Monday, April 21

Hastings to Winchelsea

Taking advantage of the long weekend, Gareth and I took a trip to the south coast on Friday to walk from Hastings to Winchelsea. It's a walk I've been meaning to do for some time, having heard how lovely the coastline is in that part of Sussex, and I wasn't put off by Gareth pointing out that it was labelled 'the toughest walk in the book'.

The full walk (the one we were following in the Time Out book of walks) goes from Hastings to Rye but by the time we'd got to Winchelsea, and having stopped several times and had a few diversions around landslips in the Hastings Country Park, we were ready to go home. All the same it was a good ten mile stretch with plenty of hills to get the blood pumping.

I love the slight weirdness of the Royal Military Canal which borders Romney Marsh, and the first part of which we followed from Fairlight to Winchelsea - there's a real stillness and eccentricity about its presence in this forgotten corner of the country. Maybe one day I'll walk the full length in one go.

Winchelsea itself is also an interesting little village, its semi-ruined town gates standing alone some distance from the centre and its train station just as remote out the other side.

At the centre is a fascinating church built half of ruins and featuring some striking 20th century stained glass windows designed by Scottish artist Douglas Strachan.

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