BOAT: Studdens Lane

Location: Cinderford Ln, Herstmonceux, Cowbeech Hill, East Sussex BN27 4, UK
  • Overall Rating: 4
  • Location: Cowbeech, East Sussex.
  • OS Explorer Map 123, 'Eastbourne & Beachy Head, Newhaven, Seaford, Hailsham & Heathfield'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: TQ629142
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N50 90' 40" E000 31' 60"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference:  TQ622133
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N50 89' 70" E000 30' 50"
  • To see: not much.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!
NB: this byway is now subject to a TRO, being closed for 6 months from 25 October 2013. The closure is apparently required to protect the path surface and protect public safety while surface repairs are made. ESCC has a horrible habit of not re-opening these byways once closed, so time shall tell whether or not it re-opens to us in the summer.

Studdens Lane is quite a long lane, and is a hidden gem of a greenlane. Indeed, it is almost impossible to find at its southern end, as it starts in a farm yard, so it is far better to approach from the north.

Starting down the metalled lane of the same name, the BOAT itself begins just after passing the last cottage on the eastern side of the lane. Descending straight downhill on a winding path, at the nadir of its descent the lane crosses a small, shallow ford over Chilsham Stream (see pic, bottom), with a footbridge on one side. The ford isn't marked on the OS Explorer map, so it was a nice surprise!

On climbing out of the ford the lane heads gently uphill on a twisting, lightly rutted leaf mould surface through very pleasant woodland until, on exiting Scrip Wood, it reaches an epically tight hairpin bend. Indeed, the bend is so tight that I had to reverse my Defender 110 and get round in two goes!

After this bend, the lane changes character completely. Instead of a nice woodland drive, the surface changes to lightly rutted grass and mud, which presented no problem in the dry and were easily straddled. The foliage is well cut back, with a large orchard to the east and a hedge with the stream below to the west. Indeed in places the lane is so wide I was able to pass a man on his tractor with ease!

The lane twists and turns through pleasant countryside and follows the edge of the orchard until eventually it runs between two post-and-rail fences, turns abruptly towards a farmyard and then ends up on Cinderford Lane just west of the village of Hurstmonceux (pronounced "hurst-mon-zoo"!). As mentioned, the lane is pretty hard to find at this end and the byway sign is pretty well hidden.

Despite being a hidden gem, and although it has a ford, this lane scores a 4 instead of a 5 as after exiting Scrip Wood it's a little boring, and the electricity pylons and industrial buildings don't really help. Still well worth a drive though.

A surprise ford!


View Studdens Lane in a larger map

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