Walk the plank: Powdermill Wood near Battle

A mile south east of Battle is a little woodland that feels like a lost kingdom. Swamps, wooden walkways edging over the water beneath on stilts, dark rivulets diving off the path hinting at hidden watercourses and crown-like tussocks of reeds staring at you across the darkling mere.

Walking down from the car park along the Catsfield-to-Battle road (Powdermill Lane), the traffic noise disappears after you turn left and head down into the deeper woods. A concrete track takes you down to a wooden footbridge and there the fun begins. We'll leave the directions once inside the wood for you to find out – it's simple – but it's so worth a visit.


One to two hours can be spent here if you've got kids as there are coppiced areas of hazel and alder which are safe for them to explore (and a number of others with no-entry signs where the woods are being coppiced at the moment).

There are also plenty of areas you'd want small and perhaps also bigger kids to take care in, as the swamps soon surround you and the walkways become the only method of getting back home!


Look out for the rotting old walkway to the side of the current one, a great 'Indiana' spot for your kids if you can lead their eyes to it nonchalantly and let them discover it. Elsewhere we came across two 12-year-olds boys clambering along a stream bed underneath the roots of a massive beech tree as their parents gazed down towards them from the bank above. Quite safe really, but very exciting for the kids. It's a joyously lost area and even on an overcast day such as the one we visited on, you hardly notice the weather, as this is the opposite of an invigorating hilltop walk – it's a journey into the land, with mud, trees and birdsong your companions.



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