Winchelsea countryside circular walk
Winchelsea Cricket Pavilion, Winchelsea, East SussexRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
An opportunity to see the dynamic and varied countryside that surrounds Winchelsea. You will see beautiful views across Rye Bay and follow part of the Royal Military Canal, where wetland birds and herons roost. If you are interested in history, you will pass the house of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, USA, and St Thomas', a 13th-century church.
- Bus stop
Start: Winchelsea Cricket Pavilion; grid ref: TQ90301735
Starting at the cricket pavilion, look for a green lamp nearby on the road and head along the A259 in this direction towards Hastings. Walk along the road until you find the old green lamp, and turn left opposite this lamp into Back Lane.
Walk through Back Lane and turn right onto Monk's Walk by Mariteau Cottage.
Take time to admire the majestic trees that line Monk's Walk. Collect fallen autumn leaves and fruits or look out for the first new buds of spring.
Walk right down Monk's Walk, passing the field on your right. Then cross the road towards the ancient ruined wall.
A lone wall (step 3) is all that remains of St John's Hospital, one of three hospitals that were established in Winchelsea. These hospitals, in the charge of various religious authorities, were not for the sick but for the old and infirm. The hospital was used up until the late 1560s.
Cross the stile near to the ruined wall to enter Chapel Field and, following the directional arrow, cross the field and over the next stile into Hollow Field.
Cross Hollow Field to the next gate and stile (partly obscured by trees). Cross this stile and walk up the incline towards Wickham Manor Farm.
Wickham Manor Farm was built in the 17th century. William Penn, who founded Pennsylvania in the USA, lived here in his younger years.
The next stile is to the left of the main farm building adjacent to an outbuilding. Cross this stile and you will find yourself on a farm track: this is the main entrance track to Wickham Manor Farm. Turn left and walk down the track to Wickham Rock Lane.
Turn left again and walk down to the corner where there is a gate to your right. Go through the gate and into a field. Walk across the field, following the directional arrows, until you see a small electrical substation. Go straight ahead to a small bridge, where you can cross the Royal Military Canal. At the far side of the bridge, turn left and walk along beside the canal until you reach Strand Bridge (on the main A259 coast road). Turn left.
The Royal Military Canal (step 7) runs for 28 miles (45km) between Seabrook near Folkestone and Cliff End near Hastings, following the old cliff line bordering Romney Marsh. It was built as a defence against the possible invasion of England during the Napoleonic Wars. Construction was started at Seabrook, near Hythe in Kent, on 30 October 1804 and completed in April 1809 at a total cost of £234,000. The canal is now an important environmental asset, being used to control the water levels around Romney Marsh for irrigation and flood control.
Follow the main road around to the right to the bottom of Strand Hill and then walk up Strand Hill, passing through the remains of Strand Gate towards the top. Care should be taken on this road as there is no pavement. After passing under the gate, do take the chance to stop and admire the view over the marshes towards Rye Bay.
At the top of Strand Hill, turn right into Barrack Square then follow it into Mill Road, walking straight through the town until you reach the A259 at Robert's Hill. At this junction you will be able to see the Cricket Pavilion, which will be about 54yd (50m) to your left, and will bring you back to your starting point.
Before heading back to your car, why not take the time to wander along the lane directly opposite? It takes you out to the site of the old windmill and some really fine views across the Brede Valley.
Also, if you are interested in history, take a look at St Thomas' church, built in the 13th century. Make your way back into Winchelsea Town, just up from Monk's Walk and walk into the churchyard.
St Thomas' church (step 11) is a Grade I listed building, dating back to 1288 and the reign of King Edward I. It has Gothic architecture and consists of a residual chancel with side chapels and a sanctuary. The ruins of the transept are still visible, but not the nave. Inside there is an impressive 20th-century stained-glass window by Douglas Strachan. And Spike Milligan, the comedian, writer and musician, is buried here. His headstone bears the words, 'I told you I was ill' in Gaelic.
End: Winchelsea Cricket Pavilion; grid ref: TQ90301735
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 3 miles (5km)
- Time: 2 hours to 3 hours
- OS Map: TQ90301735
A mainly easy walk along established footpaths, crossing fields and open countryside. It can be muddy in places, depending on the weather. There are some stiles and gentle hills (a 1 boot grade). Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on a lead, as the walk passes through grazing areas for cattle.
- How to get here:
By car: A259 coast road, east from Rye or west from Hastings to Winchelsea
By bus: Stagecoach 100 Rye to Hastings route
By bike: A259 coast road, east from Rye or west from Hastings to Winchelsea
- Toilets in Winchelsea on Monk's Walk between steps 3 and 4
- Contact us