I love the idea of going for a walk on the downs, or visiting quaint local villages, but all too often I find myself lured away from these activities by city pursuits or a Saturday morning lie-in. That is until my friend Gemma invited me to her fancy dress themed birthday walk. Dress up as an animal, walk through local villages and stop for ale as often as we like, yes please.
So come Saturday, I dragged myself out of bed, put on my leopard costume and made my way to the station to meet the other animals (raccoon, fox, pig, lion, lobster, cat, donkey, hedgehog and goat) and begin our walk. We caught the train to Berwick which took about 30 minutes, trains run twice an hour and a return is about £7, but you can get a group saver ticket with groups of 4, so it works out you spend £3.55, bargin. The plan was to walk from Berwick to Alfriston, which is about 1.3 miles. So off we set over the fields. This is a popular walk , well sign posted, and involves basically walking in a straight line. A great advantage of the walk is that you can stop for refreshment half way (or 30 mins) into the walk at a lovely country pub, The Cricketers Arms
The pub is just what a tired walker needs, cozy, welcoming, has lots of outdoor seating and they serve Harveys’s* straight from the cask. After sufficiently refueling we got on our way again. There really is nothing better than walking through rolling fields on a sunny March day, the walk itself is very pleasant and not strenuous at all, you get fantastic views and we even encountered some horses! Walking down into Alfriston was simply glorious, having lived in Brighton for three and a half years I felt that I had missed out on this beautiful village for so long. It has everything you want, tearooms, ice cream, and a deli selling delicious delights.
Apparently the hymn ‘Morning Has Broken’ was written in this village, I can see why. After buying cake, quiche and postcards we finished our walk in The George pub with a well earned pint of cider. This walk really opened up all the possibilities that are on my door step. Alfriston is a gateway for many other walks so I’ll definitely be returning later in the year and treading new paths. In order to get back to Berwick to catch the train we got a taxi and split the cost, but there is a community bus, which runs between the two. Trains from Berwick back to Brighton run till 11pm, so you can really explore and not have any time constraints.
*Harvey’s are a brewery in Lewes and the oldest in Sussex, dating back to 1790.