High Weald


The views expressed here are our own, although we do not envisage writing anything that will counter the aims and objectives of the High Weald Joint Advisory Committee.


These blogs have been written by members of the High Weald AONB Unit staff.  You can find out more about these staff by visiting the AONB team page.

Walking the High Weald with the Normans

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Isn't the BBC iPlayer wonderful? I caught up with Dan Snow's Norman Walks last night, Sussex - the Invasion Walk, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the Weald.

It reminded me how important communication routes were throughout history. The High Weald is crisscrossed with tracks - prehistoric droveways running out from the old woodland pastures or dens across the Weald to the Downs, straight Roman roads and a myriad of other tracks.  Have you noticed how footpaths almost always run through the old farmsteads and hamlets suggesting they may predate the buildings?  Indeed almost all of the High Weald's roads and footpaths are ancient trackways. We don't know how old or exactly what many of them were used for but we do know that how people responded to the landscape around them in the routes that they made or where they settled has given the High Weald its distinctive character which we now protect as one of England's most beautiful landscapes.

The sunken footpath outside my house in Cranbrook is still cool and damp from yesterday's rain and I know it connects up with tracks linking Battle Abbey with the Royal Manor of Wye, which was given to the Abbey by William the Conqueror so I'm off to see if I can imagine who walked this track - Normans, Romans, Anglo-Saxon drovers?  If you want to walk in their footsteps try our walks finder for routes.