Stay, see and do
Stay, see and do
Barcombe parish has one major settlement (Barcombe Cross, shown opposite by the pin) with three smaller satellites: Barcombe to the south, Barcombe Mills to the south east and Spithurst to the north. The parish church of St Mary the Virgin is in Church Road, Barcombe.
If you'd prefer a hotel, then the county town of Lewes is about four miles away by road and has various options at different prices. If none appeal, then there are alternatives some eight miles to the north at Little Horsted.
At the other extreme, the parish has one formal place to pitch your tent.
Barcombe parish has plenty for the walker or runner. There is a real richness of footpaths, many of which interlink to make circular routes. Try following the River Ouse, taking in Barcombe Mills; head out through rolling countryside from Barcombe Cross to the parish church in Barcombe, or find shade in woodland around Spithurst. OS Explorer maps OL11 and OL25 give overlapping coverage. Wherever you head, it's good to stay on the paths – local farmers will thank you!
Given the good network of quiet lanes in this and neighbouring parishes, road cyclists can put together interesting routes. For more of a challenge, include Ditching Beacon - there's a car park at the top if others fancy a stroll on the South Downs Way, or it can make a good start point for mountain biking.
Travel a little further and there is big country to be explored, from the sweep of the South Downs to the brackened heights of Ashdown Forest - go on foot, by bike or in the car. And beyond the Downs is the sea.
Towns. No excuses for putting Lewes first. Not only is it close by, but its human scale, independent shops, old buildings and places to eat (or just take coffee) recommends it over bigger places.
Within shouting distance is Brighton (13 miles), aka London-on-Sea. Famous for its pier, Pavilion, shopping, pebble beach and liberal attitudes, it's definitely worth a visit. Parking is expensive; try the train or bus from Lewes rather than taking the car.
Staying on the coast, Eastbourne (22 miles) is smaller, more traditional, quieter and slightly faded; it has a good seafront walk, theatres and the sea.
To the north, Tunbridge Wells (also 22 miles) offers plenty of quality shops, particularly towards and including The Pantiles. Unusually for the south east of England, rock climbing is a possibility - so pack your crampons.
And away from towns? If the sea appeals, Beachy Head, the Seven Sisters coast and Birling Gap are spectacular. Inland there are the Downs and Firle Beacon; to the north Ashdown Forest, the Bluebell Railway and a great deal more.