Even on a drizzly Bank Holiday Monday it is good to get out into the fresh air and the Millennium Green in Uckfield was my destination yesterday.
Beautifully maintained paths make this a walk that can be done without wellies but, if you don’t mind getting muddy then you can follow any trail you fancy, and who could resist going along Gordon’s Walk or Bob’s Walk, writes The Ambler.
The green can be accessed from the car park next to Ridgewood Village Hall. Cross the recreation ground behind the hall and you will find the entrance in the right hand corner.
Hawthorn blossom is looking pretty, some bluebells can be seen and even primroses suddenly appear either side of the path.
An information board says the bulk of the area was described in 1910 as arable and grazed by livestock from the adjacent Shipreed Farm which was owned by Francis Barchard of Horsted Place.
In the 1920s a neighbouring brickworks, Benjamin Ware and Sons, thrived under the management of William Ware. Clay was initially dug from a large pit on the brickyard site but then in 1922 a lease for the land of Shipreed Farm was granted to Benjamin Ware and Sons. (Eventually in 1937 William Ware bought the site).
Clay-working machinery was quickly installed and a narrow gauge track laid to allow raw material to be hauled to the brickworks by small locomotives.
For the next 20 years the land was worked to exploit the available clay but by the 1960s suitable clay was running out and in 1970 the works closed.
The brickworks site was sold for light industrial development while the 21.99 acres which now form the Millennium Green – thanks to East Sussex County Council, Uckfield Town Council and local residents – were for a time abandoned.
The brickworks are also remembered in a brick wall on the site. On one side of it are pictures taken in the old days, which can be seen above, and on the other is a bench, one of many around the green where walkers can pause and sit to enjoy the views.
New pathways are still being created on the Millennium Green, as can be seen in the pictures below.
• Bob’s Walk was named after the late Bob Sweetland, founder chairman of the Millennium Green Trust and a former district and town councillor.
• Gordon’s Walk was named after a benefactor who left the Millennium Green Trust some money to form a path in his memory.