With very wet underfoot conditions due to this winter’s rain, John Harmer keeps mainly to urban paths around St Leonards for his walk this month. He makes use of side roads and twittens, and visits three gardens. The longer option also includes a local nature reserve:

From St Leonards Warrior Square Station exit on the northern side, turn right into Station Approach; then go to the left in front of the car park entrance and up a paved path to the right of a salmon-coloured building. This leads into Southwater Road; then turn immediately left into Hatherly Road and go uphill until reaching London Road.

Turn right and, in a few paces, cross at the traffic island and continue uphill. In about 75 yards, turn left by green bollards on a path leading up into Gensing Gardens, the first of three gardens visited on this walk, originally laid out c1880. Follow the tarmac path in a clockwise direction to the farther top corner; there are seats along the upper part.

On leaving the gardens, turn left into Anglesea Terrace, and then immediately right into Charles Road. Cross over Brittany Road and continue to the top of the hill. At the five-ways junction, go across to Combermere Road.

[If desiring the shorter option to avoid muddy woodland paths, go across to Charles Road West and follow it to the crossroads. Turn left and, in a short distance, cross to Filsham Road and re-join the route at point 4.] Follow Combermere Road for its full length. At the T-junction, turn left, then right to go around St Matthews Gardens. These gardens are private, so cannot be entered.

Follow the road around to the left into St Matthews Road with St Matthews Church on the right. On coming to the main road, cross at the Zebra crossing to the left and continue along Windmill Road, opposite.

Go downhill with housing on the left and an industrial estate on the right. At the bottom, turn left into Drury Lane and follow it to the end.

Immediately before high metal security gates, go along a footpath on the right by a plinth, leading into Ponds Wood which is a local nature reserve. For more information, see the Wild Hastings website.

Follow the woodland path parallel with the security fence on the left. At a corner, bear left and continue until approaching housing. Turn right to stay in the wood, following the path downhill for about 400 yards.

Cross over two wooden footbridges and then a concrete footbridge. Go uphill a short distance to cross a road (Gillsmans Hill).

Turn right and, in a few paces, turn left on a footpath by a metal fingerpost. Cross over a metal footbridge and follow the path uphill with a series of steps to cross an estate road.

Continue uphill, through a twitten and an unusual-shaped metal barrier. Turn right, following an estate road to a T-junction.

Turn right into Hollington Park Road to the next T-junction. Turn right again and, in a very short distance, turn right into Filsham Road.

Cross at the traffic island and then turn left by a public footpath metal fingerpost along a twitten. In about 200 yards, where the footpath divides, take the right-hand twitten between board fences by a housing estate on the right.

Continue through this twitten for a further half mile. On the way, go straight ahead at a metal barrier, cross two estate roads (the first with steps down and up), then forward on a tarmac path.

On approaching the railway line at West St Leonards, turn left on a footpath parallel with the railway; then turn right to go over the tunnel. Cross a road and continue ahead on the footpath to another road.

Turn left along West Hill Road for nearly half a mile. At the end, turn right down Quarry Hill for a few paces; then cross to an archway between two white columns on the left.

This leads into St Leonards Gardens, designed by James Burton in 1828 as the centrepiece for his new resort to the west of Hastings. Originally, private for residents of the surrounding properties, it was bought by Hastings Corporation in 1880 and opened to the public. Do a circuit of the gardens before leaving through the archway again.

St Leonards, originally separate from Hastings, was created by Burton between 1827 and 1837 with further buildings added by his son, Decimus in the 1850s and 1860s.

Turn left, then immediately right down Maze Hill. Turn left along Undercliff, bearing right at the end towards the sea front. The large building on the right is Marine Court which was completed in 1937 and deliberately designed to look like an ocean liner.

Turn left along Grand Parade and, in a short distance, cross the A2102 road at two sets of traffic lights, being two parts of the one-way system. Just beyond is the very prominent bronze statue of Queen Victoria, which dates from 1902.

Take the next turning on the left and cross a road to enter Warrior Square Gardens, the last of our three gardens to visit. Walk through and go up the left-hand steps on the farther side to exit onto a road.

Turn right and, in a short distance, turn left into Terrace Road. At the T-junction, turn right along Western Road which leads directly back to Warrior Square Station.