Thankfully the strong northerly winds had blown itself out overnight, though the forecast still mentioned wintery showers, as I started out on day 2 from East Hoathly. The frost on the ground had stiffened up the mud just a little, though most of the fields were permanent pasture and not too muddy or slippery underfoot.
I was soon walking through Great Wood, its name the reminder of what was once here. It had probably been decimated several times over the centuries – nearby there are extensive remains of former iron-foundries which would have used the wood as fuel, but more recently the Great Storm of 1987 destroyed much woodland in the area.
I soon started to get glimpses of Ashdown Forest in the distance, and the view north was only slightly tempered by flurries of sleet and snow! I was thankful that the route dropped down again off a ridge, into the valley of the River Uck and around Buxted Park and Church
By the time I had made it up onto Ashdown Forest I was soaked, and so was my camera. The snow had turned to rain, but remnants of snow were still visible around Camp Hill Clump as I ate my lunch sheltering in the trees.
Continuing to walk north I started to leave the high ground of Ashdown Forest behind, walking down through Five Hundred Acre Wood and into the valley of the River Medway. The closer I got to the river the muddier it got, and it did not seem to be ordinary mud – it was super sticky mud and it made the going very tough. It took me quite a while to make it to the finish of the day at Stone Cross but I had covered a good 21 miles and had crossed the border into Kent.
More pictures from the walk can be found here.View the map in Google Maps, or here is the Google Earth KML file.