Exploring The High Weald Woodlands at Guestling
Breath-taking landscapes, quiet glens and idyllic green trees are at the heart of this quiet little wood. It's the perfect place for a relaxing dog walk on a Sunday afternoon - and no weekend stroll would be complete without a stop at a cosy pub for a roast!
The High Weald ancient woodlands at Guestling in East Sussex have two main footpaths, with a network of smaller paths and trails winding through the trees. There's a small car park, but a height restriction makes it unsuitable for vans. These woodlands underwent a coppicing programme back in 2013, which encouraged a variety of foliage. You can see evidence of this still, with strong young branches bursting out of original stumps which are now grown over and covered in moss. It’s known by locals as being a good spot for chestnut picking, but you’ll also come across apple trees full to bursting and unusual mushrooms growing in felled logs.
This beautiful woodland is also well known in the local area for being a prime blue bell spot, offering a carpet of colour as you walk through the winding paths. But there are other spring flowers to enjoy too, including wood anemones. The small stream that runs through most of the western boundary is called Ladys Brook - be prepared to loose your Labs and Spaniels at this point, who are drawn to the clear water like bees to honey. Willow, alder, hazel and ash trees can be seen near the brook, along with dogs murcury, sedges and rushes. Nature enthusiasts will love spying shy little water voles along the banks.
As you walk around the pathways, keep an eye out for rare Oak coppice, rustic log shelters made by local scout groups and the old-as-time rusty tractor that the kids always seem to love climbing on top of.
After your country walk, head to The Two Sawyers in Pett, which is just 3 minutes up the road. This historic pub has seen its share of action over the years, with its close location to the coast making it an ideal meeting place for local pirates and smugglers.
Now it’s a pretty family pub with a quaint cobbled courtyard, and a big fireplace that’s lit with a crackling fire from the end of September. A word of warning for taller visitors, the door frames and ceilings are wonderfully stooped so mind your head. The food is perfect autumnal pub fare with meaty stews, rich gravies and local veg.