All aboard the walking bus!

Ding Ding! All Aboard !! We’re taking the walking bus today, a pleasure trip.

OK you know where we’re heading don’t you? ….. over the last couple of years you’ve seen plenty of photos of the allotment and I thought today we could take a walk together, we’ll head in land away from the sea, wander the streets and peer through gates, catch glimpses of gardens and stare up into the branches of trees, but don’t worry there are always sea views around the corner or over rooftops.

I’ve been meaning to invite you all along for a while now, I was waiting for a nice day – a bright Spring sunshine day when we can take our time and wander along safe in the knowledge we aren’t about to get soaked! So you have some comfy shoes, a fleece or a warm jumper / jacket and maybe a scarf or beanie for the warmer-climes people; I have my bag with a flask of tea and a slice or two of coffee and walnut cake, mind you  my mate The Pyjama Gardener  is bringing a rhubarb cake, so there will be plenty of tasty treats to be had. And my friend  A Boleyn  is bringing a flask of coffee which may or may not have a little something extra added to it!

I live in St Leonards on Sea,  St Leonards is a town built for pleasure, a purpose built seaside resort. Built from the mid to late 19th century, by James Burton, and later his son Decimus.  As the Burton’s St Leonards Society explains  “St Leonards was founded in 1828 on a deserted stretch of coastline a few miles to the west of Hastings”, it was built on a grand and classical scale, with “the provision of services, public buildings for entertainment and the picturesque siting of villas amongst the groves, wooded slopes and water of the Subscription Gardens”. The layout remains the same, the wooded groves have gone and many of the villas have been divided into flats, but the parks and streets are there to be enjoyed.

Let’s get walking, we can chat as we walk. My allotment is less than a mile away – it has to be near otherwise there would be a temptation not to bother going on days when the weather isn’t cooperating or when I’m short on time

We’ll do the walk as I walk it and start by going uphill, remember on the way back that means downhill. Can you see that everything is slightly wonky, at an angle; worn away by years of life; from pillars, to entrances, retaining walls and chimneys – all askew.  As I walk along I wonder if things just won’t topple over one day, topple over with the weight of years of life.

Turning right onto a broad street, lined with trees and walls. Houses behind walls, gardens behind walls, houses with pretty white painted balconies. Grand entrances and green garden gates. Spring flowers and shade giving trees.

Following the road round to the left we see a Mansion block of flats, but in the middle of the road is the oddest element, like a centre piece it sits decorated with shrubs. It’s a chimney belonging to the railway tunnel that runs beneath the road. And looking down the road, a favourite view, of crumbling  sandstone walls, old trees and shade. And who can resist a cute Herbie car?

Carrying on and around the corner, dropping onto “unadopted” road – it sounds so forlorn doesn’t it? The reality is less prosaic, all it mean sis that the local council isn’t responsible for its upkeep. And down the rough track path we go, you’ve seen this view before, over the fence and between the brambles you see the sheds and plots, the mown paths and the fruit trees. And as we reach the gate we look down the track to the local school, and beyond out to sea.

We’ll stop there for today, you’ve seen the plots before, if you are new around here you can have a wander with me –  Pottering, pootling and photographing the allotment or A wander around an English allotment – plenty for the eye to take in.

But that’s not it folks, on the way back we take a different route, via a park and a pub…



  • Thanks for the “ride” …. Even if I lived in Brighton for 6 years I never visit St Leonards on Sea, but I passed it with train every time I worked out of Newhaven. Lovely galleries – truly beautiful! Thanks for the history telling about this lovely place. I know I should have gone there now. That walnut cake was delicious, but I’m a bit upset that you didn’t have coffee with you too. Enjoyable post.

  • Adore the walking tour! What a delightful place to live Claire!

  • Thank you for the tour. I was making notes as we will be visiting the UK for the first time in September. We will not go to Essex, but we will be in London and also staying with an old friend who lives very near Sissinghurst and Great Dixter. We can’t wait.

  • I loved this thank you Claire..such lovely architectural details… when you live in a ‘new ‘country’, you really miss them…

  • That’s a nice walk to take you to the allotment… thanks for taking us along with you! I love looking over garden gates and walls at other people’s gardens! (When do we get our coffee and walnut cake?!) 😉

    • Coffee and cake will be served at the allotment, I trust this suits madam 🙂 Lovely to have you along for peering into gardens Cathy !

  • This has been a wonderful look at your environment, your home town. I am so glad to get a bigger picture of where you live, and each and every picture was a joy to see, including the little car, which reminded me of days gone by. Thank you so much.

    • Thank you Shimon, wasn’t the car a cutie! As you know every town has it’s positives and negatives – it’s problems and pluses. So it’s rather special to focus on the positives. And now I need to start sorting the photos for the return walk ! It’s non stop eh!

  • Oh this was such a lovely walk – I even enjoyed a cup of tea while walking. 😀 You live in a beautiful and quaint place Claire – at least I know more of less where I will be visiting one day.
    Have a beautiful week.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  • Wow how civilised are you! What a beautiful part of the world. Great photos and cakes sounded delicious. Just made a spiced beetroot molasses cake from ingredients from my garden.

    • Thank you !! Mind you I don’t always look civilised in my gardening clothes 🙂
      And your cake sounds perfect for our trip to the allotment. My beetroot is still at the seedling stage, a way to go yet 🙂

  • Enjoyed this walk so much! Thank you. Can’t wait for the fruits of your labor to start filling your kitchen with great smells. HF

  • Oh, how I loved this stroll! Richard and I took a small stroll in a neighborhood in Dallas yesterday–and coincidentally, your offer of a virtual stroll is particularly welcome as I got blisters on both feet, being in heels meant only for the concert we’d arrived early to attend. However, the walk yesterday was very enjoyable and worth the price. All the same, I’d love to wander the roads and lanes you’ve shown here with your usual array of extraordinarily lovely photos! Beauty all around us, eh. xoxo!

    • Oh you poor thing – heels and walking and now blisters! So just put those precious toes up, and as you say take a virtual tour Kathryn,
      And you know me, there is beauty to be found everywhere we go

  • What a nice day for a walk, Claire! That’s lovely community that you call home and how nice it must be to stroll every time you go to the allotment. Sp, let
    s see. You walk uphill to the allotment, work ever so hard weeding & pruning, and then head downhill to … a pub. Hmm … Sounds perfect to me. 🙂

    • Like every community John it has it’s positives and negatives, and sometimes people forget the positives – not me!
      And you know I aim to please… mind you the pub is very well regarded for it’s beer – you know the dark warm British kind…….. But we can always drop by an Italian café-restaurant on the seafront for a proper coffee 🙂

  • Thanks for taking us on your walk Claire, and you chose a beautiful day for it too! Should we be helping out at your allotment while we wait for the walk back?

    • Now you know Sarah that all help is welcome, there are always plenty of jobs to do, but I think you would have much more fun exploring the site and chatting with everyone while we wait for the bus 🙂

  • Next time your going for a walk, give me a ring, would love to join you. It is so peaceful and not many people and check out those beautiful blue skies. I am totally jealous. Take care of yourself. BAM

  • What a beautiful walk! What a nice old town! Thanks for sharing the views along the way, and the nice history lesson as well. What a pleasure!

  • Glad you linked to this post on the return walk post I missed it the first time around. Nice route to the plot but oh lordy, that uphill bit! Difficult for those of us from the flat lands 🙂 Whilst waiting to walk back, as well as enjoying the view towards the sea, I filled the watering cans and watered a few things. Hope you don’t mind…..

      • Ha ha I nearly added a comment that your share of the big pile of horse you know what was still by the entrance as I couldn’t quite bring myself to shift it. I know, I know and I have the nerve to call myself a friend:-)

  • Thanks for the shout out… I seem to be bringing up the rear of this walk but so pleased to be part of it. Great to see so many people too!
    One of my (many) guilty pleasures is having a good old nosey into front gardens and I especially love Morris Minors!

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