Archive | May, 2014

Glynde and Spring Barn Farm

21 May

The run

Having passed the sign for Glynde many times I decided to make it my mission to find a run in the area. After a quick search on the internet I found a couple of 6-ish mile routes from Lewes to Glynde and back and also one which began and ended in Glynde. Find the route here. I decided on the latter partly because I am a right skinflint and don’t want to pay to park in Lewes and partly to drive somewhere different.

Glynde seemed quite busy for a small village, with cars whizzing through and several walkers and cyclists. I parked in the Main Street and began following the instructions for the walk. It all started off well enough, I enjoy following these step-by-step instructions, until point 3 when we were supposed to go through a gate to the top of Mount Caburn and then retrace our steps back to point 3 – why would I want to do that? It didn’t make sense no matter how many times I read it, retrace my steps?

The offending instruction

The offending instruction

I ended up circling  a nettly field to no avail before spotting a runner ahead and realised that was the way to go. The ‘retracing’ steps still didn’t make sense though, you basically headed to the summit of Mount Caburn and then hopped over a stile and ran down to the valley floor.

Mount Caburn

Mount Caburn

So, the ran began with a gentle uphill and then a sloping downhill to a dew pond that was surrounded by COWS!!! If you have read my blog before you will know that I am not a fan of the ruminators. I checked the instructions several times to ensure it was absolutely necessary to cross the field and looked up to see a couple of walkers crossing the field in the opposite direction. ‘Safety in numbers’ I thought and set off to meet them. Checked directions with them and admitted to my fear of cows before heading away towards Lewes Golf Club at the top of the hill.

Glynde

Uphill out of Glynde

Cows - from a safe distance!

Cows – from a safe distance!

Instructions were to go through the golf course but I felt very out of place among the smart lady golfers: they looked like the equivalent of yummy mummies only with golf caddies instead of buggies. Breathtaking views of Lewes on one side and the South Downs National Park on the other made it all worthwhile though.

Lewes

Lewes

South Downs National Park

South Downs National Park

Ran down the access road out of the golf course and, as per the instructions turned sharply right up some steps where I bumped into a couple of fairies making a movie – much to my surprise! Continued back up onto the golf course again which I had to try and cross but all the signs warning of flying balls were panicking me even though there wasn’t a golfer in sight! I could just imagine myself lying with a concussion on the 9th hole waking up and not knowing who I was (aka Goldie Hawn in Overboard!)

Memorial at Lewes Golf Course

Memorial at Lewes Golf Course

Skirted round the edge and eventually found a stile to get out and….uurgh…another field of cows! ‘Bold and confident’ I repeated to myself as I strode across the field – why does one always sit right in front of the gate you are trying to go through?

More confusion with directions here – instructions to continue to the Dew Pond threw me until I realised there were two Dew Ponds on the map. Saw another walker up ahead so decided to follow her. I hope I didn’t freak her out too much as I ran closer. Good instructions until I reached the second Dew Pond and was supposed to be skirting a quarry which I never found. Views of Glyndebourne: check. It would be nice to go there one day.  The instructions from there did not make sense so perhaps I went wrong somewhere? Whilst perusing my instructions I managed to stumble into a nettle patch and my calves and ankles are smarting still! Dropped down onto the road by Glyndebourne and decided to finish the run on the road – about 1.5 miles. Not particularly pleasant due to the narrow road and traffic but as the phone was nearly out of juice I couldn’t risk getting lost in the countryside.

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The lunch

I decided to move on as Glynde didn’t look too promising for lunch and produce. There is a post office, general stores and tea rooms and an interesting looking blacksmith’s forge but all seemed very sleepy after the morning rush so I made my way to the wonderful Spring Barn Farm where I knew I would get a good lunch. The food is excellent, albeit a little dark in the cafe and frequented by toddlers. I chose the feta salad with couscous and humous and a pot of the delicious Suki tea: Earl Grey Blue Flower and sat and wrote my blog and thanked my lucky stars I no longer have toddlers.

Earl Grey Blue Flowers Suki Tea

Earl Grey Blue Flowers Suki Tea

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Chilli feta, humous and couscous salad

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Berwick and Chilley Farm Shop

14 May

The run

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Have done a few runs around this area now, starting at Firle usually, but this one started at Berwick and headed off up the Downs in a ‘knee cracker’ of a run as my husband would put it! Up to the top of the Downs and then a gentle run back down before Alfriston.

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Beautiful scenery all around and only met a few people on the route; a plane passed overhead, a mountain biker whizzed past and I stopped to ask directions from a lady with a dog. Beautiful run through fields with the spire of Berwick church on the horizon.

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A few thoughts of serial killers flitted through as I passed through the jungle area at the foot if the Downs, but were soon replaced with elation as I took in the breathtaking views.

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Machetes at the ready!

Berwick church was a treat. A painting group were milling around the churchyard and inside, which emboldened me to go in and see the wonderful murals of Duncan Grant, Quentin Bell and Vanessa Bell.

The farm

From there I drove onward to Polegate. It’s funny as I grew up in Scotland near places called Polegate and Berwick. I headed up a windy track to Chilley Farm Shop for refreshments. There I found a wonderful little farm shop, cafe and dog grooming parlour and I immediately ordered my second breakfast! I was starving after the run and hadn’t had a snack and flask of coffee as usual.

Second breakfast

Second breakfast

Sitting in the beautiful sunshine at one of the outside picnic tables I was amused by a troupe of cheeky sparrows all egging each other on who could go on the table and beg a crumb or two.

After my delicious breakfast I wandered around the farm where they had a few goats, pigs and chickens on display and a small children’s playground.

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In the farm shop itself, all was industry – a butcher worked at the back while two women made pies behind the serving counter. A good meat counter, selection of vegetables and a freezer of pies, breads and scones as well as all the usual jams, chutneys and sauces. I decided to buy three small frozen pies for the freezer and a couple of fruit scones.

Back, and arriving a little early to the Offham farm shop (all roads lead to Offham!) for a cup of tea and a slice of (the biggest piece of) Millionaire shortbread (ever).

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East Hoathly and Martins Wood Farm Shop

7 May

The run

A day of sunshine and showers in East Hoathly: a pretty little village boasting two pubs – both serving food and one adjacent to the Stables Brewery. Also a village stores, hairdressers and gift shop come coffee shop. (Was intrigued by the listing of ‘prawns’ under the ‘cakes’ section of the menu?)

East Hoathly Church

East Hoathly Church

Took a route out of the village past the Norman church and down a footpath past the village school. I am at last being rewarded now with bluebell woods and birdsong.

East Hoathly

East Hoathly

Following alongside fields and over stiles signposted for the Weald. Very many large houses here with foreboding metal gates or stone gatekeepers.

East Hoathly

East Hoathly

Horsey country too and as I passed through a stud farm I saw three horse’s graves.

The Weald Walk, East Hoathly

The Weald Walk, East Hoathly

Beautiful lush verdant fields, wet from the rain shower and crying out to be run through with open arms belting out ‘The Hills are Alive…’

The Weald Walk, East Hoathly

“The Hills are Alive…”

This romantic dream was somewhat shattered by a small terrier who seemed intent for my ankles and barked furiously as I trotted past. Summoning all my courage, I stopped, shouted ‘NO!’ whilst pointing and sent him packing.

From there it was a road run back to the village – I should have traversed a few more fields but my instructions were a little out of date and I missed the narrow path I was looking for beside a cottage that must have been re-named.

Bench, East Hoathly

Bench, East Hoathly

The farm

My second attempt to find Martins Wood Farm on Ripe Lane which I nearly missed again having driven past, ended up in Ripe and then driven back to the farm. If you follow the sat nav it takes you about half a mile down the lane.

Parked up outside by the duck pond and all the chicken runs and chickens. Before I even got to the shop I was immediately met by a friendly chap who asked me how how he could help, I was a bit taken aback until I realised their main business is selling lay chickens and chicken runs – they will even board your chickens while you are on holiday!

The shop is quite limited in its selection of food – jams, chutney, eggs (of course) and a freezer with lamb, sausages and ice cream. It certainly is the place to come if you want chickens and chicken accessories though, books about keeping chickens, chicken feed, chicken-related gifts, such as egg stands and mini frying pans (I bought one as a gift for my son who is in the middle if his IB exams). Wasn’t much of a place for browsing, though I did have a nice chat with the guy who was serving about my early experience of keeping chickens and how upset the ‘pecking order’ used to make me feel.

 

Farm shop haul

Farm shop haul: Martins Wood and Offham farm shops

 

The lunch

From there I headed back to the wonderful Offham Farm Shop and tearoom for a lukewarm pasty and a cuppa and some more produce, including their chicken and mushroom pies and a beautiful bloomer. They have asparagus in season (which I had to buy) and are doing a new range of olive oil.

A snuggle of piglets

A snuggle of piglets