Read the latest magazine... Download

Autumn Walking: East Hoathly

As summer slowly comes to an end, our expert hiker headed for the landscape around East Hoathly to enjoy a tree-lined autumnal walk

From the car park walk past East Hoathly Parish Church, along Church Marks Lane to the High Street. Turn left into a “delightfully peaceful, archetypal English village High Street” as Louis observed.

At the village sign, continue straight on along Waldron Road for 40m, before turning right into Mill Lane by the old telephone box.

Ease uphill, past the tall wall, along the track to four posts preceding the concrete drive. Continue down the footpath opposite for 500m, arriving at a confluence of gates. Turn right, then left, following the path down the slope and into the woods.

After skipping through the trees, head across the field towards the decaying tree, then across the second field to a gate, opening onto Ailies Lane.

Cross over and, once through the metal gate, follow the shadow in the grass over the brow, down the other side and through another gate. Beyond this gate, follow the slither of earth in the grass, leading round to the right, past the water trough and towards the distant buildings.

Once past the metal gate with the ‘WW’ sign by the oak tree, follow the route through Friths Farm, enjoying the last flowering roses of summer.

Continue past the pond, following the drive to the pair of white concrete cones at the junction with Highlands Lane. Turn left and walk along the road towards Chiddingly.

30m before the Chiddingly village sign, cross the stile on the right and walk alongside the fence to the stile on the other side of the field. 75m further on, cross the stile and the three-sleeper bridge on the right by the oak tree.

Turn left and advance across the field, towards the distant six-sleeper bridge and the stile at the very end of the field.

Soon after entering the woods, at the four-way fingerpost, head due west, out into the field. The path gradually bears right, then gradually left, following the perimeter into a second, then third field, before striking out diagonally towards the telegraph poles.

After joining the concrete path, turn right and continue to the junction with Whitesmith Lane.

Cross over and walk down the footpath opposite, alongside the post and rail fence, to the junction with the A22. This is a busy road so, with great care, cross to the driveway opposite and slightly to the right.

Walk up the drive, keeping left of the fence, continuing to a hurdle with a swiveling top rail. Beyond the hurdle continue west, into Upper Vert Wood, through tall coniferous trees to three square posts in the path.

Continue for another 300m, then across a small bridge to the junction with Vert Lane.

Turn right and amble along the unmade road for half a mile; enjoy the peace, solitude, birdsong and rich variety of woodland that Louis was enthralled by.

Cross over at the junction with Park Lane, and continue inside the arboreal tunnel for another mile, eventually emerging at the five-way crossroads at Laughton Common.

Turn sharp right, onto the concrete driveway of Park Farm. Walk northeast, beneath beech branches draped in the first sunglow yellow and amber hues of autumn.

After half a mile there’s an avenue of weeping willows, and beyond this the concrete peters out, evolving into a wide grassy avenue. It gradually narrows over the next half mile, emerging into a field.

Bear left, then right and uphill alongside the ripening maize to the drive ahead. Ease left and head along the drive, passing through the small gate on the corner by the lamppost where the drive turns sharp left.

Across the paddock and through another gate, head downhill across the field to another gate, then stile, and steps to the A22.

Cross with great care for the traffic flies by like the British Grand Prix.

Through the woods opposite, a gate opens onto the dam of Decoy Pond. Once across the dam and over the stile beyond, bear right across the field, over another stile and through the allotments.

Follow the path along the periphery of Moat Wood. As ground becomes gravel, then tarmac, civilisation reappears in the form of the church.

Louis opted for a pint in a local pub to celebrate, but rewards are a personal choice!