The first trip is to ‘Sussex-By-The-Sea’ and the resort of Hastings, a town forever associated with the most famous date in English history. The optional linear walk of 6.0 miles in the High Weald AONB starts on high ground with commanding coastal views to both east and west. Much of the route is in the 850 acre Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve which includes sandstone cliffs, deep valleys, heathland and grassland, ancient woodland, conservation areas and sustainably managed farmland. The scenic walk is mainly on good, wide paths but is hilly with plenty of ascents and descents and there are some sound but rather uneven stretches with lots of rustic steps in places. The walk ends high above Hastings Old Town and the sea, where there are open grassy areas ideal for a picnic lunch if you choose to bring one. Otherwise, there is a funicular railway straight down the cliff to the Old Town where there are plenty of choices, in particular seafood places and fish & chip shops selling locally landed fish (the town is home to Europe’s largest beach-launched fishing fleet). Those not walking will be driven to Hastings with its many seaside attractions, including the award-winning pier which was completely rebuilt in 2016 as a modern take on the Victorian original which had been destroyed by fire. There are several local museums and the remains of Hastings Castle, the first one in England built by William the Conqueror.
The meeting point, as in previous years, will be the Braywick car park in front of Stafferton Lodge (free parking at weekends), with access from Braywick Road (A308), Maidenhead. The departure time is 8.00 am. The trip will be shown in the EBR summer walks programme.