Post Written by Aspect County

This year’s Coast & Country Walking Festival is taking place over the nine days from Saturday 26 September until Sunday 4 October.

The Festival, organised by Wealden District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council. features walks through the beautiful coastal Downlands around Eastbourne, the enchanting High Weald and the wild and wonderful Ashdown Forest in the north of Wealden. There are also town walks including the popular pre-dinner seafront strolls.

The Festival aims to provide something for everyone – from short family walks with children’s activities to more challenging hikes when a good pair of walking shoes is in order.

Last year more than 650 people took part in our first Coast & Country Walking Festival. We are hoping even more this year will use it as an opportunity to enjoy some fresh air and improve their health.

For the first time there is a walk in celebration of ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller, the notorious Sussex folly builder and patron of the sciences who was christened at Waldron. Actor/historian Geoff Hutchinson will lead the walk in period costume and provide tales intrigue to amuse all during the four mile walk. This walk includes a free art workshop where children will be encouraged to make their own ‘folly’ in Lucas Hall.

Other walks include The Ruin, the Beerhouse and the Woman of Doubtful Reputation, a walk around the outdoor estate of Michelham Priory; The Making of the High Weald, a three mile walk which takes you back 700 years to the medieval landscape around Mayfield; and Navigating the South Downs, a chance for satnav users to return to the days of OS maps and compasses. For the real walking enthusiasts, a 20 mile Wealden circular walk begins and ends at Burwash, while the less enthusiastic may wish to try one of the many health walks taking place across the District which cover a couple of miles.

And if you are worried about the weather one of the events is mainly indoors: a walking tour of Eastbourne’s oldest theatre, the Hippodrome.

Hungry? There’s a foraging walk for wild food and medicinal plants in the woods between Hailsham and Arlington.

History, wildlife, wine and photography all feature photography in this year’s walks. There is also a chance to try out Nordic Walking using specially designed poles. Many of the walking locations can be reached by public transport.

A full list of walks can be found at www.sussexwalkingfestival.org.uk.
Bookings can be taken via the website and most of the walks are free of charge.

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