Combe Valley Countryside Park – an interesting walk

Recently, I went for for an interesting walk round Combe Valley Countryside Park with the WI walking group.
     We headed off from the car park by the Hastings Garden Centre up towards the back of the Pebsham landfill site. I gather that this has now been closed down, is being landscaped and will eventually be added to the park. Apparently, it was the only remaining land-fill site in East Sussex. Where does all our rubbish go now, I wonder? There is what they call a ‘Waste Transfer Station’ at Pebsham, where it seems that waste is sorted and loaded into much bigger vehicles to be taken – where?
     Readers of this blog may also remember my rantings about the deficiencies of the nearby household waste site. When we visited with a load of garden rubbish last week, there was still no sign of a tip shop – they had a few plant pots on sale down by the soil improver, but nothing else. What a waste of potentially reusable stuff. Talking of soil improver, I read a scare story in the paper saying that local authority soil improver often contains Japanese knot weed. I hope the Hastings stuff doesn’t – we have emptied many bags of it onto our garden.
     One more negative thing, about the walk – the amount of dog poo on the paths.You could scarcely enjoy the scenery while looking down to see where your feet were going. OK, if you are in the middle of the country you might feel you could get away with not using a bag, but even the laziest and most feckless person could at least kick the poo off the footway into the undergrowth.
     By this time, you may be wondering what sort of bizarre walk this was – landfill sites, waste tips and dog poo, but really it was very attractive. The verges and banks were full of wild flowers, and there were many butterflies – small tortoiseshells, meadow browns, a red admiral and little orange ones – I don’t know what they are called.
     For much of the walk there is a pleasant view down across the Combe Valley – you could see the works on the Link Road in the distance – it is really progressing.

View across the Combe Valley

    Again, see previous blog post for Battleaxe’s rabid rantings about that road, but what’s done is done now. In terms of impact on the landscape, I believe that in a few years it will blend in, once the vegetation has grown up round it. It is not exactly an eight-lane motorway. Sure, it won’t make much difference to the traffic, but then nothing would except a massive road cutting right across from Eastbourne to past Rye, and that will never happen.
   The Link Road is not the first disturbance to the valley – a railway line ran across it until the 50s, with a massive viaduct in the middle. I found this photograph on the internet of the viaduct being blown up in 1969. That must have given the great crested newts something to worry about.

The end of the Combe Valley viaduct

   Our walk took us through the Filsham Reed bed – the reeds had grown up past my eye-line. It is an interesting little patch, marshy little streams crossed by wooden bridges, and there were beautiful yellow water lilies. According to the blurb about the Countryside Park, the reed beds contain a ‘nationally important’ population of dragonflies, but we didn’t see any.
   The path got nettle-covered and brambly, so we ended up stomping up to Harley Shute Road and back down through the Combe Haven Holiday Park. Can’t say I’d fancy staying there with such a lovely view of the Landfill site, but there’s no accounting for taste.
   Never mind a railway line and a Link Road, I also read that the grandly named Hastings Aerodrome was once on the site of the football fields we crossed to return to the car park. As you can see from the picture, it never amounted to anything and was finally closed in the 1950s.

Hastings Aerodrome at Pebsham

        We ended up with tea and scones at the Garden Centre cafe.
        Here are some pretty pictures of our walk – no poo, waste sites, landfill or link roads visible!

Nettles and brambles
View over the reeds
What is this strange post, lost in the undergrowth?

The reedbeds.

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