Nathalie Gomez de Vera picks some great Sussex pubs with convenient walks nearby – the perfect antidote to the January blues.
Ditchling Beacon Circular Walk and The Bull in Ditchling
This four mile walk is 248 metres above sea level – along the highest point in East Sussex – with stunning views over the Weald and across the English Channel. Even on a misty day, it’s wonderfully atmospheric. The walk takes around two hours.
The Bull in Ditchling is a very popular gastropub that still has an open policy of welcoming drop ins for just a pint. After an extensive refurbishment, this month they’ve opened up more dining areas and added a new snug. Add to this home brewed beer from their very own Bedlam Brewery, ranging from pale ales to lager, and a menu with ingredients sourced from their own kitchen garden and local farm estates, and you’ve a perfect day out.
The Long Man of Wilmington and The Sussex Ox
Originally thought to be an Iron Age or Neolithic hill figure, recent archaeological work shows the Long Man in its current form dates back to the 16th or 17th century. Viewed from afar, its still an impressive sight.
The closest car park is in Wilmington village, head off towards the Long Man whose outline you will see cut into the chalky downs. Choose the shorter walk of around an hour or the longer walk that will take you around six and a half miles. If you feel energetic its worth climbing to the very top as you are rewarded with some fantastic views.
The Sussex Ox pub is located at the foot of Windover Hill. These guys are really passionate about great food – they have their own organic farm. Beers from hyperlocal The Long Man brewery are always on tap, plus a great wine list featuring organic and bio-dynamic wines. If you’re feeling peckish you can always sneak in some fish bites or an antipasti board.
Arlington Reservoir and the Yew Tree Inn
A lovely easy walk with no big hills to climb, which can also be extended if you’re feeling particularly energetic. Completed in 1971 the reservoir supplies water to Eastbourne, Polegate, Hailsham and Heathfield and is also a local trout fishery. The 49 hectare site supports diverse habitats and has a wintering population of up to 10,000 wildfowl. As car parking is right alongside the reservoir you can simply hop out and walk around it. Most of the walk has a footpath, however the path which follows the bridleway around Polhills Farm can get rather muddy, so beware!
A great stop off halfway through your walk is the Yew Tree Inn , which has been serving up pints in picturesque Arlington for over 110 years. They have a good range of local ales including Harvey’s. Perfect to enjoy alongside the cosy log fire.
Discover more walks in the South Downs National Park at www.southdowns.gov.uk/enjoy/walking/