The High Weald scenery is especially dramatic at this time of year. Frosty mornings and vivid sunsets, the stark beauty of winter trees, spectacular flocks of birds, brightly coloured berries, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the smell of damp earth...We've got countryside walk ideas for all ages to explore the exhilarating High Weald in winter. So wrap up warm and get outdoors!
Top tips for winter walking
- The clay paths of the High Weald can be muddy at all times of year so waterproof boots are recommended.
- Be prepared for changeable weather by carrying waterproofs in a rucksack.
- Follow the Countryside Code.
Join a walking group
Joining a group or organised walk is a sociable way to discover new routes in your area and meet new people. Walk distances vary and they are often led by local experts. Walking groups in the High Weald area include: Battle Ramblers, Crawley Ramblers, Heathfield & District Ramblers, High Weald Walkers (meet in Crowborough), Mid-Sussex Ramblers, Rother Ramblers, Sussex Young Walkers (under 50), and Tunbridge Wells Ramblers.
Visit a nature reserve
The High Weald has numerous nature reserves which are free to visit and owned by organisations such as the National Trust, RSPB, Woodland Trust and Forestry Commission. Here are our recommendations for reserves to visit in wintertime:
Kent, North of Flimwell.
Bedgebury Pinetum's fine conifer collection, pictured above, looks especially spectacular in frosty weather! Birds such as goldcrests and hawfinches roost in the Pinetum in winter. The Visitor Centre and Café lie within a network of paths that enable easy access for all levels of ability and woodpeckers, siskins, marsh tits and nuthatches may be seen on the feeders there. The wider forest offers walking, cycling, mountain biking, horse riding, adventure play and orienteering. Look out for signs of wild boar, fallow and roe deer too. Find out more about Bedgebury Forest.
Near Groombridge, East Sussex.
Avoid muddy paths with the all-weather circular easy access trail through the beech woodland with amazing carved sculptures. The path is surfaced with benches along the way and suitable for buggies, wheelchairs and scooters. It provides access to the spectacular Harrison's Rocks. True to its name you can also see dense white-barked birch woodland at Birchden! Find out more about Birchden Wood.
Just south of Rye, East Sussex.
One of Britain´s favourite nature reserves and an internationally important wetland, Rye Harbour is famous for its birdlife. The reserve has level paths and most have a good surface. There is a private road that runs through the Beach Reserve suitable for wheelchairs, and the five birdwatching hides are accessible to wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Typical birds you might see or hear in winter in the reserve's mosaic of coastal habitats are plovers, oystercatchers, lapwings redshanks, curlews, gull species, swans, ducks and geese. It's an exposed coastal location, so wrap up warm. Find out more about Rye Harbour.
Self-guided wintery walks
There are plenty of mini-adventures to be had in the High Weald winter landscape. Plan your own using one of the self-guided circular routes in our compilation of walks of various lengths. Enjoy the stunning views and duck into a cosy café or pub along the way!
High Weald welly walks
High Weald Welly Walks are short, self-guided walks that start and finish from the area's primary schools. Suitable for families without pushchairs. If you have a pushchair you may be interested in buggy friendly walks around the Tunbridge Wells area. For more winter activity ideas for little ones, see our winter wild play recommendations.