Five Great Pub Walks in East Sussex

East Sussex is not short on picturesque landscapes and country pubs, and now that summer is fast approaching, there is no better time to get out there. East Sussex’s gentle rolling countryside, combined with the promise of a great country pub, could inspire even the most reluctant walker to don walking boots and a cagoule.

While the High Weald AONB (that’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in case you were wondering) might be in the London commuter belt, it is worlds away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The rolling farmland is dotted with traditional oasts and cowls so, wherever you end up, be sure to keep a lookout for some delightful oast houses.

The Playden Walk

The Playden Walk is a relatively gentle ramble is a must for oast house aficionados. Beginning and ending at Rye train station (no designated driver necessary if you all fancy a tipple), this trail meanders across fields and farmland, offering views of the picturesque Tillingham Valley.

The Playden Oasts Inn photo
Image Source: The Playden Oasts Inn

The real highlight comes approximately halfway through the walk, where a small detour brings you to the Playden Oasts. This charming inn features three oast houses topped with traditional cowls. As well as two great restaurants, the inn also offers guests the chance to stay the night at the top of an authentic oast house.

The beautifully restored building was actually run as a working oast house until the 70s. Could there be a better place to enjoy a Sunday roast and a traditional pint of English ale than this?

 

Burwash Walk

This six-mile round-robin ramble sets off from the beautiful village of Burwash. The walk kicks off with some fantastic views of the Dudwell valley before weaving its way through the medieval landscape of the valley.

Burwash walk photo by © Fraser Elliott
Image Source: Discovering Britain © Fraser Elliott

The route takes walkers through ancient woods and meadows and past many traditional structures. Want to know what the area looked like 700 years ago? Well, this walk is the one to do.

After all that exercise, enjoy a well-earned drink back at the quaint Rose and Crown Pub.

 

Eridge Walk

Beginning at the nearby Eridge train station, the Eridge country walk passes Harrison Rocks – a must for rock climbers. Remember to look out for the oast house towards the end of the route!

Photo of roast dinner by The Huntsman Pub
Image Source: The Huntsman Pub

The quaint country pub The Huntsman, in the sleepy village of Eridge, certainly packs a punch with its top-notch hearty pub food and quality real ales.

 

Catsfield & The White Hart Inn

When the sun is out, the White Hart Inn’s expansive beer garden is the perfect place to catch some rays. The captivating countryside around Catsfield offers plenty of opportunities for burning some calories – before putting them back on with a long lazy lunch.

This moderate walk begins at the White Hart Inn and takes walkers on a picturesque four-mile hike through forests and rolling countryside. View further information on the Catsfield walk.

 

Marc Cross Walk

For those who enjoy a bit more of a challenge, this walk from the village of Mark Cross should suit. The area boasts oasts and cowls aplenty and walks around here should offer the opportunity to spot many an oast house.

View of the hills around the Mark Cross Inn
Image Source: The Mark Cross Inn via Rotherfield Parish Council

All that exertion and effort deserves a reward, and the Mark Cross Inn certainly delivers. Their menu is created from seasonal and locally sourced produce and is sure to satisfy even the fussiest foodie.

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Our top 3 National Trust attractions with Oast Houses

All we want for Christmas is… a National Trust membership! Why? To visit our favourite historical oast houses of course…

The National Trust is truly a British institution and are outstanding at maintaining the estates they manage for the enjoyment of visitors. We’ve put together our top three destinations to visit that include an oast house on site, all of which are steeped in history and make for a great day (or overnight) visit!

 

Bateman’s

Jacobean house and home of Rudyard Kipling

Burwash, East Sussex

Batemans oast house

Famous for writing The Jungle Book and Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling will always be one of Britain’s most revered Children’s authors. Rudyard lived at Bateman’s from 1902 to his death in 1936, and the property and its grounds were bequeathed to the The National Trust in 1939 following his wife, Catherine’s death. The estate features a well restored Jacobean house which has been kept the same as when the Kiplings lived there, a mill house and a brick-built double oast house which is grade II listed. We’d recommend visiting on an autumnal day when the leaves are turning golden, perhaps on ‘Apple Day’ which is held in October. Other events include a folklore and fairy tale trail which is perfect for budding bookworms.

 

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Cranbrook, Kent

Sissinghurst Oast House

460 acres of stunning Wealden countryside encase the majestic Sissinghurst castle and its famous gardens. Vita Sackville-West, a poet and writer and her husband Harold Nicolson (a Diplomat) fell in love with the estate and made it their home in 1930. In the years that followed they worked tirelessly to create the spectacular gardens that now draw thousands of visitors to the estate each year and are looked after by The National Trust. The castle and its grounds also housed plenty of secrets during Vita and Harold’s marriage, including numerous same sex love affairs, most notably between Vita and Virginia Woolf. A fantastic place to visit, especially to see the large oast house which is part of the sprawling gardens.

 

The Oast House
Bromyard, Herefordshire

The Oast House

The Oast House is an 18th-century brick built house, located on the Brockhampton estate, with its former hop kilns and barns still in place. If you fancy taking a break in Herefordshire, then staying at The Oast House is the perfect place to get your history fix. Take time to explore the neighbouring towns and National Trust properties which include The Weir Garden in Hereford, and Croome, a secret wartime air base in Worcester. The Oast house boasts 6 bedrooms and sleeps up to 10 people, which makes it the perfect family base for a UK ‘staycation’.

Inspired by these beautiful oast houses? Why not view some of our latest work restoring these national treasures.

All images are from The National Trust Website