Winchelsea to Pett
FOLKESTONE TO FARNHAM ROBUST RAMBLE
Section 10 Out
Winchelsea to Pett
Map: OS Explorer 124 Hastings and Bexhill
Distance/Time: 4 miles/ 2 hours
Start: The walk starts from the New Inn in Winchelsea with on road parking nearby.
Comments: The first half of this walk is most pleasant with rolling countryside and splendid views. The second half is through inhospitable farmland with virtually no waymarking, diverted paths and local created paths which confuse the public rights of way. It is crucial, alongside these instructions, to have the OS map and always to know where you are on it. In winter some of the paths are very muddy. There are several stiles, often in poor condition.
With the New Inn on your right and the churchyard on your left, set off down the road. Turn right along the first road on your right and soon reach a main road.
Cross with care to a kissing gate into a cricket ground. Go straight across to a stile at the far side. Cross and go forward a few metres. Just before the ground begins to drop steeply, turn left down a gently sloping grassy track towards the distant roof of a motel.
At the bottom of the hill go through a kissing gate, by an iron tank, onto a vehicle track. Go ahead down to a main road. Turn left, with great care, uphill, using the lefthand verge.
At the top, cross, at a road junction and find a bridleway, on the right, going downhill. Follow this enclosed path for some way. Where the path begins to level, look for a stile on your right, by a wooden fieldgate.
Cross into a field and go diagonally left, downhill to a large tree at the bottom, standing on its own. Behind the tree is a wooden kissing gate by a wooden fieldgate. Go through to a junction of paths. Bear right, up the hill, with a hedge and fence on your right, aiming just left of Wickham Manor house.
Reach an impressive isolated tree. Pass this on your right and head towards the left end of an ancient barn ahead. Cross a stile and drop down to a lane. Cross and go up the bank opposite to a stile into a field.
Go up the field parallel to the hedge on your left (don’t drop down the bank on your left). At the top of the field cross a stile and keep on up the next field to a stile out to a road.
Go right on the road a few paces, then left, through a gate into a field. Bear right up the field to the end of the treeline and continue along the edge of a wood to a stile by a fieldgate in the corner. The views are far reaching and spectacular. Keep on in the same direction with the fence and treeline on your right. Cross a stile at the next corner and head up towards a windmill. Soon emerge onto a road.
Go forward on the road, ignoring a footpath off left, and soon a path off right to the windmill. Keep uphill on the road to a junction (the paths may now differ from older versions of the OS map).
At the junction, turn right a few paces, looking for a kissing gate on the left by a works entrance. Enter an enclosed and muddy path going down the side of a building.
At the end emerge at the top of a sloping field. Turn immediately left along a broad gravel track, past buildings. Bear left to continue downhill on the main track, ignoring all tracks and paths off right.
The gravel track swings left by several metal fieldgates. Here go on downhill on a grassy track between fences. Keep along, generally in this direction, to reach and pass a ruined building on your right.
In a few metres reach a Y-fork. Bear right on a broad grassy track past a pond on your right. Continue downhill with a hedge and bushes on your right. Ignore all paths off left.
At a Y-fork at the bottom of the slope, turn sharp right, through the treeline and down into and up a dip. At the far side turn almost immediately left. Keep along this path in this direction, through bushes and trees, for some way.
Reach a junction of ways, just before a steep drop, down to a single plank bridge. Go down to the bridge (may be muddy) and up a narrow path the other side to reach another footbridge and stile into a field.
Go across the top of the field aiming just left of the bungalow at Little Pannel Farm. Reach the bungalow and bear left down to a drive. Turn right up the drive.
Soon leave the drive and go diagonally up the open field to the far top corner and a metal fieldgate hidden there. Go through and forward a few paces to a stile on your left into a field.
Go diagonally right up and across the field, aiming just left of farm buildings, to reach a stile. Cross and keep on in the same direction, up to the perimeter of the Knockbridge Farmhouse garden.
Bear left along the garden edge to go through a fieldgate into the next field. Here there is a junction of paths. Bear sharp left, downhill, with a fence and hedge on your left, to a fieldgate at the very bottom corner.
Bear left through it and on uphill for some way, with ragged trees and a hedge on your right. Reach a stile in the very top corner.
Cross into the adjacent field and turn left. Immediately turn left over another stile into a large sloping field (this is a permissive path into a conservation area and avoids a difficult negotiation of Scrag Oak Farm. (There are several ‘bull in field’ signs but the animals are rarely there so the signs are illegal).
Go straight down the edge of the field with a hedge on your left to the very bottom of the Pannel Valley. Turn left along the bottom to reach a hedge. Hidden in the corner is a broken stile into the next field. Keep on along the valley bottom looking for a footbridge on your left.
Cross the footbridge and turn immediately left through a metal fieldgate (no waymarks around here). Bear diagonally right up the field to the far opposite corner (ignore fieldgates in the hedge ahead).
Here join a path going uphill with a hedge on your left and the wooden fences of horse paddocks on your right. The right of way is not evident so at the top, turn right on the main track towards farm buildings, then left to pass them, then right to continue out to a concrete road.
Go straight ahead on the concrete road away from the farm. In 100 metres, just past a cottage down on your right, look for a gap in the hedge on your left. Cross a stile into field and follow the lefthand edge up then down to a rusty fieldgate by the bottom corner. The path is diverted here.
Go through the rusty fieldgate and turn immediately right on a narrow path along the fence line. At a large tree (where the path should exit the field), bear left down into and across a narrow field.
Enter a wood at the far side. Cross a dry stream and go uphill into the wood. Soon reach a Y-fork. Bear left downhill to soon reach a footbridge, cross and go uphill on the main path. Reach a junction. Bear slightly right to continue steeply uphill.
At the top of the hill the path turns right and begins to drop down for a short distance. Soon reach a gap into the field on the left (there are the remains of a broken stile here). Go through the gap and bear right up the edge of the field. Reach a stile at the top by a gate by a junction of ways.
Cross the stile, then turn immediately right over another stile. Cross a small open space with holly trees, to another stile into a garden area by a pond on your left. Bear left to pass the pond, then left again through piled logs, to an enclosed path running down the side of the garden with a hedge on your left.
At the bottom exit onto a drive and continue in the same direction, uphill, to emerge onto the main road in Pett village. Turn right to reach the village hall and the Two Sawyers pub and the end of the section.
FOLKESTONE TO FARNHAM ROBUST RAMBLE
Section 10 Return
Pett to Winchelsea
Map: OS Explorer 124 Hastings and Bexhill
Distance/Time: 4.5 miles/ 2.5 hours
Start: The walk starts from the Two Sawyers pub in Pett. There is a large car park if intending to visit (coffee very good), the village hall is next door.
Comments: A pleasant walk across rolling countryside with a long stretch through a reeded nature reserve. This area is heavy going in wet weather and sections are marshy. Well-fitting wellington boots solve a lot of problems. In fine weather there are excellent views. Add extra time for slow going in winter. Only a couple of stiles.
With the Two Sawyers pub on your left go down the road into Pett village passing the Village Hall, also on your left. Sadly, the village shop and post office has closed so keep on down to reach the parish church on your right.
Immediately past the church turn right on a footpath going up steps to a gate (ignore a squeeze stile into the churchyard). Enter a graveyard area. Go diagonally left across to a stile in the far opposite corner.
Cross in to field and bear left across to a stile at the end of a hedge. Go downhill (excellent views) and over a further stile. Drop down into trees and reach a stile by large rocks, between ponds.
Over the stile turn very sharply left, back uphill, following a treeline on your left. Where bushes stop, keep on up the field to a stile at the top.
Over this, bear diagonally right, across a field to a further stile by a fieldgate. Go over and on down to a final stile into a playing field. Go straight down the playing field, parallel to the hedge over on your right. At the bottom exit via a kissing gate and steps down to a road.
Turn left up to the Royal Oak public house. Immediately past the pub turn right down Elm (or Elms) Lane for some way.
After housing has finished, keep on down the lane to the point where it turns sharp right. The public right of way (now waymarked) goes straight on into an enclosed wooded path. This is generally a pleasant path through trees, but the start can be very overgrown and rather damp. The alternative is to cross a stile on the left by a metal fieldgate into a field. Turn immediately right down the field edge to the bottom corner of the field and exit onto the proper path.
At the bottom of the slope bear right through trees to a footbridge and stile into a field. Go steeply up the field, bearing slightly right over the top of the highest point to a stile by a fieldgate. Keep ahead, now downhill, to a stile in the far corner ahead, where hedges meet (Pannel Farm is over on your right).
Go ahead in the next field, midway between the hedge down on your right, and the highest ground up on the left. Bear left as the path winds round the hill (ignore a small metal gate down in the hedge on your right). Eventually go down to a metal fieldgate at the far side of the field and go through to a road.
Turn right on the road, passing the entrance to Pannel Farm. In 10 metres reach a brick bridge. Do not cross but turn right down to a stile leading to a path by the side of a river. Go ahead on this for about a mile with the river on your left.
After some distance go through a metal fieldgate to join a gravel drive (this is the Pannel Valley Nature Reserve). Go forward on the drive, still with the river on your left. Keep on for half a mile passing bird hides, ignore all turnings left going over the river. The gravel track gradually becomes rougher. Eventually leave the reserve and keep on as before until reaching a wooden footbridge.
Cross this and (ignoring the cross path ahead) go immediately left over a narrow concrete footbridge. Bear right now with the river down on your right and the face of Wickham Cliff over on your left. Go up onto an embankment path. This bears slightly away from the cliff. It is wide and very straight. Look in the distance for what seems to be a large wooden box around two telegraph poles. Walk all the way down to this construction.
Immediately past, turn left on a path up the side of a field towards the end of the cliff, there are power lines overhead. At the top corner by a gateway on your left, turn right, then sharply left up the end of Wickham Cliff to emerge onto a road.
Turn right on the road for some way. Pass a house on the right and keep on to pass through an ancient stone gateway across the road. Continue up looking for a bridleway going off left by a bench seat.
Follow this enclosed path, looking out for stile in the fence on the right, halfway along. Cross into a field and bear diagonally left uphill to a stile at the left of the gable end of a ruined building. Cross onto a main road.
Turn right along the road and follow it as it bends around to the left. Keep going straight uphill to eventually return to the New Inn in Winchelsea and the start of the section.