Walk then Pub: West Wittering

 

So this is actually walk, drive, walk a bit, drive a bit, pub – there are pubs nearer the beach but we plumped for one that was highly recommended and within stumbling distance of where we were staying. We were lucky to have sunshine but the chill wind meant this was pretty much the only outdoor activity in a winter getaway that mainly involved sitting by the fire, playing games and sipping whisky. This is less a walking guide and more of a verbal ramble about a really very beautiful part of West Sussex.

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Walk then Pub: Portishead

Part of the coastal walk from Portishead down to Cleavedon, this seafront walk isn’t a loop but there’s so much to see that it doesn’t really matter if you are retracing your steps for the second part, and you can easily change the length of the walk depending on weather and any little feet or paws that might be with you. We park up by the Lido, which has a lovely cafe when its open, and head south along the wide pavement of Esplanade road, up beach road west and into the park and on to the coastal path. It wanders along the shore and you can clamber down onto the beach at different points and paddle, scramble over rocks or climb amongst the trees. There’s lovely views over the water and some real dream homes to drool over if thats your thing too! This path does go quite a way along the coast but we’ve generally gone as far as our rumbling stomachs will let us before turning back and defrosting at the Windmill Inn, which has huge windows, great views and a large garden for summertime. It’s a Fuller’s pub so the quality is nothing to shout about, but suited us fine for standard stodge and chips and the menu was surprisingly varied. The Lido offers something a bit lighter and I’m sure Portishead has an array of lovely pubs, we were just too cold to go exploring any further afield!

 

Walk then Pub: lapping Bewl Water

Sussex is a pretty beautiful county and a lot of the highlights are stretched out along the coast (like Beachy Head). The distinctive fingered shape of Bewl Water reservoir is much further inland, just outside Tunbridge Wells, and is fantastic in all seasons and for all kinds of family outings. If you head to the newly developed  visitors centre you can indulge in a variety of water sports in summer or cycle round the reservoir. Parking in the lay-by on Rosemary lane and geared up with wellies or walking boots, dog walkers can amble along peacefully, past the Duke of Edinburgh kids with heavy packs and the odd fisherman. The best kept secret of the reservoir is the food at Beals Barn garden centre. Not far from the main carpark, it’s a lovely setting for some well-earned refreshment, made mostly from local or homegrown ingredients!

 

 

Walk then Pub: Mind the Birling Gap

If you drive down to East Deal and park at the The Tiger Inn before heading across the fields to the coast, you will be rewarded with some truly stunning sea views. Walking passed the national trust look out (and ice-cream stop)  and heading down onto the pebble beach is a great spot for some paddling in warmer weather. There are a range of walks depending on what kind of walker you are (and the weather!). On the return, the pub does some great grub to refuel or there is a lovely little deli and plenty of spaces to picnic all along the coastal path.

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Muggins escapes to Sissinghurst

The UK is steeped in uncertainty today, however you feel about it. Even tea doesn’t help, which is equivalent to a national emergency. I took the responsible adult approach of running away to the nearest garden, drinking yet more tea and taking a year’s worth of photos. Thought I’d pass on the opportunity for escapism. Ladies and Gentlemen, Sissinghurst: as adapted by Vita Sackville West and brought to you by the National Trust.


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