BOAT: Snapson's Drove

Location: Newbridge Rd, Pevensey, East Sussex BN27 1, UK
NB: This byway is now subject to a seasonal TRO, closing it to all motorised traffic from 1st October every year for a period of 6 months. Hugely irresponsible usage of this byway in wet weather by the inevitable minority has brought this about, so it is hardly a surprise. Time will tell if it actually opens in the summer months!

Make no mistake when I say that this byway, along with Marshfoot Lane and White Dyke Road (which lie very close by) are the best greenlanes in the entire of Sussex, and are a strong rival for the elite of those of any county that we've driven so far! Crossing the incredibly beautiful Pevensey Levels, lined with tall rushes growing in the water-filled ditches on either side of the byway, and offering some quite spellbinding views across the flat marshes, we were stoked by the time we'd finished driving this track! Epic.

Marked by no more than a gap in the reeds at its eastern end, Snapson's Drove heads north from Newbridge Road for around 100m before it turns sharply to the west. After another 100m or so the greenlane passes through the first of five metal gates (leave them as you find them, please) and then subsequently winds its way along the top of a dyke, flanked either side by reeds growing out of the ditches on each side. On a grassy, lightly rutted surface with occasionally large potholes than need negotiating, the greenlane is an absolute pleasure to drive, offering incredible views over the Pevensey Levels. It was bone dry when we drove it in the 'heat wave' of mid-October 2011, but in wet weather the surface gets very wet indeed and is such best avoided to prevent making the ruts and potholes any worse. The byway is so wide in places that it is not immediately obvious where the correct track lies so take care and cross-check your position using all possible aids.

The second gate can be found just after the halfway point, on top of a small brick-built bridge over a ditch. After passing over it the byway slowly gets narrower and more rutted until the foliage suddenly closes right in and the greenlane becomes more heavily rutted.

The encroaching foliage really does get very tight indeed here. By this stage I'd already driven most of it and the going was far too narrow to turn around so we were forced to press on, but rest assured the protesting squeals issuing from my paintwork as the hawthorn and bramble bushes scraped down the sides and roof were humbling. Epi is now pretty scratched up, but its nothing T-Cut can't solve (I hope)! There's no way through without damaging your paintwork. You have been warned.

The 'tight' section of the greenlane doesn't last all that long, around 100m or so and on passing through the third gate onto a farm track that runs to the south-west the foliage opens right out again. Just before the byway ends it enters a farm yard that is in very active use with a large dairy herd. It feels a bit weird passing through a farmyard like this, but you're in the right place so pass through the last two gates to the end of the BOAT.

A word of warning: drive this byway in lambing season (end of March/start of April) and the farmer uses the entry to his farmyard as a lambing area for his ewes. Therefore, although you do technically have a legal right of access, please use both common sense and common courtesy and do not try to enter/exit the byway during lambing season. AVOID. 

The byway shares an end point with White Dyke Road and it would almost be criminal not to drive both greenlanes at the same time. What a day out!

Scratch the surface of this part of the world, and it will bleed history. So whilst you're here, go and check out (as a minimum!):
This is East Sussex County Council's Hailsham 56.


View Snapson's Drove in a larger map

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