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Robertsbridge walk to Bodiam Castle and back to Robertsbridge, urban75 walk, April 2005
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urban75 walk club: Robertsbridge and Bodiam Castle
Report by urban75 editor, April 2005

A walk along the Sussex/Kent borders from Robertsbridge via Bodiam Castle and back

Part one: Towards Bodiam Castle

Alan M: "The weather was lovely, sunny but not too warm. We walked down sunken footpaths lined with bluebells, daffodils, primroses and a purple flower which I don't know the name of. We crossed a number of babbling brooks and rolling rivers, the route was littered with pretty farmhouses, Oast houses, fields full of bright yellow rapeseed, the cutest little lambs and quaint little villages here and there. We also saw the most bizarre goose ever and even some wild deer! The pubs served the wonderful Harveys Sussex Best, or Shepherd Neame brews."

Brixton railway station, London
Brixton railway station

Conveniently, we were able to catch a train from Brixton tube station to Robertsbridge, with a coffee-grabbing change at Orpington.

Robertsbridge railway station, Sussex
Robertsbridge railway station

The South Eastern Railway (SER) opened their line from Tunbridge Wells to Robertsbridge on September 1st 1851, with the line arriving at the cutely named Bopeep junction on the Brighton to Hastings line on January 1st 1852.

Robertsbridge railway station, Sussex
Station buildings, Robertsbridge, Sussex

The substantial Italianate style station at Robertsbridge.


Signal box, Robertsbridge railway station, Sussex
Signal box, Robertsbridge railway station

One of the few signal boxes to survive the line's electrification in 1986, the wooden structure overlooks a level crossing to the south of the station.

An overgrown bay on the down side of the station was the terminus for the Rother Valley Railway which opened in 1900 to Rolvenden (then named Tenterden).

Passenger trains stopped running in January 1954 but goods and hop pickers specials survived until 1961.

Happily, the northern section from Bodiam to Tenterden is now the preserved K&SR steam railway. There are hopes that the southern link to Robertsbridge can be reinstated and a collection of railway coaches and equipment can be seen in the yard.

On the Robertsbridge walk, Sussex.
Sheep and lambs, Robertsbridge, Sussex.

It's only when you get out of London that you begin to really notice the change in seasons...


On the Robertsbridge walk, Sussex
Down the hill

The early morning start had scared off some of the lightweight walking crew, but the five person-plus-dog party were ready for some serious a-walkin'!


Scarecrow, Robertsbridge walk, Sussex

A somewhat less-than-convincing scarecrow looks over the classic Weald countryside of rolling hills, woods, hop fields and orchards.

Crossing the tracks, Robertsbridge
Crossing the tracks

A mile and an half out of Robertsbridge, we crossed the main London - Hastings tracks

White Horse Inn, Silverhill, Hurst Green, East Sussex
White Horse Inn, Silverhill, Hurst Green

A lunch stop was called for after a few miles into the walk, and we grabbed some suitably hearty fare at this pub.

I went for the excellent Ploughman's lunch that features an enormous slab of cheese.

Two lovely pints of Harvey's Sussex Bitter at the White Horse Inn, East Sussex
Two lovely pints of Harvey's Sussex Bitter!

I was delighted to find that the pub stocked Harvey's Sussex Bitter - one of my very favourite ales!


Walking through East Sussex
Walking through East Sussex

Looking across the fields...

On the walk, Robertsbridge
On the walk from Robertsbridge

Ms T, Ricky and Russ the dog lead the way...


Old farm machinery, Robertsbridge, East Sussex
Old farm machinery

Close up of some rusting farm machinery.

Footpath sign, Robertsbridge Walk, East Sussex
Footpath sign

I liked this wooden sign (with perhaps an option or two too many!)


Walking through a small valley
Through a bosky glade

With the sound of a (thankfully) fenced-in pack of polar bear sized pedigree dogs fading into the distance, we strolled down this lovely glade, with a floor covered with bluebells, daffodils, primroses and a mystery purple flower.

Oast houses, East Sussex
Oast houses

The Kent and Sussex landscapes are peppered with the distinctive outlines of Oast Houses, although after the decline of the hops trade, most of them have now been converted into private houses.


Oast house, East Sussex
Oast house, East Sussex

Around this point, the walk took us off the path and straight through someone's private garden! It felt very odd, but it was our right to walk there, so we trundled through.

Big field, East Sussex
Crossing a big field

It was lovely to wander through big, open spaces.

Merriments Lane, Hurst Green, East Sussex
Merriments Lane, near Hurst Green

I liked the name of this road!


Rapeseed fields, near Northlands, East Sussex
Rapeseed fields

The walk took us through some beautiful scenery.

Forest flowers, East Sussex
Forest flowers

A picturesque forest scene.


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Map location
Bodiam castle
K&ESR railway
Rother Vly rly

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