Bateman's team 'Walk the Weald'

A view of Park Mill and its millpond at Bateman's in East Sussex

During the summer of 2016, a small team of staff and volunteers walked over 120 miles to raise money for Bateman's Park Mill Restoration Fund.

Walking the Weald - how it all began.

The idea to walk 120 miles to raise money for the restoration of Park Mill at Bateman's came from Steph Poynton, one of our Conservation and Engagement Assistants.

General Manager, Pauline Wall, had set Steph a target to raise some funding for the Mill ans she wanted to do something different.  With the cost of repairing the Mill Wheel, pond and leat at £150,000, a high level of support was needed.

We started the year with a Duck Race down the River Dudwell, which runs through the garden and this captured everyone's imagination.

Duck Race
Yellow rubber ducks flotaing on blue water
Duck Race

Let's walk

From a flying start, came the idea of the walk.  The core team of three walked everyday - 120 miles in total over seven days.  Each day they were joined by staff, volunteers, Costwold Outdoors staff and even the odd pet dog.  A total of twenty people walked some of all of the route.

" This was great for us as it always gave us someone new to talk to, and when you're chatting away the miles seem to disappear - even if the blisters don't!"
- Pauline Wall, General Manager

The team climbed 111 stiles in all weathers, encountering cows, bulls, horses, eels and unexpected pheasants in the long grass.  Personal highlights included the sight of Rye church on the hill, three glorious miles in the distance through the late evening mist and rain.

Support all the way

Our challenge was helped in so many ways.  Business continued as usual back at Bateman's during the busy summer period with other staff and volunteers covering our roles back at base.

We had advertising sponsorship from Cotswold Outdoors as well as boots, socks and walking clothing.

David, Liz and Jake bought sweets for us to share on the Sissinghurst to Smallhythe leg and, thanks to Steph, we dined well on the donated food and beverages from local businesses that we passed along the way.  We even enjoyed a 2-course dinner one evening.

Thanks all round

To date the 'Walk the Weald' fund raising has generated £5,500 towards the restoration project and we were delighted to see that the work to remove the damaged part of the tree axle had started on the very day that we ended our walk back at Bateman's.

The whole project has so far raised an incredible £73,250.  Thank you to everyone who has supported us.