Tag Archives: Sussex walks

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 I don’t know if the book is a little out of date now, but this seemed to be the theme of walk and I would have struggled without the app.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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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

 

Barcombe and No Lunch At All

29 Sep

The run

I had a request this week (yes! I take requests!), to go to Barcombe Mills and check out the river (for possible kayaking) and The Anchor Inn. So off I set on a misty, struggling-to-rain kind of a morning.

Barcombe

I had decided to walk the 5 miles as yesterday I ran the Barns Green half marathon and the legs were somewhat achey. I thought a nice walk in the country would be just the thing to ease out those tired muscles. I parked the car in Barcombe High Street and set off with a route I downloaded from the internet, a flask of coffee, banana, and money for lunch/farm shop.

The walk started off well enough with the instructions easy to follow, and although it was starting to drizzle I enjoyed the experience of a relaxing walk. Signs of autumn are all around now, I saw plenty of grouse, conkers and berries in the hedgerows.

In fact, there seems to be evidence that the grouse are quite a pest to farmers as all along the cornfields they had bird feeders, presumably to stop the grouse eating the corn (it seems evident which they prefer though!)

Game feeder

Game feeder

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Where things started to go awry was at point 3 on the route description, following the instructions brought me nowhere near anything that sounded like what was described and I felt like I walked around those fields in circles for about an hour, at one point stopping for coffee and to try and get a bit of perspective on the matter.

Coffee time

Coffee time

In the end I decided to continue down Anchor Lane to have a look at the Anchor Inn (part of the request anyway!) hoping it might make a good lunch stop – unfortunately Mondays are often the day a restaurant will close it’s kitchen, so no joy there.

The Anchor InnThe Anchor Inn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the map I could see that I could rejoin my original walk by continuing down the River Ouse and managed to pick up the instructions again at point 5 on the route description.

Unfortunately I got lost again at point 7 and by this time I was feeling extremely hungry and actually quite desperate as my phone was also running down and I had been relying on the GPS to keep me right.

Barcombe route

I decided I had had enough of tramping across fields (they all look the same!) and listened for the sound of a road, which I went towards.

Field

All these fields look the same – or is it the same field?

“I’ll finish the thing on the road”, I thought, and set off in what I thought was the right direction, but, as I have zero sense of direction it turned out to be the wrong way as I just managed to ascertain from the dying light of the blue dot on my phone, and then I was on my own.

Geese

To avoid these…

…go through here

…go through here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More wrong turns and I was becoming anxious about being able to pick my daughter up in time from college, this is where the running started! Eventually I caught up with a postman doing his round and was able to ask him for directions – as I suspected I wasn’t far away and stomped into Barcombe High Street thinking ‘Thank f***, thank f***’ and was so pleased to see my little car again!

Barcombe

Barcombe? Barcombe? It’s around here somewhere!

The farm

I had hoped to pass something on the way round, but that didn’t happen, nor was there time to find something afterwards, so unfortunately it was Sainsburys on the way home today, which pleased dear daughter at least.

The lunch

No lunch today as nothing was open and there wasn’t time – a sad state of affairs – thank goodness for leftovers at home!