Thick snow and frosty days during the Christmas holidays make after lunch walks in and around Uckfield very appealing, writes The Ambler.
Wherever you live in town it won't take long on foot to reach the countryside. I like to head for the woods because the trees look so pretty with snow or frost on their branches.
Another benefit is the fact that fewer people will have trampled the snow making ice-rink footpaths like those we have seen in town over the last few days.
If you live at the Ridgewood end of town then the place to head for is Boothland Wood near the Victoria Pleasure Ground. Check out the skatepark as you go - I wonder if there are hardy people skating at this time of year?
The Millennium Green which was the subject of an earlier Breathing Space feature would also be a good place to head for.
If you live at Rocks Park, West Park or in the area of Hunters Way then Lake Wood is lovely and if you live in the Manor Park or Hempstead Fields area then Views Wood is nearby – though heavily used – and beyond are beautiful walks around Buxted Park.
Another option is to walk down Hempstead Lane, turning immediately left on to the Weald Way just beyond Hempstead Mill. It can be a very soggy walk but if frosty it is worth going along the footpath, crossing the field and heading up hill, clambering over styles and taking care to close gates, as you cross fields of horses. As you reach the railway line make sure you look back to take in the view.
Alternatively, instead of joining the Weald Way, you could carry on along Hempstead Lane, past the horse sanctuary, over the level crossing along the path and into the wood to your left.
I haven't had chance yet to see Hempstead Meadows Nature Reserve in the snow. It can be accessed from the play area in Hempstead Lane but I've hesitated to wander down in case the section just behind the Co-op (formerly Somerfield) car park is very wet. I've had soggy feet in the past when the water has gone over the top of my Wellies.
I guess the West Park Nature Reserve would be a good place to go too after a fresh fall of snow – but it's very close to West Park and popular with dog walkers so I don't quite count it as countryside. Cross the road from there though into Lake Wood and it is a different story, a different world.
If you would like to learn some of Uckfield's hidden secrets follow our link to an article based on an interview with ecologist Martyn Stenning which appeared in this year's Uckfield Chamber of Commerce Festive Fantasies brochure.
The brochure, which raises funds towards the town's Christmas lights was edited by Cathy Watson Associates, the PR and Communications business which owns the Uckfield News website.