This walk was not the one we intended to do as we had chosen one that started from Warninglid but such was the lack of parking in that village that we had to choose this as an alternative. We parked at Slaugham Common a mile or so away instead and wandered down into the village from there. Slaugham is one of those picture postcard Wealden villages that Sussex is so famous for. The walk from the car park the half mile or so down into the village wasn't so pleasant and we were relieved when we reached the church.
When we left the road we headed through the churchyard. This was quite a change of scenery as the cemetery is quite enclosed and a peaceful world away from the rest of the village. Beyond this enclosed world the fields outside were full of cows all congregated together in the sunniest part of the field. This is the vicinity of the former Slaugham Place, an old Elizabethan Manor that once stood here and was owned by the local MP. Interestingly, the house seems to have been abandoned about 150 years later and was left to rack and ruin. The oak staircase inside was removed and taken to Lewes Town Hall but the rest of the house deteriorated over time until there is very little left now.
At the end of the churchyard the path continues through a fairly confined space between hedges lined with wildflowers. We also came upon the end of Slaugham Pond and wandered around the perimeter for a short way. The view across the lake was superb - the low early evening light really showed off the place at its very best. For me this was perhaps the highlight of the whole walk :)
After walking down approximately half the length of the south shore we headed off across fields and through the strangely derelict Old Park Farm. The path passed by a barn that had been reduced only to its metal frame and the frame was quite distorted looking. There is obviously quite a story behind this but we could only guess what had happened. As we crossed the fields we enjoyed the extensive views across this part of The Weald before eventually reaching Warninglid. We took the opportunity to stop at the local pub which had a very pleasant beer garden out back where we supped our drinks in the warm sun. Looking at the menu it looked like a good spot for a midpoint meal if you are looking for that kind of thing.
Half Moon in Warninglid
Feeling refreshed we wandered down through the impossibly pretty village of Warninglid until we found a path off to the left that initially took us past some well managed looking allotments and then past a couple of woodland sections. We crossed a small road and then passed through some fields with sheep and a couple of horses separated by a fence. The horse on our side of the fence was obviously quite lonely for it came bowling over to us looking for love or food, not sure which. Whatever it was he was quite insistent and we really struggled to leave the field without him tagging along behind us. We ended up going one at a time and even resorted to climbing over the gate!
Over Friendly Horse
An annoying feature of a very different nature was to follow as we came across a very busy road that we had to follow for a short stretch until we could find an onward path opposite. This was much better with a lovely outlook from the field initially. This gave way to woodland still carpeted by bluebells which was a treat to see. Not far into the wood we also came upon a fallen tree that looked like it had been nailed by a bolt of lightning. This was quite fascinating for the girls who did a little detective work and deduced that it had happened last autumn based on the state of the leaves. We thought that was pretty observant :)
After dropping down through the woods we crossed several wild flower meadows and passed by yet another pond. In fact it is quite surprising how many ponds there are in this part of Sussex - the countryside is littered with them. Must be great for amphibian life! From a couple of small ponds we moved on to the large pond that we had walked around earlier and then returned through the churchyard. To save my girls walking back along the road they had a good nose around the churchyard while I retrieved the car. This was a pleasant walk but the section of road walking was less than pleasant. I guess trying trying to park in Slaugham village is as impossible as parking in Warninglid so parking at Furnace Pond is probably the only option.