BOAT: Bletchinglye Lane

Location: Bletchinglye Ln, Rotherfield, East Sussex TN6, UK
  • Overall Rating: 4
  • Location: Mark Cross, East Sussex.
  • OS Explorer Map 135, 'Ashdown Forest'.
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: TQ575300
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 04' 80" E000 24' 60"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: TQ583300
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N51 04' 80" E000 25' 70"
  • To see: not much.  
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!
Update 04/01/18: This byway appears to have been closed by a TRO for the time being, probably due to the condition of the wooden bridge here, with no sign of when it may reopen. We shall watch closely and report back when we have more detail. Original post follows.

Bletchinglye Lane is a pretty damn good, if short, lane that will provide quite taxing in wet weather. Initially unremarkable, the byway begins life as a metalled road acting as the driveway to Bletchinglye Farm. On passing the driveway proper, our trail takes us almost due east initially betwixt to railway sleepers and a 'speed bump' that serve as a barrier to would-be fly tipping filth. The greenlane proper then starts downhill on a surface of gravel with grass beginning to push through. The foliage that borders the lane is not yet tight enough to cause any serious scratches or damage.

It is then that the surprise happens! A steep-sided gully complete with ford , not marked or even apparent on the Ordinance Survey map, presents a not-insignificant obstacle! There is a footbridge out of the way to the south, but it's height relative to the river bed is a good indicator just how the water can build up here after rain such as we had during the wet 'summer' of 2012! The stream surface is mostly gravel so the going is relatively firm, but the sides are a little eroded and in very wet weather with the stream in flood the likelihood of getting stuck rises: the egress is noticeably steeper than the ingress when travelling eastbound, and also involves a turn. Its not at all difficult if the stream is low and you pick you line carefully, but you have been warned.

Another word of caution (I'll admit I'm at risk of nagging): your Explorers are acutely aware of the effects of our chosen leisure persuit with regards to its impact on the environment, and this lane, if it sees heavy usage, is ripe for damage and erosion at this point. If every 4x4 driver in the entire south-east descends upon Bletchinglye Lane then very quickly this lane will descend in to an undriveable state, so use it sparingly and irregularly and everyone will stay happy! Unless you stop off and fix the damage, of course.

Continuing eastbound out of the gully, the lane starts to climb steeply at first but soon shallowing off and taking a pleasant, moss-lined long and gentle curve where the surface changes to bare earth for a little way, before changing back to gravel on passing some field entrances. The trail eventually ends after passing over another 'speed bump' on the A267 just south of the village of Mark Cross. One of the best lanes in the area and it'd score higher if it were longer. Just don't visit it too often!

The ford. Tame in the dry...

View Bletchinglye Lane in a larger map

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