The A275 runs north from Lewes and runs up to Ashdown Forest. As you pass the turning to Barcombe you start to come into South Chailey, Chailey village follows and finally North Chailey. None of the Chaileys evoke much excitement on passing through but these three little clusters of homes hide their own Sussex secrets in the form of incredible walking land, a network of permissive footpaths and bridleways and an incredible amount of open common land - who knew? Chailey Common is in fact a nature reserve and boasts 450 acres of lowland heathland. I drive through on my way to shop at Townings but until recent months the paths looked boggy and treacherous. But by chance I picked up some leaflets on the commons and was flicking through them over breakfast one morning and ended up walking Jessie there in the evening. Red House common is the largest of the Chailey commons and from the road you would never believe that this common has such stunning views over the Sussex countryside. It's particularly stunning when there's a dramatic sunset or on a misty day.
I parked on Warrs Hill Lane and headed right taking in the sight of the colourful bracken and array of different trees littering the eyeline. You then come to the brow and the views come into sight - I was grateful of the bench to just sit and take it in! The Sussex countryside has a magnificent drama and the birds just danced around us while we quietly appreciated it. Due to the commons land status (escaping the 18th Century Enclosure Act) it has remained undeveloped and unimproved and instead the bracken has been cut back by commoners for many years - this only adds to the magic of it.
There's plenty to explore in the bracken and take in the fresh air before heading back up towards the windmill. The grounds of the windmill are incredible, well worth a peek over the fence! You then head back around the common, very likely passing a fair few horse riders and dog walkers on the way.
Red House Common would be perfect for a picnic and you get a real sense of cleansing the lungs here. Did you know that your lungs are one of your main detoxification organs?
Formally Emma Gutteridge