May 24 : Sandhurst to Sandhurst (Kent) : Stonegate Station to the Kent border

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Part way through our week’s holiday in Hastings, we took a day away from sightseeing to tackle the penultimate leg of our unofficial, self-made long-distance path from Sandhurst (just in Berkshire) to Sandhurst (just in Kent). Today’s route was from Stonegate station to just a few yards from the Kent border near Hawkhurst Fish Farm.

Stonegate station

Stonegate station

Leaving the station car park (where do all the passengers come from? It’s in the middle of the countryside), we set off roughly parallel to the railway, along a farm track, stopping to talk to the farmer, and then on along a grassy path at the edge of a field to find our first cache of the day, part of the ‘Burwash Bash’ series. And it was a pretty good cache, hidden away inside the innards of a plastic creature (think ‘rivet’, ‘rivet’, ‘rivet’). Just as we replaced the cache two people came along, armed with maps and clipboards. They were researching a long-distance route of their own. We explained about our own mission, and about what we were doing, lest they thought us suspicious/mad, pointing vaguely in the direction of the cache.
What are these for?

What are these for?

We followed the two walkers, who got ahead when we stopped to find the next cache, in woodland, hidden in a fallen tree among a selection of numbered insect traps/nests? we didn’t know what they were for. Further on, we briefly crossed the railway tracks to find a cache in a gate, then returned to walk through woods, where we found … a dump of abandoned model houses … very odd.
... And why are these here?

… And why are these here?

A little further on in the woods, we came across a couple putting pieces of red tape round some of the trees. They left when we appeared. There are some strange people and things in this bit of Sussex! Two more caches were found, the first overlooked by a passing runner, and the second watched from above by a gang of railway workers. We had seen about twenty people so far; this wasn’t the quiet path in the country we had expected!
Watch out for trains!

Watch out for trains!

We turned uphill away from the railway and things went slightly wrong. There was a footpath diversion, but it was only signposted from the other direction, and, unknowing, we emerged onto a road in a place we weren’t expecting. Then we couldn’t find where the diverted path continued, and accidentally walked down a farm drive before re-finding the path. We were only certain we were back on the right path when we found the next cache. We carried on uphill, finding caches as we went and dealing with more bits of uncertain path signage. At least the series of caches was keeping us on the right route!
Signpost to ... where?

Signpost to … where?

Where's that path?

Where’s that path?

Eventually we emerged onto a road, and paused for a drink of water. We now had a long, cacheless, hot walk along roads to Hurst Green. It was time to step away from the ‘Burwash Bash’series, so time for a quick tribute to this series; we’d found thirteen caches from the series and it’s in beautiful countryside, with a variety of containers and methods of hiding; all were well maintained, with clean, dry logs in an inner pot in the cache container. Here are a selection of caches from this excellent series, in no particular order:

What a varied series!

OK – advert over – we stepped onto the tarmac, on a hot day with the early afternoon sun reflecting from the road, and walked along the road and up the hill into Hurst Green. Two and a quarter miles later, we sat on a seat in the village for another drink of water.

Somewhere in Hurst Green ...

Somewhere in Hurst Green …

Refreshed, we walked up to the A21, and found our first cache for a while just up the road. That done, we crossed the busy road, set of down a track, and were almost immediately away from the busy village and in open country once more. It was just a couple of miles more back to the car at the end of the walk, and there was one more cache to find, about midway. Called ‘Pond Bay’, it was to be our 1900th cache, so we spent quite a while looking for it; it hadn’t been found for 9 months, since August 2016, and it wasn’t quite where the GPS should have been … but find it we did.
Long lost cache, needing some TLC

Long lost cache, needing some TLC

Then it was just a mile back to the geocar as the afternoon cooled. Fifteen caches found, and just one more walk to go until the end of our quest.