We headed on again by mid-morning, pulling out of the car park to the end of the road, then South to Sharpthorne. As we approached the village, temporary road signs were in place informing motorists of a road closure. I continued on expecting to find a ‘diversion’ sign or the road that I was intending to take. In the village, outside a café, a woman was waving at passing motorists. By her was a board upon which she had written ‘road closed!’. I stopped. Everyone else ignored her. I watched as everyone started turning round. I decided to have a cup of tea in the café while I looked at the map to find an alternative route.
I got chatting to the lady running the café. It’s a lovely little organic affair. I asked her about something called Finche Field. She recommended it. It is only about a mile or two from the café. However, the road was closed and the diversion was a bit out of the way. I made up my mind to not bother and just head for Ardingly.
Decision made, I went to leave. I was then gifted some bottles of water. The road had also quietened down. I pulled alongside the café and reversed into the side road. I then headed back and turned South along Horstead Lane. I had to ignore the first right turn as there is a low bridge. The height limit is just 8’. My caravan on the trailer is around 10’6”. I took the next available turn. Without thinking, I then took the road to Highbrook, forgetting that I was bypassing Finche Field. As soon as I realised my mistake, it was too late. I couldn’t turn around. I therefore kept going and found my way to Finche Field.
The road became surprisingly busy as we closed in on our destination. I had to stop several times, tucked in as tight as I dared to the hedges to allow oncoming traffic pass. The road is very narrow in places and hilly. The truck had a bit of a struggle at times, particularly on one slippery hill.
The car park was not as big as I had envisioned. I pulled up as far as I could. Besides anything else, I wasn’t going to be able to get out before most of the cars had gone, even if I had wanted to. We settled down and I had a cup of tea. I wandered over to a board I had noticed. It describes a heritage trail around the village. I had my afternoon walk sorted.
View of Ashdown Forest
Finche Field is on the edge of the village of West Hoathly. It was gifted by a Colonel Ralph Stephenson Clarke of Borde Hill.
Next to it is Coronation Clump. A clump of Holly, Oak, Beech, Birch and Scots Pine planted in 1937 to commemorate the coronation of George VI.
View of Ashurst Wood
Combers Cottage, built around 1450
16th.c The Cat Inn with Victorian additions
Church of St. Margaret of Antioch, built 1090
16th.c Manor House
14th.c Priest House
The house was seized by Henry VIII following the dissolution of the monasteries.
After a pleasant wander around the village, I popped into the inn where I was shown a really interesting photographic book of West Hoathly.
I then wandered home.
Later, when the last car had gone, I turned my combo around.