Tag Archives: Sussex meat

Boarshead and Laurel Fruit Farm Shop

10 Feb

The walk

I am well-organised for once! Spent some time yesterday looking through the pub strolls book, researching a walk to do and loading it into Outdoors GB. Having to go further afield now as I seem to have done most of the walks near Plumpton (in this book, anyway). So, after dropping the girl at college, I drove on another 40 minutes to just north of Crowborough – Boarshead, and started my walk from the access road just off the A26.

Boarshead loop

I had planned to continue on a few miles after the walk to visit a farm shop which I had also researched but I saw one right at the start of the walk: Laurel Fruit Farm Shop, so decided I would try that instead. Went wrong almost immediately, as I needed to, in fact, go through the farm entrance and start from there. I don’t know if the book is a little out of date now, but this seemed to be the theme of walk and I would have struggled without the app.

Laurel Fruit Farm

Lovely start to the route, walking through the farm orchard, with nice views over the fields, a flat, grey day, cold but not freezing. The hat and snood came out pretty quickly but I refrained from using my gloves as I have to take them on and off frequently to take photographs. Took a phone call from a work colleague and was nice to say I was in an orchard while she talked about work – it seemed a million miles away.

Laurel Fruit Farm

Pecan maple cookie

Through the orchard was a small seat and a view so I took the opportunity to have my coffee stop and maple cookie (recipe on The Kitchen Shed), I was hungry already despite the scrambled eggs and seeded toast I’d had for breakfast. After the break, I headed down across field, across a small stream and into another field, where things started to go wrong again, two paths presented themselves, one higher, one lower; I took the lower, by the meandering stream, which meant I missed the fingerpost sign I was looking for. I soon realised my mistake, however, after checking the app, and cut back up to it. Here, I felt the route instructions let me down, as they said to ignore paths right and left, when in fact I needed to turn left across the field to the woods. I eventually realised my mistake and tramped across the farmer’s field, which he was spraying, so I felt very self conscious and expected to hear a shout at any minute; ‘Get orf my land!’.

Laurel Fruit Farm

From there, a wooded section began, which was a little spooky! Some great tree roots to photograph though and a fair bit of uphill. Eventually coming out of the forest with nice views over the fields, from there it was simply a matter of following the unmade road back to the busy A26 and time to check out the farm shop!

The farm

 

Apples were clearly their specialty and they had a lot of different types: Cox, Gala, Fuji, Russet, Golden Delicious, Bramley etc. they could be bought loose or bagged up. I chose a bag of Gala and headed inside to see what else they sold. Apple juices, bread and cakes, pickles, a small selection of vegetables, greetings cards, and a fridge with a few cheeses and game. I chose some venison burgers and then headed for the Boar’s Head Inn for lunch. A nice old pub with open fires and low beams, dating from 1636, friendly and already with a few customers, though it wasn’t quite midday.

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The lunch

The food menu had a reasonable choice, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, soup and a list of mains including liver and bacon, plaice and chips, cottage pie and lamb shank. I ordered the special which was vegetable chilli and rice. I ordered early as the blackboard said all food was made to order so there could be a delay. I saw this as a good thing as it sounds like it is all home-cooked. The vegetable chilli didn’t disappoint, sweet and spicy just what you need on a cold day! Afterwards I had a filter coffee which came with a piece of melt-in-your-mouth marshmallow on the side.

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Sheffield Park and Tea Room

2 Feb

The walk

A very cold bright day and my daughter and I were glad of the heated seats in the drive in to Plumpton College this morning.

She was in a good mood and I had no trouble getting her out of the car and off for an exciting morning of looking at graffiti in Brighton. I have decided to revisit Sheffield Park today, after discovering it on a family day out over Christmas. That time we had paid to look around the National Trust gardens and enjoyed lunch in the tea room. I felt it had been quite an expensive day out, even with one of us getting in free as my daughter’s carer. I suppose it depends how long you intend to spend looking round or whether you have a young person with you that essentially you are just going to chase around the gardens for an hour. I did notice, on this previous visit, that as well as a lovely tea room, there was parkland you could explore for free. This is what I decided to do today.

Sheffield Park

I was surprised by the number of cars in the car park at 9.30 on a cold, February Monday morning, but it is a popular place and over the Christmas holidays there was quite a queue for the tearoom. I already had my map, flask of coffee, and warm walking gear (though I was down to one pair of gloves as Dear Daughter (who had decided upon leaving the house that she didn’t need gloves), snaffled a pair of mine on arrival at college.

I opted for the ‘long walk’ – about 1.5 miles – so this is ideal for families or slower/less able walkers – there is also a ‘short walk’ of about a mile, and the East Park circular walk which certainly doesn’t look longer than 2 mikes. I was straight into a field of livestock- heifers – urgh – not my favourite – so I skirted around them, following the signs and map as best I could. The Bluebell Railway is a short walk away and it was nice to hear the train whistle and see the plume of steam from the train. You could do a nice combined day out, parking at Sheffield Park, walking over the parkland to the Bluebell Railway and walking back via the natural play trail for a fun day out with kids.

I was relieved to leave the heifer field and enter St George’s which was full of sheep, both the signage and map (from the National Trust visitor centre) are very good and easy to follow. I took a little diversion from the long walk to have a look at Ringwood Toll, natural play trail, lots of fun to be had here, including building dens out of sticks, tightrope walking, and storytelling in the hut.

Ringwood Toll

Ringwood Toll Natural Play Trail

Ringwood Toll

Wigwam fun!

Ringwood Toll

Tightrope walking at Ringwood Toll

Ringwood Toll

Storytelling Hut

The landscape wasn’t so spectacular, it is parkland, after all, and mainly fields of livestock, with small wooded copse, no great views either, but pleasant. There were signs to the Wildlife Haven and river which may have been more interesting, but I will save those for another day. There are plenty of birds, if you are interested in them, robins, magpies and crows and I think I heard a woodpecker.

Sheffield Park

Lower Woman’s Way Pond

I looped back round to the car, after a quick look at Lower Woman’s Way Pond, and I was glad to get back for a warm-up and flask of coffee in the car, as although there were lots of benches on the way round (good, again for less able walkers) I was not tempted to stop and get a frozen bottom!

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After a break I decided to explore the shops I had seen signs for on the way in. I had seen at least four signs, and had thought there were at least two shops (apart from the National Trust visitor centre, selling the usual gift items) but I think there is only one other, called ‘All Wine and Roses’ a nursery and wine shop. I followed the signs up to it, however, it didn’t seem very open. Looked like a quirky place, to buy plants, architectural salvage and wine imported from France.

All Wine and Roses

Nursery at Sheffield Park

Sheffield Park

Not sure what this is about?

All wine and roses

The lunch

Nothing for it now but to hit the tea room, which is currently undergoing refurbishment. We sat in the large Oak Hall, usually reserved for functions, nice and grand, if a little dark.

Tea Room at Sheffield Park

Oak Hall Tea Room

I had leek and potato soup with a hunk of brown bread – if I’m honest, the soup was a little tasteless, but the bread certainly was a hunk, and quite good value for £4.50. As it is now after midday the tearoom is filling up with mums and toddlers and retired folks. I will come again!

Sheffield Park Tea Room

The Chalk Pits and Offham Farm Shop

28 Jan

The walk

Attempting today a walk I was going to do a few weeks ago, which I didn’t manage due to issues of finding parking. Today, I was better prepared – there are three parking lay-bys but all on the wrong side of a very fast road, so as I drove past I noted which one was nearest my walk’s starting point and then continued on the road until it was safe to turn round.

This walk starts from the Jubilee bus stop at Offham and heads straight up the hill to the chalk pits.

Offham Chalk Pits

I was expecting a brighter start to the day, yesterday had been beautiful, sunny and frosty for our run in Bramber, but today was damp, grey, albeit warmer.

Protected Wildlife Site

This area has been designated a protected wildlife site due to its habitat, probably due to the chalky terrain.

So, a grey Monday morning and a fierce walk uphill all the way to the top of Treacle Mines, (I have been trying to find out where the name ‘Treacle Mines’ comes from but the nearest I can find is in this article about the Battle of Lewes where the troops were said to ‘come to a sticky end’) and on to a wonderful view towards Lewes and the spectacular Offham chalk pit.

View towards lewes

Chalk pits, Offham

Chalk mining was a big industry between 1809–1890, where the chalk was used to make lime for fertiliser. In order to get the chalk down from the quarry for transportation on the River Ouse, a funicular railway was built. You can read the full story here.

There was a good information board which had some augmented reality features but unfortunately my phone did not pick up the content.

Chalk Pits information board

From there I walked a little further on to a gate to a field with a sign which said ‘NO SHEEP IN THIS FIELD’ and, yes, you guessed it, it was full of sheep. Dropped down through the field and crossed a main road, then followed a Tarmac path down to Offham Road and on through a housing estate.

Offham

By this time I was about ready for a coffee break, and, spotting an empty bus shelter, decided it would make a good stop. Within a few minutes people began arriving at the bus stop, first an older woman, smartly dressed in black with bright pink lipstick, and then a younger girl. I felt obliged to explain to my audience that I was not, in fact, waiting for a bus but just having a break in my walk.

Bus stop coffee break

The older lady was very chatty and heartily approved of my breakfast stop, warned me to be careful out there – you youngsters she said, going off on your own – youngster! Well I am nearly 48 but I readily accepted the compliment. We also discussed ‘cardiac hill’ (which apparently is School Hill in Lewes), Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (which she had seen at Eastbourne cinema when it came out) before I bade them farewell and completed the walk, along the Old Coach Road – extremely churned up and muddy – and back to Hamsey and the Jubilee bus stop.

Hamsey church

The farm

I decided to keep local today and so I decided to revisit Offham Farm Shop, which I knew would be quiet and I could possibly get some work done in the café. 

Offham Farm Shop

It is not a big shop or an extensive café, mainly focusing on their meat counter, good value meat boxes and a range of home made pies. There is also a small selection of vegetables, cheese, ready meals and ice cream. For lunch there are sandwiches, soup, and sausage rolls. Generously sized cakes are also an option!

Offham Farm

Next week’s sausage rolls?

 I bought some lovely honey with nuts – it is expensive but a spoonful of that on some Greek yoghurt and breakfast is sorted!

English honey

The lunch

From the menu, I chose the soup of the day which was tomato. It came served with some fresh crusty bread and both were of generous proportions – quite a bargain for £4.50!

Offham Tea Room

 

Forest Row and The Seasons Health Food Shop

27 Nov

Forest Row

The walk

Bright and cold this morning. A welcome break from a day of rain yesterday.

Had decided on a circular walk near Forest Row and utilise the shops there afterwards. A long-ish drive from the college at over 30 minutes but without lunch to factor in, I reckoned I had time. Lovely drive through Chailey Common and Ashdown Forest, a low sun, and autumnal colours on the trees. My Tom Tom took me most of the way there with a slight hiccup at the end when it wanted me to go down a private road: we fell out about that. Found one of the two car parks in Forest Row (23 hours free parking – that’s as rare as hen’s teeth! And a lovely on-site toilet – who could ask for more?)

Forest Row

Started off badly with the instructions – I don’t think it helped to start from the wrong car park! But Great Britain Outdoors soon had me back on track. Set off by walking through the town and heading off down by a stream, from here the instructions were very simple to follow and I didn’t have much trouble finding the route. In contrast to last week it felt very busy and industrious round here (of course, the weather was far better) but I was never without the hum of some farm machinery, or a dog walker, bike rider or pony trekker. A mixture of streams, fields, tracks, bridle ways, disused railway lines and roads, I enjoyed this one more than usual. I don’t know whether it was the variety or the sunshine but everyone I met was in a good mood. I am also enjoying walking rather than running because you can see more and converse more with people you meet.

Coffee break

I stopped for my coffee break on the bridge over a lively stream – everything was wet from yesterday’s rain so there were no convenient sitting places. Passed a farm with chickens wandering freely in the fields and then on past the spectacular ruins of Brambletye House. This was the home of Sir Henry Compton, built in 1631. It fell into ruin by 1683 said to have happened when the family fled to Spain after Sir James Richards (described as being ‘of Brambletye House’) was accused of treason. Novelist, Horace Smith romanticised the ruin in his book ‘Brambletye House or Cavaliers and Roundheads’ which has confused the history somewhat. The full article is here

Brambletye House

The shop

My shopping today was mainly centred around The Seasons a health food shop in two parts, one near the car park on Lower Road selling mainly fruit and vegetables, cosmetics and toiletries. From there I bought avocados, blueberries and some letterpress Christmas cards and tags.

Letterpress Christmas cards and tags

Then, the main shop is across the road and through the back entrance up some stairs or from Hartfield Road. This is well-stocked with all kinds of grains, nuts, dried fruit, teas, honey and spreads, as well as fresh bread, cheese and tofu. From here I bought brown arborio rice (for a chicken and asparagus risotto I intend to make tomorrow), some Greek yoghurt (which I am having tonight with some roast pears, and some nutritional yeast flakes (which is a substitute for Parmesan apparently).

 The Seasons Health Food Shop

The lunch

Had my lunch – haloumi salad with pomegranate seeds in the car, a woman rapped on my window – I thought she was after my space but she just wanted to express her disbelief and incredulity at the free parking!

Haloumi salad

The farm

Was about to head back to the college when a text came through from Dear Daughter’s TA saying they would be late back from the recycling centre (their trip today) so I took the opportunity to visit Townings Farm shop and bought some chicken and enquired about Christmas cakes. She is taking orders for 5 and 6″ iced ones and 8″ un-iced. I ordered an un-iced one, I usually make my own but I am going to be busy with work from now until Christmas. As I left the large rooster and his hens were pecking about the yard.

Townings Farm Shop

Cooksbridge and Holmansbridge Farm Shop

19 Nov

The run

Another inauspicious start to the day.

I had decided to do a recovery walk today after running the Brook’s 10k yesterday, gaining a personal best of 48:06 (last year 51:46). I suppose it helps to be a stone lighter and not hungover!
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I began my research with finding a farm shop that is open on Mondays and then found a walk nearby. I decided to go back to Holmansbridge Farm shop which I haven’t visited in about a year.

The walk I found began and ended in Cooksbridge a small village on the A275 which I have driven through many times. It has its own railway station and is mainly made up of modern houses – a commuter village, however according to SussexVillage.net it derived its name from the cooks who fed the soldiers of Simon de Montfort on their way to the battle of Lewes in 1264.
Having read through the walk instructions I felt confident that it would be an easy one but I also had the route plotted on Outdoors Great Britain as back-up. Not a day for getting lost, as although the rain was not heavy it was continuous.

Cooksbridge
The walk began by crossing the railway line and heading off between the houses down to a stream and then up onto some water logged fields.

Cooksbridge

Once again I was glad to have decided on wellington boots. Crossed the railway line once again (freaked me out a bit – an unmanned crossing with signs for the Samaratins either side!

Cooksbridge

And minutes after I crossed a train came charging through!

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The instructions were easy to follow for the most part, with slight confusion at the gap in the hedge and diagonally crossing the field to Hawsey Manor. A bit of walking on the road here, but so quiet! On mornings like this you can truly imagine yourself in the Zombie Apocalypse. Small birds (chaffinch?) flitted ahead of me down the lane, marking my progress. I also saw a rabbit in the field and ducks on the River Ouse.

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I continued down this lane until Ivor’s Lane and a finger post to the River Ouse. Walking along the muddy embankment, this section was quite familiar to me, as I have run or walked it several times on different routes (from Lewes and Southease ). Very desolate this morning.

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Finally turning off under the railway bridge and heading up the Old Coach Road towards The Blacksmiths Arms.

You can imagine rattling along in an old stage coach on the Old Coach Road

You can imagine rattling along in an old stage coach on the Old Coach Road

From here it was a short walk along the main road back to Cooksbridge, however, the rain was coming down hard, and I passed an old stone bus shelter with a nice bench inside and so decided to stop and have my coffee and snack – a pumpkin energy ball and hope for the rain to ease.

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Inside the bus shelter was printed the interesting story of how it came about. Apparently a committee decided in 1935 that a bus shelter should be erected near the church timed to coincide with the Jubilee celebrations of King George V and Queen Mary. Work was started on the foundations shortly afterwards and Lady Shiffner agreed to pay for the wooden bench (on which I am sitting) to go inside. The shelter was not completed in time for the Jubilee celebrations and so the bench was put in place and a ribbon cut by Lady Shiffner. The bench was then removed to the carpenter’s shop where it remained for the next year. There were various hold-ups in the building of the shelter and a year later the committee complained it had reached a standstill and that this was a very poor state of affairs. One reason for the delay was that the road had been re-levelled and was considerably higher than before. The shelter was finally completed in time for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, two years later in 1937.

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The farm

Afterwards I drove to Holmansbridge farm shop which I haven’t visited for a year. Once again they have their large wooden turkey out, advertising their Christmas turkeys. It was with a pang of guilt that I watched the turkey flock from the yard.
The farm shop itself is quite small, mainly consisting of a large meat counter, a large refrigerated area containing cheese, cured meats, smoked salmon and some fruit and vegetables. The rest of the shop has sauces, condiments, tea, coffee, home-made cakes and unrefrigerated fruits and vegetables.
I took my time looking around even though the butcher eagerly approached the counter as I entered. I bought some fruit and vegetables,

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a brand of tea I had not previously seen (I have just had a cup of this and it is really delicious)

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and some smoked salmon. I was interested to see the addition of venison on the meat counter, but having had venison mince delivered in my meat and veg box this week I bought some chicken instead.

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I still had plenty of time before picking dear daughter up, so I decided to go over to Spring Barn Farm to do some Christmas shopping.
Their Christmas shop is now open and the staff were happy to show me their outhouse containing Christmas lights and the area in which their fresh Christmas trees would go.  They have lots of food gifts and hampers and a large selection of Christmas decorations. I looked around for some gifts but couldn’t quite decide on anything. I also enquired about Christmas cakes and they showed me some beautifully decorated ones made by a lady in Worthing, however these were quite small and rather expensive but they did say they would find out a price for an 8″ one. In the end I bought some more ready meals: my son had the black turtle bean chilli for dinner, he said it had a nice spiciness but could have been a little more flavourful. I also bought some smoked Haddock from Springs (it was a toss up between this and the rabbit – so I reckon my husband got off lightly!)

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The lunch

Lunch was eaten in the car: today a tofu salad. My son had bought the tofu as an experiment, but I’m not sure. It was ok but I don’t think I’ll be buying it again. This was with leftover roast sweet potato and an orange dressing.

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Chailey Common and Townings Farm Shop

11 Nov

The run

A terrific thunderstorm in the evening and through the night with lots of heavy rain, so I was not sure what to expect in the morning. There were still showers and so I packed the usual stuff, plus a book, plus Wellington boots as I thought it would still be very muddy on my planned route. I was determined to do the walk/run I had researched for last week that got rained off. I had found a nice walk on Chailey Nature Reserve, and had further prepared by trying an app that my husband is keen on: OutDoors GB. It does need a bit more preparation and you have to purchase the OS maps for the area you want which are quite expensive (East Sussex 1:25k cost £16!). You plot the route ahead of time and then when you are out on your walk/run you can see where you are from the blue dot and where you are supposed to be from the red line.

Outdoors Great Britain app

Outdoors Great Britain app

This was a big help and meant I didn’t get as lost as usual! The walk instructions were quite good, though I did go wrong quite near the beginning. Because of this I did get to St Georges early on instead of towards the end of the walk, but I turned around and retraced my steps until my blue dot was back on my red line!

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As I had suspected the walk was very wet and muddy and I was glad I had put my wellies on and walked rather than run. Some parts were deep puddles or more like walking through streams.

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At the top of the hill I stopped to admire the view and drink some of my coffee and eat my pumpkin protein bar.

Pumpkin protein bar

Pumpkin protein bar

From there the route plunged down into woodland with streams and bridges.

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I didn’t see many people during this part of the walk except when I came to the Philip Ridley Memorial Pond where a man was poking around the pond with a stick. He didn’t talk, in fact he looked away like he really didn’t want to pass the time of day or explain what he was doing. It was a bit creepy actually and I hurried away up the hill to St George’s.

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I was rather intrigued about St George’s – it looks like a little community in its own right. Apparently it used to be a residential school, built in 1932, then used as army accommodation during the war. Now it is used as residences. There is also a windmill on site which you can just see in the photo below:

St George's, Chailey

There is a windmill in here somewhere!

I tried to get a photograph of the windmill but it was quite difficult. I crossed the road and saw my car in the car park – the temptation to cut the walk short was strong but I continued on, around to the memorial stone and met a very sparky group of older people walking dogs – they were very friendly and cheerful and seemed to be having a great time! I was intrigued by the memorial stone which reads:

“You who walk these commons remember with gratitude Gareth Christian and Charles Constant whose loving imagination and unsparing labour led to the establishment of the Chailey Common nature reserve.

Their ashes are scattered on the land they loved 1971″
Memorial Stone Chailey Nature Reserve

Memorial Stone Chailey Nature Reserve

From there it was just a matter of circling around the Heath back to the start.

The farm

Townings Farm Shop

Townings Farm Shop

I had decided to visit one of my favourite farm shops: Townings which I knew was open on a Monday. I bought some apples (dear daughter is making apple crumble tomorrow in food tech), a pheasant – it’s on the approved food list of my clean-eating plan and I’ve never had one before so I decided to go for it! Also bought some ham (rather expensive but I’d rather buy quality) and I couldn’t resist Auntie Val’s English Breakfast Marmalade – I have an Auntie Val! And my husband is rather partial to marmalade.

Townings Farm Shop

Today’s haul

The lunch

Lunch was a healthy salad eaten in the car and a few chapters of Anne Frank which I am reading at the moment.

Lunch on the go

Lunch on the go

Tales from the Secret Annexe, Anne Frank

Waldron and Middle Farm Shop

17 Oct

The run

A very unpromising start to the day – heavy downpours interspersed with sunny spells – but you know what they say: ‘If it ain’t raining, it ain’t training’, so I dropped my daughter at college and headed off to Waldron on the second attempt to do the walk from the Star Inn. A busy weekend had meant little planning time so I just grabbed the sheets I had previously copied out of the Pub Strolls book and set off.

 

It seemed simple enough to start with, The Star Inn being next to the church where the walk began. The first instruction was to take a stile over the back of the churchyard and cross a field. Firstly, it was very difficult to tell the front from the back of the church as they both had entrances, and secondly there was no stile, but a kissing gate.

Timmy and Roger

Timmy and Roger

Quite an interesting graveyard here, these are the graves of Timmy and Roger not sure if they are for babies or animals?

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Once into the field and not at all confidant that I was following the instructions correctly I decided to abandon the walk on the paper in front of me and use my visual memory and the way markers to guide me. As long as I remember where I have been then I shall be able to get back I reasoned.

All was well, I followed the way markers over stiles and through a horses’ field. In terms of livestock I am not quite sure where I stand on horses. They are large, granted, but I perceive them to be intelligent and friendly, however I skirted the edge of the field and kept my distance from the head-tossing mare.

horses

At this point I could see no more way markers and was surrounded by fields of horses, I made my way to what looked like a farm entrance and passed a lady practicing her show-jumping. She informed me that the path was back the way I had come and so I turned around and headed through another field, exiting onto the road in the village of Cade Street where I also spotted this memorial – or warning to traitors! The full story of Jack Cade’s rebellion is here.

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By this point I was on the road and using my phone to guide me – it looked like Waldron was some miles away but that did not seem logical with the short distance I had cut across fields and woods.

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Continued on, taking the old Heathfield road and was soon surprised to be running past my car! Shorter than I would have liked, however I decided to finish and eat my snack on the bench by the roadside. I could see two police women in the village and was approached by one who asked if I had seen an elderly lady on my run. The 67-year-old had not been seen since yesterday and they feared she may have got lost or taken ill. Sadly I couldn’t help them – I hope they found her?

 

The farm

Mondays are tricky for farm shops. I had located one, Redlands Farm Shop, however no opening hours on their website and no answer when I telephoned. When I went there it was closed, but fortunately, having plenty of time I decided to revisit one of my favourites: Middle Farm. I wanted to buy some healthy ready meals for my husband and son (as I am teaching an evening class on Mondays now) and also stock up on some organic chicken for my Challenge! I bought chicken, mackerel and some frozen ready meals (both vegetarian and meat). They seemed to go down well.

The lunch

As I am on a 10-week Challenge through my gym, I had packed my own healthy lunch and ate it in the car. Thai beef salad and wholemeal pitta bread.

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Ringmer and The Plough at Plumpton Green

22 Sep

The run

My friend, Joey (also a keen runner) had said she had seen some good running routes on the internet, which were near Ringmer. So rather than going further and further afield I decided to explore this possibility today. I used the Walk Jog Run app to find suitable loops and settled on a 5.5 mile one. Parked up in a suburban close and went to get my running shoes out of the boot…only… somewhere between brushing my daughter’s hair and struggling out of the house I had left them behind. Decided to fast walk the route instead in my unsuitable shoes. It was all on the road anyway so not too bad. Although sunny there was a definite nip in the air. The first part was through the village of Ringmer – nice, largish houses and I was almost immediately overtaken by an old gent in an invalid carriage shouting good morning and passing comment on the weather over his shoulder.

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Conservation Corner, Ringmer

Conservation Corner, Ringmer

Conservation Corner, Ringmer

The second part of the route was on a main road which had a shop selling basket chairs and rustic household items, a few yards further on was the Green Man pub.

The Green Man Pub, Ringmer

The Green Man Pub, Ringmer

This wind turbine became a good landmark to navigate with.

Wind turbine, Ringmer

Wind turbine, Ringmer

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Starting to feel like autumn with the first blackberries appearing in the hedgerows, conkers on the ground and hay bales in the fields. Lovely and warm by mid-morning though. Navigating was fairly straightforward as I was following roads and using the Walk Jog Run app.

Glyndebourne House

Glyndebourne House

I was surprised to pass by Glyndebourne House and Opera on my way round the route. This has featured on an earlier run here.

Wind turbine Ringmer

Wind turbine Ringmer

I was glad to get back to the car after the walk as I was beginning to feel light-headed and hungry – luckily I had packed a peanut butter, banana muffin – the recipe is here.

Peanut butter and banana muffin

Life saver!

 

The farm

I decided to revisit a farm shop I haven’t been to for a while – many farm shops are closed on Mondays so this aspect is becoming more challenging. I headed back to Townings Farm Shop at Chailey as it is almost a year since I have visited and they seemed keen to expand their business so I thought I’d see what they had been up to. It is a little off the beaten track – a single track road in fact, but once there they have animals to see nearby (chickens, rare breed sheep) and I noticed new signs to the pigs and vintage farm machinery. Inside was still and excellent selection of produce including their own sausages (sausage and bacon, lamb, Old Sussex and Black Pig Apple – for pigs raised in the apple orchard and with added apple juice for sweetness). They have added a small cafe which they spoke of last time, just a couple of tables and serving filter coffee and loose leaf tea but they hope to develop it further over time. I would have stayed for lunch if they had had more on offer.

The lunch

I considered going back to The Green Man at Ringmer but thought I would keep my eyes open on the way back and see what came up. As it happened I passed The Plough at Plumpton Green which had a lovely garden and tables in the sunshine so I stopped there and entered the deserted bar. After an urgent comfort break I ordered some food from the friendly bar maid and sat outside where I was greeted by an equally friendly black labrador called Zena who lay at my feet and looked at my adoringly. Shortly afterwards another dog, called Bob arrived with his owners – he wanted me to play with his lead but I declined. The food was also-ran (bit too much sauce on the fish) – the salad was really nice though and if you have dogs or children I expect you will get a relaxing lunch here.

Cod in Mediterranean sauce

Cod in Mediterranean sauce

Abbots Wood and Sharnfold Farm Shop

2 Jul

The run

This will be the last blog post until September as my daughter’s course at Plumpton College finishes today.

I had planned a route from a pub in Arlington which had also mentioned forest trails, so when I saw signs for a Forestry Commision car park I decided to turn off and try that instead.

And so I found myself in the very pleasant surroundings of Abbots Wood. I was a bit concerned I wouldn’t have change for the pay and display (having expected to park for free) but you could also pay by parking app which is becoming popular all over Brighton (and I love – soooo much easier – though irritating you have to pay slightly more for it).

Abbots Wood

Abbots Wood

It’s well set up here with toilets, BBQ hire (ring to arrange this), picnic tables, play equipment for kids, and two different forest trails; a shorter one (less than a mile) and a longer one (less than three miles). Ideal for taking younger kids for a runaround. A lake and rope swings part way round add interest.

Rent a BBQ

Rent a BBQ

I began with the longer route, easy to follow yellow signs meant no getting lost and well maintained paths made for easy running. This area is very popular with dog walkers and I imagine would be pretty busy at weekends.

Map of Abbots Wood

Map of Abbots Wood

The lake was very pretty and I paused to reflect and watch a dog cooling off in there. Everyone I met was very friendly even if the black Labrador puppy was a bit enthusiastic and jumped up to give me his paws.

The Lake, Abbots Wood

The Lake, Abbots Wood

On the second time around I followed the red route – a bit short really but would be good for young kids- I couldn’t resist a go on the rope swing as I went past!

The rope swing

The rope swing

After the run I found a picnic bench and sat and wrote my blog with some coffee and Nigel Slater’s chocolate banana bread – find the recipe here (it’s a good one – I’ve made it at least three times now)

Chocolate banana bread

Chocolate banana bread

The farm

En route to the farm shop I had to brake sharply rounding a corner in order to let a mummy duck and her duckling cross the road!

On to Sharnfold Farm shop which certainly has a lot going on! As well as an excellent farm shop with a large fresh meat counter, they also have freezers full of fresh fruit, vegetables, croissants, fish cakes and Cook ready meals plus local ales, cooking sauces, confectionary and greetings cards. A busy coffee shop serving a variety of cakes and lunches comprising quiche, soup, paninis and jacket potatoes.

Outside on the terrace is a view of the children’s play area. They also have a big PYO (pick your own) business, including soft fruits, and vegetables – shame I didn’t need anything!

PYO

PYO

For the summer they have planned tasting weekends, lawnmower racing and a camping weekend with BBQ.

Very busy and popular, even on a Wednesday; mainly with parents and small children and retired people. The conversation; that woman’s disgusting tattoos, High Wycombe and obsessive cleaning habits.

There is also a farm trail with a choice of routes, tractor and trailer rides and activities and games on the way round.

Sharnfold Farm Trail

Sharnfold Farm Trail

 The lunch

Decided to stay where I was although there had been many fine looking eateries en route; at Arlington: the Arlington Tea Rooms looked good and there was the pub I was going to start from The Old Oak Inn, but I decided to walk around the farm trail and come back for lunch at the farm coffee shop. The trail is free but they do like you to purchase food at the cafe and picnics are not allowed.

Sharnfold Farm shop

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