leading a walk

Leading a walk, or sharing a led walk!

Leading a walk alone is somewhat easier than a joint walk with two other leaders. Although I was grateful to be with two map reading experts, I still found the experience somewhat difficult. To make matters more difficult we were starting at Hastings, walking to Rye, and previously we had started at Hastings and finished at Rye. I found out after this walking experience that starting at Rye was the best option.

 I’m not a great map reader, I’m inclined to lead the walk in the main from memory. The map is a back up if I get lost.

It is essential to prepare for the walk, this is to find out; what works, & where the toilets are, knowing where to eat, be it a picnic or a pub lunch, how long the walk takes including the stops,  and any changes that may have been made En-route.

I’m sure when I lead the walk on 1/6/2018 it will be a perfect day! 

Hopefully, Martin will be a joint leader on this walk. Martin & I had previously walked this route, led by another South Bank Group member, from Rye to Hastings, so both of us were sort of doing this a bit based on that memory, and our third leader was doing it all by the map.

view of Hastings town from top of stairs

A view from the hill of Hastings.



 In a way, this was really creating a new walk, based on some knowledge of the area. Getting to Hastings was easy and we headed straight through the old town and turned in at a side entrance by The Dolphin Inn, there is a steep staircase leading up to East Cliffs Hastings.


Bollards sign post routes

These bollards really help


Martin is well acquainted with Hastings, as he occasionally displays his artwork at a Gallery near the seafront at St Leonard’s. On this occasion, he met us in Hastings and told us there was a warning about erosion in Hastings Country Park which meant we would be diverted.


a bridge crossing over near

I recognise this bit, it leads to a naturist beach!


We were keen to avoid too much of the steep climbs of which there are many.

The diversion worked quite well as we only had 3 difficult steep climbs in which you have to stop at the end to catch your breath. I had walked some hellish steep steps in Hastings Country Park, in the past. It is pretty well signposted but is vast; if you are not careful it is easy to get waylaid then exhausted. 

Texan Jane, the other leader, held firmly to the map correcting us when we were going wrong. Both Jane & Martin have been leading walks for many years, but still, it was ‘my walk’, but we all contributed to making it happen. The rain poured down from 2 pm- 6 pm, we had no choice but to carry on.


coming out of woods to cliff overlooking sea

Coming out to Fairlight Bay

picture from cliffs coming out of Hastings Country Park

Looking out to Sea, huge clouds, lots of rain, from 2 pm-6 pm


Gray and blue skylight picture of sea

looking towards Petts level

seat with a view over coast

Seat with a view, out to sea.


leaders leading the way

Where now Jane? eh, Martin?!!!

a picture of sign post in three directions

I’m sure it’s this way, yes definitely, I ‘m sure…… 


Buying the right tickets & learning how to get around the somewhat overcomplicated  system can be a bit of a pain.

My word of advice is to avoid advanced tickets if possible and try to get the off-peak return instead. Split ticketing is another way of possibly getting a cheaper ride and using the oyster up to Zone 9 then  buying a train ticket for the rest of the journey out of London.

I occasionally attend a Blog Meet UP Group in Euston and would recommend this blog about travel. blog/travel-money-matters/5-tips-for-cheap-train-travel
 Having the right clothes

Having the right walking gear is essential, the subject deserves it’s own blog, although that might be a bit boring. Google, Goretex! and you will be on the right track. It is not fun being soaking wet, knowing we have another 8 miles to walk in the rain, believe me!

 Camber Castlecamber castle near RyeLooking through the window of Camber Castle

picture of ruined but still standing Camber Castle


When I first joined the Ramblers in 2011 I received a free copy of The Best Walks in Britain, and took it with me on my first visit to Seaford; from where I took a bus to East Dean then walked back to Seaford via The Seven Sisters; after I completed my Accredited walk leaders course, I started taking a group out doing variations on a theme.  I have extended my walk this year to Eastbourne.



Until next time keep on keeping on














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