Guided Walk - Monk’s House to Charleston

Virginia Woolf used to live six miles from her sister Vanessa Bell; she regularly hiked the six miles between Monk’s House in Rodmell and Charleston Farmhouse near Firle. Much of the walk must be pretty similar to how it was in those days in the 1920’s and 30’s, though the stretch of the C7 which now connects Rodmell and Southease would not have been half as harrowing a pedestrian experience as it is now. Once you get to Southease, however, the walk’s a delight: the first turning into the village takes you past the hamlet’s round-towered church, and down a farm track to the bridge over the Ouse. There are two further bridges that take you on to Itford Hill, the stone affair over the railway and a new wooden structure (yet to be opened as we go live) over the main road. From there it’s a hike up to Firle Beacon and a pleasant drop down to the Farmhouse, which was once the summer headquarters of the Bloomsbury set.

The organisation that now runs Charleston Farmhouse, is offering a guided tour of the walk today. It is likely that the guide will be answering questions on Woolf’s suicide. On March 28th, 1941, suffering from a bout of depression, the writer loaded her pockets with stones and drowned herself in the Ouse, probably near Southease Bridge. She had left suicide notes to her husband and sister, reading ‘I cannot go on in these terrible times’. Her body was not found for three weeks. Her legacy lives on. AL

Firle Beacon courtesy of sci-art specialist Robert Whittle
Monk’s House, Rodmell
When? 10.30am-3pm
How Much? £15 including salad lunch
Charleston House
(t) 01323 811626
(w) Website