Tag Archives: Alfriston

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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Firle to Alfriston

15 Jan

The run

You know when you start something and you think to yourself; “this is really stupid”? That is the feeling I had today setting off from Firle car park with the intention of running to Alfriston as part of my half-marathon training. 10 miles. Across country. By myself. In the pissing rain…

Firle Estate

And so I sent a text to the husband telling him time and place of set off, and began, as usual with a route all planned and downloaded from Walk, Jog, Run, and as usual it quickly became apparent that I didn’t have a clue where I was going. Firle Estate is quite intriguing, it reminds me of one of those villages that is completely owned by the estate and all the houses are similar, it also looked like the ideal setting for a murder drama! As I set out, following a farm track along one of the walls of the estate, it seemed that perhaps I could just follow the wall around the estate if I was going to get totally lost.

Firle Estate

One of the few people I saw on the run was a woman walking her dog through a particularly muddy stretch. As I cheerily shouted “Good morning” she peered at me through the long snout of her parka incredulously as if to say “what on earth are you doing, I am only out here because of the dog, but you are clearly mad.”

Firle Estate

The rain was that fine sort, that doesn’t feel too bad at first, but eventually, gets you totally soaked, and as it was gusting off the hills on fairly open farmland I did get drenched. Very muddy underfoot and it wasn’t long before my trainers were caked in mud and my feet utterly saturated with a couple of fine stones rolling around inside my shoes due to the small holes that have developed in the mesh. I was, however heartened to see, from my app that I was en route to Alfriston by following the farm tracks.

Firle Estate

Pheasants are truly silly birds, aren’t they? If only they sat quietly when you ran past, instead of taking to the air with such a row, they would probably fare a lot better. I heard some shooting in the distance and once again imagined myself in some two-part drama on BBC One confronting a lone gunman or drug cartel.

Firle Estate

Continued on past Bopeep Bostal and onwards to Berwick Church and farm, passing by what looked like someone’s Grand Designs.

Berwick Church

Just beyond here I was surprised to arrive on the road to Alfriston by Drusillas zoo – only 1.5 miles to my midway point. It had taken the best part of an hour though and it was a relief to arrive in Alfriston, avail myself of the facilities and bolster myself up with a few Jelly Babies for the return journey. Sent the husband a quick text to say I had arrived then had a quick look around the village at the tea shops and gift shops in case I wanted to return.

Alfriston

The plan had been to go a different way back but I could see the phone battery was running low and didn’t want to risk getting lost with no app to help so decided to return the way I had come. Part way back the phone battery gave up completely so it was obviously the right thing to do. I arrived back at the car at 12.30pm having had a quick look at the produce on sale outside the Firle post office and at the Ram Inn but decided there wasn’t really enough time for lunch before picking up dear daughter.

The lunch

I stopped off at Offham Farm Shop to grab something I could eat in the car (driving while hungry is supposed to be as bad as drink driving!). I felt quite guilty walking past the pigs with a sausage roll in my hand…

On returning home I was surprised to find the husband in the house just preparing a search party for Firle as I had not replied to his text asking if I had arrived back at the car park yet…oops…