A scenic summer walk on the Wealden rim
THIS SUMMER BIRDING walk, sandwiched between the Brede Valley to the north and the coastal hills towards Hastings, winds its way through classic Wealden countryside, complete with an old windmill and oast houses (which were used for drying hops) as a reminder of a bygone hop-picking age. On the high ground, scattered orchards, copses, grazing paddocks and weedy fields all add to the variety of habitats on offer. From the sandstone ridge, viewpoints along the cliff edge and across the grazing meadows of Pett Level afford the chance of watching soaring raptors such as Buzzard, Hobby and Marsh Harrier, plus sea views out across the English Channel. The walk then descends into the Pannel Valley wetland, with reedbeds, marshy ground and lagoons, some of which can be viewed from a couple of hides. Depending on the current management arrangements, and whether the scrapes have been flooded, a variety of wetland species could be seen. Even so, warblers abound and look for Kingfisher, Marsh Harrier and Hobby. Further along the track towards the farm, the habitat looks ideal for Marsh Warbler.