Framfield is a charming small village to the east of Uckfield. John Harmer follows an undulating figure-of-eight route, using part of the Wealdway and visits the hamlet of Palehouse Common; discovering some interesting things along the way.

From the bus stops, head east (Heathfield direction) to the car park on the left, almost opposite the village sign. From here, go along a track (public footpath) to the left of the Recreation Ground.

Where the track bears right, go straight ahead to cross a stile. Bear right (ignoring a misleading waymark pointing ahead) across the field to the right of a small wood with a pond. Go downhill, over a stile; then continue direction uphill across fields, crossing two more stiles to reach Sandy Lane.

Turn left and, in about 100 yards, turn right by a Wealden Walks waymark to go along a track. After about 125 yards, go over a stile and veer left (north-easterly direction) downhill across fields keeping to the left of woodland.

At the bottom of the fields, continue through the wood. On leaving the wood, go across a footbridge and head towards a Wealdway fingerpost on the opposite side of the field.

Turn right, following the stream on the left. Our route now follows the Wealdway for about three quarters of a mile; a regional route, encountered on some of my previous walks, extending for 80 miles from Gravesend in Kent to the Sussex coast at Eastbourne.

In about 550 yards, go over a footbridge where another footpath crosses and bear right away from the stream. Now follow a fence on the left to come to a minor road with the unusual name of Streele Lane.

Cross the road and through a hand-gate by a waymark. Continue direction along the Wealdway for a further 550 yards to reach a stile leading to Pound Lane.

Turn right, crossing over the stream and then continue uphill. Bear left at a triangle junction to reach the main road (B2102).

Turn right, and immediately right again, to go through a hand-gate by a plinth and then over a stile. Continue along a track in a north-westerly direction and over another stile.

Veer left across the field to the right-hand corner of a conifer wood. Pass a wood pile on the left and cross a track to go through a squeeze stile.

Now veer right across a field to go over a stile; then veer right again to cross a stile in the farther corner of the field. Follow the footpath, over another stile and on to reach Gatehouse Lane.

Turn left along the lane, keeping straight ahead at the junction with Sandy Lane. At the main road (B2102), cross with care and turn left along the footway around the sharp right-hand bend.

Just before the next bend, turn right immediately past a house named Church Stile, along a twitten with a waymark on the board fence. Continue along the track and, where this turns right, continue straight ahead towards the Parish Church.

Dedicated to St Thomas à Becket, the present building dates from the early 13th century (although there has been a church here since Saxon times). There are copies of the Church History for sale inside.

[If doing only the first part of the walk or having a break, leave the churchyard by the lych-gate. Go across the main road to the Hare and Hounds; then turn right along the footway to the bus stops or car park.] To continue the walk, from the church, follow the path through the lower part of the churchyard. Go through an old metal kissing-gate along by a fence on the right in a south-easterly direction.

Cross a stile; then by a fence on the left. The path may be muddy but has a walkway at one point (with a tree across at the time of my visit).

Continue along a field edge; then over a series of footbridges through a wood. Cross a stile to leave the wood and bear left along the field edge.

In about 100 yards, go over a stile on the right. The footpath runs parallel with the right-hand field edge; however, it may be necessary to veer left to a stile because of a temporary fence across the field.

Head for the bottom right-hand corner of the field; then bear right through woodland to cross a footbridge and continue along a wide grass track and uphill on a driveway. At the top go over an unusual tubular metal stile with circular treads.

Go to the road at Palehouse Common and turn right. In about 300 yards, just past Palehouse Farm, cross a stile on the right and follow the path parallel with the road before bearing to the right of houses.

Now follow the path downhill and around to the right, on the left of a wooden fence. At the next corner, turn left and cross a stile on the left.

Turn right down the field edge until just past a gate on the right; then bear left to cross a footbridge at the bottom of the field. Go forward to cross another footbridge and then continue uphill crossing two stiles and through a gateway.

Veer left to an obvious gap in the opposite field edge. Continue across the field and through a metal kissing-gate.

Turn left on the churchyard path, and go through the lych-gate. Cross the main road to the Hare and Hounds; then turn right along the footway to the bus stops or car park.


Distance/time: Five and a half miles/two and a half hours; first part only, three and a quarter miles/one and a half hours.
Public transport: Buses (318, not Sundays) to Framfield from Heathfield and Uckfield.
Car: Use small car park (free) at entrance to the Recreation Ground in The Street (B2102), Framfield.
Underfoot: Mostly undulating field and woodland paths and tracks, which may be quite muddy in places, when wet. Also, short distances on minor roads.
Thirsty work: Hare and Hounds pub, opposite Parish Church (near start/finish).
Map: OS Explorer 123 or Landranger 199; also a compass for general direction.