the Civic Centre (off the High Street) ask for directions
1). If arriving on the 121 bus the bus will drop you off just before a road junction. You will see the bus turn right and disappear up Allington Lane. Follow the bus up the lane and almost immediately turn into Oxbottom Close on your right. You can see a path straight ahead of you going through trees, but this is not your route. Instead turn left through a gate to enter a field and walk diagonally across the field (In 2020 the route was fenced off from the rest of the field by temporary fencing) Pass through another gate and follow the path straight on, going east, ignoring turnings to the right. You then come to a junction of paths where the main route appears to go right. But bear slightly left here to come immediately to a junction where you turn right to continuing east. The path bears left and you enter Newick recreation ground. Continue in the same direction. You are aiming for the end of a hedge that sticks out into the recreation ground. On reaching the hedge walk alongside the right side, keeping the hedge on your left. The path becomes enclosed and then reaches a road. Newick village is about 500 metres to your left along this roand.
2) When you reach the road you will see a road to the church almost opposite you, slightly to the left. Walk down this and enter the churchyard. Take a brick path to the right of the church. You are aiming straight ahead to a squeeze stile next to a gate. (beware, there is also a path which goes off to the left, exiting the churchyard by a gate. This is not your route). Enter a large field. The route through the field is usually reasonably clear. You need to bear slightly to the right. In the far right corner of the field, under a tree, is another squeeze stile next to a wood. Here the right of way goes through the wood but the landowner has obstructed and the county council has colluded it by signposting a route alongside the side of the wood going east and then turning right to rejoin the right of way in the corner of the wood. (If you feel like complaining about this email Rights.Way@eastsussex.gov.uk.) Turn left and follow the path along the edge of the wood.
3) At the end of the wood turn right to enter another field. Cross a chalk track (in 2020 this was new and a brilliant white colour. Walk across the field aiming to the right of a solitary oak in the middle of the field. Once you are past the oak bear left aiming for a gate in the left hand corner of the field. Go through this into the next field. Now follow the chalk track until it bears left. You can follow the track from here to the next corner of the field, but the right of way goes straight ahead here aiming for the far left corner of the field. This is easier walking.
Arrive at the far left corner of the field. If you have been following the right of way go straight ahead across the track into the next field. If you have been following the track turn left into the field. The path continues along the field edge until just before a pylon, where it bears right to go immediately to the right of the pylon. (in 2020 this path was cleared through the crops). After the pylon keep going in the same direction to reach a road.
4). At the road turn right and then immediately left over a squeeze stile. Follow a path alongside Sharpsbridge Farm which is fenced off from the field. At the end of the fencing cross a stile and head in the same direction as you have been travelling to an arch in the hedge in front of you. Cross a squeeze stile here and continue straight ahead to a bridge.
The bridge crosses the river Ouse, which was once navigable from here to Lewes and to Balcombe viaduct in the other direction. Cross the bridge and turn left through a meadow.
Walk to the far end of the meadow where the path enters trees. Keep straight ahead with a stream on your right. You now come to a point where the path turns right into a field. However do not enter the field but instead take a path to the left, which continues alongside a stream. This path can get overgrown in summer and muddy in winter.
(According to a study here the stream you have been walking along was once navigable and there was a wharf at the road junction to tranship goods for Uckfield) The path was apparantly the towpath.
Emerge at a road junction. Turn left along the road, walking slightly uphill. Shortly you come to the Peacock Inn
5) Immediately before the Inn as you are walking up the road is a tarmac lane to the left.(the same side as the Inn) The walk continues along this for a short distance before turning left over a stile to enter a field. Once over the stile turn right along the field edge. Look out for paths to your right. The first one only goes into woods, but the enters onto a golf course, which can be seen on the other side of the hedge. Go through this gap in the hedge and turn left along the side of the golf course. Bear right along the edge of a wood. The wood recedes sharply from the golf course and then returns. Keep straight ahead across this recession to meet the edge of the wood again.
Look for a footpath sign on your left which is the start of the route through the woods (You may find an easier entrance to the route a couple of metres further on). Walk through the woods and emerge on the golf course. Walk along the side of the woods and then enter them again at another footpath sign. Emerge from the woods a second time and then walk straight ahead across the course for about 50 metres until you come to a track.
Follow this track to the right. The track ends by some trees. There is a sign saying “Please ring the bell on your right as you pass” but there is no bell Continue walking in the same direction along the left hand side of a fairway with hedges, trees and bushes on your left. You will see a wooden seat in front of you. Aim for this and then through the trees to a car park. Cross the car park to its exit to meet a road.
6) Opposite there is a footpath sign. Ignore this and turn right along the road and then left in about 20 metres onto an entrance to another part of the golf course. In 2020 there was a portaloo here, but it looked a bit derilect. Now look for a path on your right. There is a metal waymark on a post. Follow this path to the next road. Cross the road. Straight ahead is a drive, which you take. When it forks take the left hand fork. Continue past buildings.
At the end of the drive you enter a field. Keep straight ahead with a wood on your left. Enter the next field and bear right through the centre of the field towards the wood in front of you. Enter the wood and cross 2 bridges. Follow a clear path through the wood. There are also tracks. When you have the chance to use either a path or a track, use the path. You will soon hear the sound of the Uckfield bypass. When the path reaches the bypass you are forced to turn right to walk along its boundary. You emerge at a road.
7) Turn left on the road and cross the bypass on a bridge. Just after the bridge is a gate on your left. Go through this to enter Lake Wood nature reserve. (once part of the Rocks estate) . Take a track which begins to descend. Ignore a path to the right but when you come to the next path which leaves the track on the right take it and descend to the lake. Walk clockwise round the lake passing through a tunnel under the rocks. Follow the path as it leaves the lake and begins to climb gently. Where there is a turn to the right keep straight ahead to come to the edge of the wood. Here you will find a track to the right. Take this to leave the wood at a gate.
8) Turn left on the road. For a short while there is no pavement here and the traffic can come quickly. Be very careful. Thankfully a pavement begins at Snatts Road. Walk along the pavement by the road to traffic lights. At this point you are in the oldest part of Uckfield. Turn right and walk down the High Street. As you walk down there is a bus stop on the other side of the road. You can catch the 29 back to Lewes from here.
THE ROCKS ESTATE
There were apparently occupants of rock structures here in the Mesolithic period, but more recently the Lake Wood reserve, the wood that you walked through before Uckfield bypass and the land on the opposite side of the road were all part of the Rocks estate, which occupied by the Streatfield family for over 200 years. They landscaped the estate after the style of the designer Capability Brown. They built a tunnel underneath the road to join the two parts of the estate. It is now bricked up but you can enter the southern part of the park via a gate on the south side of the road opposite the entrance to Lake Wood. The remains of the estate are worth exploring if you have the time. The southern part is owned by Uckfield town council, although quite a lot of it has been built on.