One day back in April, I took a train to Southease. If you come by train, make sure the ticket staff sell you a ticket to Southease, not to Lewes.. One from Seaford to Lewes may be the same price, but otherwise it distorts the statistics of how many people use this station. It would be a shame if we ever lost this stop.
When the train leaves, you are left in a peaceful lane, with the sing song chattering of goldfinches and more wheezy tunes of greenfinches. At the bridge I headed north on the Egrets Way.
It’s a pleasant stroll, with swaying reeds and flower filled water channels to the left and views of the cliffs of Lewes up ahead. Alternatively you can walk along the riverbank instead, where you might catch a glimpse of an egret that gave the path its name. It is a bridleway so there are no stiles to climb, but there are quite a few gates through farmland. Some sections are unpaved at the request of the landowner, so could be muddy. To the right, a heron circles and sweeps back down to the river. On the left a kestrel hovers over grassland, his eye on some poor rodent.
After a while I spotted Rodmell Church, and I kept walking until the bridleway turns westwards along country lanes. I enjoyed sightings of linnets in the hedges, and passed by paddocks of horses, under a backdrop of the South Downs escarpment, yellow with rape fields.
I soon reached the pretty village of Rodmell, and the lane goes right past Monks House (National Trust access at certain times only). Once at the road, there is also a pub if you need a refreshment stop! I took the path directly opposite, up another leafy country lane, until I reached the top of the hill where the lane met the South Downs Way. From here it is downhill again, and you get views of the gentle path down the valley, that would take you to Telscombe village.
Back in the valley, a few wild flowers were starting to show their heads. I passed a few walkers with big backpacks obviously walking the South Downs Way path.
I took the right hand path, up a small slope and crossed the road, into Southease village, with its attractive church with a round tower, and a village green. Carrying on the road a little further, I got back to the bridge where I started.
Distance (approx 4.5 miles and 2 hours)
Have you enjoyed any local walks? Do share them with us!
If you want to find out more about the progress of the Egrets Way, all are welcome at their AGM which is tonight in Lewes. There is also an interesting talk about the founder of the RSPB.