The woodland walks have turned out to be an extremely popular DACS activity. Victoria Fraser writes:
“Those members who were unable to join us on the walks, arranged and led by Peter Miles on the 6th and 13th of April, missed a treat. After meeting at the Village Hall car park in Mountfield, we were led on a very entertaining and educational tour far from the public footpath network. It is hard to appreciate what a bustling industrial area this was in the late mediæval period, but we had our eyes opened to the huge numbers of mine shafts in the woods and the associated transport network required for carrying ore, iron and charcoal, including the old iron trail — Sow Lane — which joins Robertsbridge to Ashburnham. These old tracks were the equivalent of today’s main roads. With a carefully marked stick, Peter taught us all the wheel gauge for all the traffic that used these roads: 4ft 8½ins.
“The carpet of bluebells in the woods made a wonderful backdrop to the moated remains of a manor house and we were also shown how to recognise other features such as wood banks and stone pits or quarries.
“It wasn’t all industrial archaeology however. Peter enjoys his fauna and flora too so we encountered strange trees, such as the Yeti Tree, and uncommon plants including Butcher’s Broom. There was even an opportunity for foraging as he produced bags to collect the delicious wild garlic that carpets the wetter areas of the woods. A real bonus was the recipe sheet given to everyone at the end of the walk which has expanded my wild garlic repertoire.
“After three hours everyone was back at the start having enjoyed a good walk with like-minded friends and learned to look at the Weald in a different way. Our thanks to Peter and also to Simon and Lucinda Fraser for allowing us access to the estate.”
(If you went on either of the walks and have any fun photos of the day, do please share them. Thanks, Peter)