The Vanguard Way Blog has been started to complement the Vanguard Way official website: The Vanguard Way is a 66 mile, long distance footpath between East Croydon (South London) and the South Coast port of Newhaven.
Primarily we hope to record interesting sightings along the Vanguard Way with an emphasis on flora and fauna and other 'natural' phenomena. To offer a contribution, please email We will be interested to receive details of what has been sighted, where and when, together with a photo if available.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

November 2019
Hello all
Good news about The Vanguard Way. Colin has taken part in a podcast, one of a series produced for the Sussex Coast Series of Love Sussex.  Click:
The video is 11m 33s and Colin is featured prominently in this episode and can be seen near the start of the clip after the section in Newhaven, the end of the Vanguard Way. We hope you enjoy the clip. 

Monday, 4 November 2019

October and November 2019
We have two ramblers who have completed the Vanguards Way recently. Congratulations to both John and Jeff 

John completed the final section of the Vanguard way despite the adverse weather conditions of rain, wind and probably storm! John thanks us and makes very positive comments about route directions, waymarking, the use of the ‘helpful and comprehensive’ and the ‘absolutely brilliant’ commentary that developed his knowledge of the surrounding area and, in conjunction with OS Explorer maps, developed his knowledge of what he sees away from the path, which also lets him know where the main road is.

Jeff has been walking The Vanguards Way since 2014, finally completing in 2019. He is also a solo walker and confirmed that the directions were most helpful and that he was unlikely ‘to have undertaken the walk without the detailed directions given on the website’. As he says ‘I am particularly impressed that directions are given for both north to south and south to north, something that most authors omit (not even pointing out potential problems when walking in the ‘wrong’ direction)’.  
On moving back to Kent following a career that became increasingly sedentary, Jeff set out to walk as a way of getting exercise. He came across the Explore Kent programme, in particular the award of a certificate on completion. As he says, it was ‘an incentive to complete the walk, which I felt I needed’.  Since then he says he has looked to complete walks with similar ‘rewards’, including The Capitol Ring and The Vanguard way. Jeff says he is a fair weather walker and since the death of his mother may spend more time exploring other aspects of the Vanguards way. His favourite places were Cuckmere Haven and Ashdown Forest but he will check the walk descriptions before he starts.

The VGW got a good write-up on the My London website on 12 October.  If you wish to read it, click here and scroll down to ‘The Vanguard Way’.  It also provides a link to the route description for Section 1.
From MYLondon

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           East Croydon Station                                                                  Cuckmere Haven

Friday, 18 October 2019

August and September 2019

Whenever we walk or join the Vanguards way there are usually buses and trains to help join up the section of the way. The frequency of these means of transport depends on the day of the week and sometimes the time of the year!
Independent walkers give us information about the condition of the long distance path and we really appreciate this. East Sussex County Council, Highways England and other organizations also give us information about the way and its condition. 
One up-date is about the installation pedestrian refuge to be installed on the A27 at the point where the Vanguard Way crosses to Berwick village.  

Sections 3 & 4 changes are happening around Edenbrigde and Forest Row thanks to East Sussex County Council who have been carrying out repairs to the Vanguard Way (footpath 26a). These include construction of a stone path, reprofiling and ditching, laying of drainage pipes, clearance of a neighbouring wood. We will keep Forest Row (FP 26a) as the signed definitive route of the Vanguard Way as in the route description but the unsigned alternative will be kept as an option. This takes walkers closer to Tablehurst Farm with its cafĂ© and toilets, past historic Tablehurst Manor, and with a magnificent view across the fields surrounding Windmill Cottages.  

Section 8.8 - The public footpath crosses the field towards Ludlay and it is hoped walkers will use the path that turns before the garden and across the prepared path
A long-term resident of Seaford has added this piece of historic information Bishopstone railway station is I believe unique in that it has two wartime pillboxes on its roof. These offered their occupants panoramic views over the sea and would have been a strong deterrent to any approaching forces. In addition, on the western side of Marine Parade, between the A259 and the railway bridge, there was a large underground reservoir of oil. The small brick building, still visible in the field, was a pumping station, to pump the oil to the sea, where it could be ignited, thus setting the sea on fire. This facility was however never used. Desperate measures for desperate times!
Different aspects of the Vanguard Way courtesy of Keith & Linda

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

The Vanguards Way blog is back. We're on a catch up for the last year. 
There have been butterflies on Oxted downs in June 2019.

Successful walkers in 2019 include Axel, Charlotte and Mark during the year. Congratulations! These are the ramblers who have told us about their success in completing the walk. We would like to know of others who also have completed this long distance trail.
Route clearance continues at a regular pace. Thanks to those who have given our working party information about overgrown paths, illegible and overgrown signs and unclimbable stiles. Route descriptions are regularly reassessed and reprised 

Our sad news is the recent death of Graham Butler who worked tirelessly for our long distant path and many other walking groups. The Vanguards are going to have a kissing gate erected in his memory. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Newhaven railway footbridge now open

Don't worry about route diversions concerning the Newhaven railway footbridge, it's now open.

Copyright GCButler

Copyright GCButler
Some lovely spring weather lately - lovely day for a walk!
 Copyright C Saunders
Copyright C Saunders

Friday, 5 February 2016

Route alterations - Newhaven Harbour railway footbridge closed

We have been notified that the footbridge used by the Vanguard Way near Newhaven Harbour station will be completely closed for around 2 months (from this week until the beginning of April).

New information, 25.03.2016
The contractor has now requested an extension to finish the work by Monday 4th April so the new Footbridge should be open on the 5th/6th April instead of the 2nd.
Please take note

The footbridge closure  necessitates quite a big diversion for those using the Vanguard Way.  Below is an annotated map of the area.  The red cross shows where the Vanguard Way is blocked.  The purple line shows the diversion.  Below the map are the altered route descriptions which will hopefully soon be signed by the local authority.

A)     Section 10

10.9    At Tide Mills turn right along paved track inland across railway and to end at car park and the A26.  Just before A26 turn left along shared use cycle/walking path some 5 metres away from A26. Follow for 200 metres and after the path bears left, another 40 metres, turn left along raised paved FP by seat and information board (faded).  After FP does sweeping left bend and just after post (Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve) turn left off paved path onto grass and follows along tree line on left to locate FP along raised bank. Follow this which bends right with warehouses on the left and a rough area over to the right. As warehouses end and path bends right, turn left down the slope by allotment sheds and over Footbridge into recreational ground. Keep along left hand edge pass metal container and out on to Norton Road by entrance to Bevan Funnell Works. Where Norton Road meets Beach Road, cross over along Transit Road and follow to the end and Newhaven Harbour Station.

Section A

A a) to e)   From Newhaven Harbour station TL at small gate before station footbridge and follow Transit Road to end and where it meets Beach Road cross over into Norton Road. Follow to the end and bear left into recreational ground just before entrance to Bevan Funnell Works. Turn right along the field and go over a footbridge over stream, pass allotment sheds and up slope onto raised bank. Turn right along path and follow until reaching open area and post (Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve). Turn right along paved FP until it joins a shared use paved track by seat and information board (faded). Turn right and follow for 240 metres along side the A26 (some 5 metres away but slightly lower) until reaching car park and paved track. Turn right along track to pass across railway at two gates and onto Tide Mills.  At cross path junction turn left to rejoin the VGW towards Seaford.    

We hope to provide further detailed information in due course and it will be incorporated into the main Vanguard Way website as soon as possible.

Our main website has now been fully updated with this information including the council notification.

Reminder as of 25.03.2016
The contractor has now requested an extension to finish the work by Monday 4th April so the new Footbridge should be open on the 5th/6th April instead of the 2nd.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Wet - Wet - Wet, Wet, Snow

This winter, in the British Isles, has been consistently warm, wet and windy.  An unbelievable quantity of rain has fallen resulting in a succession of serious floods in Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire, South Wales, Scotland...  Here in the southeast our rainfall has been steady over the winter months and has resulted in gradual saturation making walking on country paths difficult and unpredictable.  

So far as conditions on the Vanguard Way go, any period of rain or wind will now be causing local problems of mud and flood together with fallen branches/trees.  At the far south of the route last week there were problems with flooding in Alfriston and along the Cuckmere valley.  Coupled with high tides the risk of disruption of a planned walk along the southern part of the Vanguard Way is high.  Elsewhere conditions will be challenging until there is a significant dry spell because the ground water levels are so high.

This weekend we have had a bit of a change of weather in that the unseasonable warmth has given way to much cooler temperatures and, in the case of Oxted, some snow!

We took the opportunity of doing a short loop from Oxted, over the M25 via the footbridge to the section of Vanguard Way which 'shares' the route with the North Downs Way along the foot of the Downs and across the Greenwich Meridian. (Note our shared plaque with the North Downs Way at that point).

Our snow was the sticky variety and trees and bushes had been picked out with a coating of snow.  Oak trees are easy to spot with their contorted skeletons.

As we neared the M25 footbridge Oxted Downs came into view - not quite enough snow for the children to have made it over to these slopes with their toboggans this time.  Or perhaps 'health and safety' has prevailed as there were always a crop of broken collar bones and ankles from these rather 'black run' slopes.

Temperatures were close to freezing and snow was falling off trees and bushes as our walk progressed.  The going was very soft, especially on the fields along the link path where your boots were constantly needing to be tugged from the muddy grasp below the snow.  These fields are generally damp so it is expected that the situation will be worse than usual.

On the look out for wildlife footprints, we were only rewarded with small rabbit prints and dogs (or possibly foxes).

Different types of tree looked quite different with their snow cloaks - the long buds of beech, the thorns of blackthorn and the keys of ash holding onto bigger clumps of snow.  The edge of one of the cereal fields had not been harvested, possibly to provide winter food for wildlife, the 'ears of corn' looking very attractive with their snowy adornments.

At the end of the fields the Vanguard Way parts from the North Downs way and descends towards Pitchfont Farm and Titsey.  Here it appeared to be snowing but the falling snow was actually coming off the branches above as the thaw set in.

If you would like to look at individual photos again, here's the link to the Picasa Web Album:
First snow of 2016