Rudyard Kipling’s High Weald of East Sussex – Smugglers Tales

Sun 24 Oct 2020

We hike across ‘Kipling Country’ to Bateman’s the big Jacobean house in which he lived from 1902 until his death in 1936.


  • Explore the Beautful High Weald
  • Batemans – Jacobean Manor
  • Burwash – smuggling village
  • Robertsbridge – County village
  • Kipling’s Durwell Valley
  • Socknersh Manor


We are off to East Sussex to the heart of the High Weald Area of National Beauty. The area was designated as such in 1983 it’s only 55 miles from London. We hike across ‘Kipling Country’ to Bateman’s the big Jacobean house in which he lived from 1902 until his death in 1936. The house is nestled in a valley. High above we see the hill inspiration for ‘Puck of Pook’s Hill’.

We pass rolling fields, hills and orchards. Ancient woodlands and waters fed the Wealden iron industry. This history is reflected in local place names and the many forges and mills. We will spy the distinctive Oast houses used for drying hops. Also secluded enigmatic farmsteads.

We will take our lunch at Burwash. During the late 17th and 18th centuries the village was a haven for smuggling, a capital crime several villagers were executed. It is reported that in 1834 as far away as Portsmouth people spoke of the pubs in the area as the roughest they had ever been in.

There is a Kipling room at ‘The Bear’ public house. Burwash was used shooting the film My Boy Jack (2007), starring Daniel Radcliffe. Robert Smith, singer and founding member of rock band The Cure is a resident.

In the Norman church there is a memorial plaque to John Kipling (Rudyard’s son) killed at the age of 18, in his first battle (the Battle of Loos) on the Western Front in 1915.

We will finish our journey passing through the Dudwell valley home to Socknersh Manor famously owned by Sir Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck who never moved into the property but used it as a weekend party home in the swinging 60s!

Our final destination is Robertsbridge. The village is nestled in the Rother valley home to the Darvill Community. Notable resident of Robertsbridge – Malcolm Muggeridge of ‘Mastermind’.

Hiking information

Distance: 15.2 km (just under 10 miles) approx.
Elevation Gain: 350 metres
Estimated Duration* (approx): 4 hours for walking
Difficulty: Moderate (See link for AAA Hike Grading)

Travel logistics

Meetup Point: London Charing Cross
09:00 Meetup Time
09:20 Depart Meetup Point for the train

00:25 Train Departs from Charing Cross
10:06 Train Arrives at Stonegate
10:10 Walk Departs
18:15 Return Train Departs Robertsbridge*
19:57 Return Train Arrives London Charing Cross*

* Return train times are subject to the duration of the hike

Once the hike has finished we aim to have at least 30-50 min free to enjoy a drink before the group’s departure for London. We are travelling on group rail tickets, but we can also organise a later departure if there are sufficient people interested.

Travel to the Meetup point

Please allow ample time to complete your journey and arrive on time when joining group hike. We publish the transport departure time and specifically the departure time from the Meetup Point. If you are running late please contact the event host to let them know.

If you don’t already use Citymapper you might find this a useful app to plan the best route and give you the best indication when to leave to ensure you don’t miss the group’s departure.

£28 per person

Price includes

  • Guided Hike by a trained Mountain Leader with Wilderness First Aid Training
  • Return rail fare to and from the stated destination (subject to the ticket purchased)
  • Event planning and administration
  • PayPal fee

Price does not include

  • Lunch
  • Souvenirs
  • Entrance fees to any attractions you wish to visit
  • Good jokes

*Attendees not requiring a return rail ticket from London or who are meeting us at the Hike Start point the price is only £10 pp

To book your place

To book and confirm your place on all Day Events please do so via our Meetup site. Simply click on the event link below. If you don’t already have a Meetup Profile, don’t worry they are quick and easy to create and open up a world of events for you to join. Then simply RSVP and you will appear on the guestlist. You’ll be able to communicate directly with the event host and other participants as well. Payment is via PayPal which accepts credit and debit cards as well. If you are bringing and paying for a second person please add the number of guests accordingly.

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Useful information

If you have any questions relating to what to bring or wear then please check out our General Information pages, specifically our kit list page. Many of the other frequently asked questions and answers can be found under our FAQ section.

  • How do I book my place?
  • What should I wear?
  • How fit do I need to be?
  • Can I bring my dog?
  • Are children allowed?
  • What happens if I need to cancel and can I get a refund?
  • What if the weather isn’t very nice?
  • How do I find the group leader and meeting place?
  • Who buys the rail ticket?
Jez Malins
Event Host, Hike Leader & First Aider
Event Details
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