Scotney parkland trail
This moderate walk is great for finding out more about the history and secrets of the Scotney estate.
Explore the historic parkland, take in the iconic view of Scotney Castle and discover key features of the Scotney estate.
Scotney Castle car park, grid ref: TQ688353
At the bottom of the car park follow the road to the right, passing the view of the new House on your left. At the corner head towards the large white Salvin gate. Please be careful as there may be traffic on this section.
Go through the Salvin gate and onto the old carriageway. Follow the old carriageway to the bridge at the bottom of the field.
Salvin gate and carriage way
The large white gate at the top of the carriageway was designed by Anthony Salvin, the man who designed the new House at Scotney. The gate was designed to be self-closing from either direction ensuring that the footman could leave the gate to close itself. The old carriageway was abandoned as the horses would look tired on arriving at the new House after pulling the carriage up the hill. This was undesirable so the new carriageway was built which would bring the carriages down hill and the horses would arrive in a more presentable manner.
The stream which runs under this bridge is called the Sweetbourne. This small stream feeds the moat which surrounds the old castle. From the bridge continue on the old carriageway, go through the gate and head towards the next bridge. Look to the left before the next bridge for a glimpse of the old castle.
The river which flows under this bridge is the River Bewl. The Bewl reservoir is a short distance from Scotney. This bridge is interesting as from a carriage you would imagine the entire bridge was built of expensive sandstone with the owners showing off their wealth; however look over the bridge to see the lower half built of cheaper bricks. From the bridge go through the gate and walk up the hill until you reach the fingerpost.
From the fingerpost turn left and follow the blue-topped posts across the field. On reaching the blue post marked with an eight look to the right to see the gnarly old hornbeam pollard. Continue over the crest of the field towards the gap in the fence line.
Old hornbeam pollard
The hornbeam pollard is one of the oldest trees on the estate and is estimated to be around 600 years old. Pollards are trees which are cut at around 6ft (1.8m) high. This would have been done on a rotation and used as a crop for timber, fuel and fodder. Pollards would have been created in areas with grazing animals. By cutting them at 6ft the stock would not have been able to eat the new growth. Pollarding, if done correctly can significantly increase the lifespan of the tree.
Go through the gap and continue straight on along the edge of the woodland pasture. Stop halfway along this field and take in the iconic view of the new House and old castle, there is a well positioned log here to rest your feet a while. Carry on until you come to the gateway.
Before construction of the new House began in 1837, Edward Hussey spent many months looking at suitable locations to ensure that what he created would fit into the beautiful picturesque landscape that you can see before you today. Edward Hussey sited the new House 27yd (25m) above the old castle for the spectacular views over the garden, towards the woodland that is behind you, forming an Arcadian backdrop to this carefully composed picture.
From the gateway continue to the next blue post. As you near the post the tops of the oasts should come into view. Continue across the field until you reach the bridge.
From here you can just see the tops of the Oast House of Little Scotney Farm, the last working Hop Garden and Oast that we own. The oasts were built in 1871, are grade II listed, and are still used to dry the hops that are grown and picked at Little Scotney Farm. These hops are picked by gangs of pickers who would traditionally bag the hops up into hessian sacks known as pockets, taken to the Oast where the hops are spread out across the floor to be dried by hot air from a wood or charcoal-fired kiln at the bottom of the oast.
After crossing the bridge go through the field to the next gate. Go through the gate and follow the hedge line up the field towards the gate on the road. Before going through the gate, sit on the bench and admire the view of the historic parkland. At the road turn left for approx 110yd (100m), then turn right over the stile into the field.
Cattle and historic parkland
The parkland at Scotney is grade I listed and is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The cattle you see grazing the parkland are Sussex cattle. With the Kent/Sussex border once being the Bewl River these would have been the native breed for this area. The browse line on the trees indicate the history of cattle being present. During the time of Christopher Hussey, the cattle were regular prize winners at agricultural shows. This breed reputedly lives on fresh air and good views.
Follow the hedge line around the field, continuing to the stile at the top of the field.
Walk along the top of the field following the blue posts, at post marked 24, stop and look at the bomb craters to your right. Carry on walking past the bomb craters and turn left at the fingerpost. Walk down the hill towards the stile in the right-hand corner of the field.
During the Battle of Britain the skies over Scotney saw many air battles. Local residents recall two cottages near the Scotney timber yard being destroyed by enemy doodlebug and there is a story of the German plane which crashed onto the Scotney hop gardens. The pilot was buried in the village churchyard and his remains were returned to his homeland after the war had ended.
Over the stile turn left and follow the old servant’s entrance. Turn right onto the road, after approx 55yd (50m) turn right through the old barn.
Home Farm barn
Home Farm barn is an oak-framed open-fronted structure with weather boards on the walls, with a hipped and pitched roof made from plain peg tiles. The oak timber stands on sandstone footings. Studies show that the barn dates between 1842 and 1852 and was originally located down in the garden by the old castle.
After going through the old barn you have arrived back at the car park.
Scotney Castle car park, grid ref: TQ688353
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