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When you need to escape the city, where do you head to?

You want to walk somewhere REALLY beautiful.

Somewhere that really makes you feel like you’re in the heart of a unique landscape.

The answer?

Try an official ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ (AONB).

There are eight close to London, possible to visit within a day. Wouldn’t it make a great challenge to visit each of them?

Over an occasional series of blog posts, I’ll be showcasing each one!

Today we are looking at:

No. 3: The High Weald

Here’s a taster of what to expect from this AONB, and some ‘must do’ walks to experience the best of the area.

1. The High Weald AONB is situated between the North and South Downs.

2. The area is a patchwork of small, irregular shaped fields and ancient woodland.

It’s considered one of the best surviving medieval landscapes in Northern Europe.

The story of fields and heaths in the High Weald - YouTube

3. Narrow, sunken lanes are a feature of the area; resulting from centuries of droving animals to graze

The story of routeways in the High Weald - YouTube

4. Ashdown Forest is one of the largest free public access spaces in the South East.

It’s stunningly beautiful healthland:


   by  tsbl2000 

‘Forest’ in this case means a Royal hunting park – not a area covered with trees.

Ashdown Forest is famous for inspiring Winnie-the-Pooh!

An Introduction to the History of Ashdown Forest - YouTube

Archaeology of Ashdown Forest - YouTube

5. The High Weald landscape trail is a 90 mile route that covers some of the major features of this AONB.

Some of the route, with a bit of tweaking, is accessible via train stations, from London.


   by  drewwith 

The Vanguard Way also passes through the High Weald and the best of Ashdown Forest on its way from Croydon to the Sea.

Read more
The Vanguard Way

6. The Weald includes many natural wildflower meadows:

Wildflower meadows in the High Weald - An Introduction - YouTube

7. And at the coast, the nature reserve at Rye Harbour is a superb place for bird spotting:


   by  tsbl2000 

Best walk:
Saturday Walkers Club: Walk 154: Rye to Dungeoness & Lydd

8. Eridge rocks are an interesting cluster of sandstone rock outcrops:


   by  debs-eye 

Best walk:
Saturday Walkers Club: Walk 120 Eridge Circular
Read more:
Eridge Rocks
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Best walks recap!

  1. Saturday Walkers’ Club Walk 23: Forest Row Circular
  2. Saturday Walkers’ Club Walk 23: Ashurst to East Grinstead
  3. High Weald landscape trail
  4. Saturday Walkers Club: Walk 154: Rye to Dungeoness & Lydd
  5. Saturday Walkers Club: Walk 120 Eridge Circular
  6. The Vanguard Way

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