This was the glorious scene confronting us at the beginning of today's six mile jaunt around some of England's finest countryside.
Bodiam Castle is the epitome of what every schoolboy imagines a castle should look like. It's got the ramparts, portcullis and the obligatory moat surrounding it. You can easily slip back through the mists of time and imagine yourself manning the ramparts and raining arrows on the poor unfortunates below. The only hordes that swarm over it now are tourists eager to capture some of that sense of history that pervades from every stone.
This view was taken about ten minutes into the walk up a track leading away from the castle. On days like today we truly do live in the 'Garden of England'. And yes, that is a vineyard you see on the right. Unfortunately, the fruit wasn't ripe as yet, but we did manage to scrump some delicious blackberries en route.
We stumbled across this beautiful 14th century manor house at the end of a grassy track. I always marvel at some of the little gems tucked away deep in the countryside away from prying eyes. This place is called Great Wigsell and it has been owned by the Culpeper family over the centuries. We briefly met the owner on the drive exercising her two black labs'.
Barney the wonderdog was his usual pain in the arse. Whining half the time in the car and when we do get out, he thinks he's pulling a sled judging by the way we were dragged along half the time. Funny how he would only pull us down hill, but never up.He managed to find a couple of ponds on the way in which to cool off. I was tempted myself 'cos it was bloody hot out there. Resisting the temptation of 'The Curlew' public hostelry we eventually staggered back into the castle car park three hours later. A beautiful mornings walk ended with a delicious picnic in the grounds of the castle. And what will we be doing tomorrow on this Bank Holiday weekend? We will be doing bugger all, that's what.
We get our walks from walkingworld.com which is a treasure trove of walks for all parts of our sceptered isle. If you're a seasoned walker (I hate the term, 'rambler'), this site is certainly worth a peek at.