Explore historic High Weald landscape at Walking Festival this month

Discover a beautiful, medieval landscape at the second High Weald Walking Festival taking place from 14 to 22 September, across East and West Sussex and Kent. The Festival walks are aimed at inspiring people to explore and enjoy the much-loved High Weald landscape, highlighting what is special about the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Join knowledgeable guides on themed walks in the High Weald’s stunning scenery. There are fifty varied walks to choose from, mostly free of charge. So whether you’re a novice or an avid rambler, there’s something for all ages and abilities to enjoy.

Walk themes range from wildlife, wellbeing and literature, to local history, archaeology and geology. Most are suitable for children and some are accessible for buggies or wheelchairs. While the majority of walks welcome dogs on leads, not all are suitable so check the website for those listed as dog-friendly.

This year, the Festival launches on 14 September from The Hub, Bodiam, a cafe in the East Sussex countryside. Six walks will set off from here through the day – be inspired with creative writing and village history walks, or let the kids be nature detectives!

Later in the week, there’s a chance to de-stress under the trees with a free therapeutic forest bathing session. Enjoy a short walk looking for wildlife in ancient woodland and heathland at East Sussex or Kent nature reserves, explore Crawley’s Buchan Country Park, or spot seabirds at Rye Harbour.

Take a slightly longer ramble to find traces of the High Weald’s historic iron industry in the landscape, or learn of Hawkhurst’s infamous smuggling gang in Kent. Go even further and take a picnic on one of the hikes. Admire stunning views of rolling hills on a circular walk between delightful West Sussex villages.

At the first High Weald Walking Festival last year, people particularly enjoyed the varied scenery and wonderful views, fascinating information from the walk leaders and discovering new places to walk. Joan from Rye said, “An interesting and informative walk and fantastic scenery. A brilliant idea to get people out walking!”

Visit www.highwealdwalks.org to find out more and choose from the impressive range of guided walks taking place through the week.

Most of the walks don’t need to be booked and people can just turn up in good time. Although some have limited places and require advance booking, so checking the programme is recommended. The High Weald Walking Festival is a collaboration between local branches of The Ramblers and the High Weald AONB Partnership.