The Weald is an area in South East England. It crosses the four counties of Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, and Surrey. Geographically, it is the area found between the North and South Downs and is known for its beautiful forests, woods, farms, and villages. The area is largely comprised of wooded rolling hills. The landscapes have inspired many authors in the 19th and 20th centuries and are particularly beautiful in the Sussex Weald’s Ashdown and St. Leonard’s Forests, Hastings Country Park, and Rye Harbor Nature Reserve. The Sussex Weald is conveniently located just 30 minutes south of London, which makes it an easy rural escape from the bustling city.
Ashdown Forest is free park open to guests interested in experiencing the beautiful countryside. The forest is known for it’s walking trails and landscapes. It also is known as Pooh Bear Forest because it was used to describe many of the places in the novel “Winnie-the-Pooh”. There are numerous tourist destinations in park including the Ashdown Forest Center, Vachery Forest Garden, Old Lodge Nature Reserve, Nutley Windmill, Airman’s Grave, and Ashdown Forest and Llama Park. Additionally, there is the Forest Way, which is a popular walking/riding 10 km stretch through the countryside.
St. Leonard’s Forest received its name after St. Leonard fought and slayed a dragon in the area. The forest has a rich history of storytelling and folklore that when combined with walking, riding, or cycling provide visitors with a uniquely mythical experience.
Hastings Country Park is a hilly area known for it’s lovely walks and spectacular costal views. Visitors rate the park well due it being free and easily accessible. It’s also recommended as a great spot for dog walking
Rye Harbor Nature Reserve is an important conservation area that offers guided and unguided walks that give visitors the opportunity to view birds, plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates along the coast. The reserve is most known for it’s bird populations housing 91 species.
Accommodation is plentiful in the Sussex Weald with self-catering cottages and bed and breakfasts being the most popular choice. Additionally, small camp sites and rural farm houses are available for stay. As always, it’s important to plan in advance before heading on a day out and have accommodation booked before leaving.