I've been so full of ideas, visions and chasing tail excited about so many incredible businesses - genuinely wanting to shout about them from the rooftops. But when it's come to sitting down and blogging I've just fallen short somehow. Perhaps I'm more comfortable with a pen and notepad than typing my thoughts on a computer. But devoid of the disposable finances to hire someone to do that for me, instead I just resolved to not feel guilty and to allow inspiration hit when the time is right. After all, don't we need that breathing space to be able to think about what it is we're trying to say? Rather than getting wrapped in up in what we should do.
So, ever happy to promote time to breathe and time to think I want to share with you a special quiet place within Sussex that you may not even know exists. For it is somewhere I went to, to breathe in the air, to allow my mind the space it needed and it believe it will do that for you too. Somewhere that all the to do lists become invisible for a while, the niggling feeling of unanswered emails, the general 'if only I had more time' feeling.
A stones throw from Ashdown Forest, Sheffield Park is surrounded by beautiful countryside, as well as some frankly brilliant attractions like the Bluebell Railway or the lovely pubs of Fletching. But did you know that nestled away just a bit further down the A275 in Nutley is Sheffield Forest?
Sheffield Forest itself is owned by the Forestry Commission. It's a haven of wildlife and has a huge history of timber and iron production. You would have no idea it was there but when you discover it it really is something quite beautiful.
I parked at Heaven Farm to have a spot of late lunch, a cup of tea and a study of the OS map before heading off on the walk. Crossing directly over the A275 I picked up a short track, passing a field that was so contrasty in the sun that I couldn't help but stop and take a picture. I then turned right onto Tanyard Lane and spotted a rope swing adorning the verge - what an idea life for a youngster! Wagtails darted on and off the road in front on us and I couldn't help but admire the quintessential english country cottages we passed. (please excuse my crap map!)
Look out on your left for Mill Lane - I got a bit confused here, it looks somewhere between a lane and a driveway and it looked like the footpath could lead through the gate but continue walking along the lane - taking in the gorgeous ferns among the trees and the bird activity in the thick hedgerows.
Soon enough you'll come to huge pond - you might spot the ducks first or the footpaths pointing off in different directions. You want the one where there's an old turnstile type contraption. I could help but poke my nose through the fence to the garden it passes - the Acers and cottage style colour really was quite admirable.
The pond continues on your left until the pines come into view and it really is quite something to see the wispy colours coming through.
Very quickly you're in the thick of the forest - and it honestly feels like you could be anywhere in the world - the trees creak unapologetically and I thought to myself I almost wouldn't be surprised to see a monkey swing through the trees!
I'm not going to bang on too much about the peace in the forest and allow the pictures to inspire you to go but I even found myself whispering to Jessie so as not to disturb the sheer tranquility of it all.
Follow the path round until you come to a stream - ignore the arrow pointing to your right and instead cross the stream and head into the thick trees on what looks like a track or bridlepath.
You'll start seeing water on your left and wonder if you've done a loop and found yourself back at the pond - you haven't, you've hit the fishing lakes and this will soon become clear!
Head over the style up into the field and head to the corner where the path leads through ferns and brambles onto another small bit of forest like land and then turn left through the fishing lakes. It's really important to keep dogs under very close control here!
Now follow the driveway round back onto Tanyard Lane - or you can take the path to the left which should lead you back to where you joined the lane. Turn left onto the lane and make your way back to the track that takes you to Heaven Farm.
I couldn't resist an ice cream while taking in the view before getting back into the car!
Remember, no one is ever too busy to find time to refresh the mind - it should be a priority. Enjoy this gorgeous walk and please share your photos on Instagram with #retreatwalks
PARKING // Heaven Farm TN22 3RG
PUBLIC TRANSPORT // No direct transport - the nearest is the Compass 121 bus to Sheffield Park
ORDNANCE SURVEY // Map 135 – Ashdown Forest
Formally Emma Gutteridge