Lewes - Offham Hill - Lewes High Street
A 6 mile, 2 and a half hour walk that incorporates Lewes High Street, the river, some conservational wetlands and the Downs with some great views. You pass by the Blacksmiths Arms, which is mainly given over to food but will still serve a drink to those who need one. The walk along the ouse can get very muddy and the walk is best done following dry weather.
1 Grid ref: TQ 42030 10240 N50.87415 E0.01732
Start on Cliffe High Street. Turn into North Court through an archway below the bridge on the left walking down. Follow the redbrick lane around Harvey's Brewery and continue alongside the river, under the road-bridge, past Tesco and through parkland as far as the bridge over the river on your left, which you should walk over.
2 Grid ref: TQ 41460 10760 N50.87896 E0.00942
Turn right immediately after going over the bridge and walk along with the river on your right. Ignore the first metal railway bridge on the left.
3 Grid ref: TQ 40550 11690 N50.88754 W0.00315
Shortly afterwards, where the river curves to the right, turn left and go under the second bridge (built in Stockton-on-Tees). Carry straight on with conservation wetland around you.
4 Grid ref: TQ 40210 11700 N50.88771 W0.00797
Cross the stile ahead into the woods and then turn right along the woodland lane., Passing the pylon, turn left onto the minor road and pass Offham Church (usually closed) and walk up to the main road. On your right is the Blacksmith's Arms and on your left, over the road, is a path into woodland.
5 Grid ref: TQ 40006 12102 N50.89138 W0.01072
Cross the road onto the path and take the left-hand fork, not the bridleway to the right.
6 Grid ref: TQ 40011 1174 N50.88813 W0.01079
At a small plateau there are wonderful views of the Ouse flood-plain and of Lewes. At the far end of the plateau, take the path to your left of the very steep path. Effectively you are going straight ahead from whence you came. This path takes you up and round the hill.
7 Grid ref: TQ 39930 11570 N50.88661 W0.01200
At the top, walk straight ahead along the top of a disused quarry containing the Chalk Pit pub far below on your left. Find the two kissing-gates at the far end of the quarry. Go through the gates, bear right after the first one and straight on after the second (not right over the stile). Carry on with the hedge on your right and views of Lewes on your left, head for some buildings low on the horizon.
8 Grid ref: TQ 39580 11310 N50.88436 W0.01707
On reaching the road to the buildings (racecourse stables), take the path to the right of the road and walk along through the fields, keeping parallel and close to the road, until you are forced back onto the road through a kissing-gate. Directly over the road is a gate into open fields.
9 Grid ref: TQ 39410 11160 N50.88305 W0.01955
Go through the gate and walk along with the gallops on your right. The OS map shows the path as the bridleway on the opposite side of the gallops, but our side is more interesting as it has good views and passes a dew-pond as well as the site of the Battle of Lewes, both with their respective information boards. After the information board for the battle, go through the gate and bear left down towards Lewes (all the footpaths here end up in much the same place; just go down).
10 Grid ref: TQ 40540 10100 N50.87325 W0.00390
Over the A275, walk down Spital Road, Western Road (A277) and then Lewes High Street.
The Sussex Ouse
is tidal as far as Barcombe and used to be navigable as far as Lindfield and beyond. There is bit of a spat between The Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust (S.O.R.T), who want to make it navigable again, for leisure purposes, and the Sussex Ouse Conservation Society (S.O.C.S), who are vehemently opposed. It rises in the High Weald, mainly in woodland streams and reaches the sea at Newhaven. It is well stocked with both brown and sea trout.
Virginia Woolf committed suicide in 1941 by drowning in the river.
As you walk between the railway bridge and the gate (wm 3&4) you are traversing a Site of Special Scientific Interest, crammed full of common frogs and toads, smooth and palmate newts and associated bird life. Note the two willow trees bent but unbowed by the "87 hurricane.
The Battle of Lewes 1264
One of many attempts to limit the power of the King, which started at Magna Carta. Simon De Monfort defeated the King's forces on this hill but not before some of his men were chased down towards the Ouse, where many drowned