Ashurst Circular walk

A walk via Pooh Bridge to the attractive Wealden village of Hartfield, with a longer option over the elevated heathland of Ashdown Forest.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Post # Weather
Sun, 15-May-22 A Pooh Sticks Competition on an Ashurst Circular
Sat, 29-May-21 Ashurst to Buxted (or Ashurst Circular) - Up and over Ashdown Forest 25 sun and sultry cloud
Sat, 09-Jun-18 Saturday Walk Ashurst Circular in A.A. Milne Country 17 cloudy and humid
Sat, 16-Sep-17 Saturday walk - Ashurst Circular 11 sunny dry and still
Sun, 26-Mar-17 A.A Milne country 6 Sunny but occasionally cool
Sun, 17-Apr-16 First Sunday Walk: Ashdown Forest and Pooh Bridge 24 cold sun
Sun, 24-Aug-14 Ashurst Circular (long walk) 7
Sun, 24-Aug-14 Ashurst to Hartfield (long walk)
Sat, 29-Jun-13 Ashurst Circular (long walk) 11
Sun, 03-Feb-13 Ashurst Circular (short walk) 5
Mon, 27-Aug-12 Ashurst Circular
Sat, 20-Aug-11 Ashurst Circular
Sat, 12-Mar-11 Ashurst Circular
Sun, 31-Oct-10 Ashurst Circular (short walk)
Sat, 12-Jun-10 Ashurst to Hartfield (long walk)
Sat, 11-Jul-09 Ashurst Circular
Sat, 14-Jun-08 Ashurst Circular
Sun, 24-Feb-08 Ashurst Circular
Wed, 19-Sep-07 Ashurst Circular
Sun, 15-May-22
A Pooh Sticks Competition on an Ashurst Circular

SWC 29: Pooh Sticks Competition on an Ashurst Circular t=swc.29

Distance: Short, Medium and Long on offer:

Short: 9.2 miles/15 km

Medium: 12 miles/ 19 km

Long: 15.1 miles/ 24 km

Difficulty: 3, 5 or 7 out of 10 – depending on distance

Train: Take the 9:51 AM East Grinstead train from London Victoria and change at Hurst Green (arrive 10:36; depart 10:41), arriving at Ashurst at 10:59. Return trains from Ashurst are at 58 minutes past the hour. Buy a day return to Ashurst.

This is a lovely walk with options for all. It begins along the Medway Valley and visits the charming village of Withyham for an early lunch. After lunch, there is a choice of three routes to the next village. On the medium and long routes you pass across Pooh Bridge where you can have riveting Pooh stick races and on the long walk you venture out for a lovely circuit around the Ashdown Forest with fine views to the South Downs. You can find more information about the walk and the instructions here.

The lunch spot is The Dorest Arms in Withyham (01892 770 424) about 4 miles/6 km into the walk. Tea options include: Piglet’s Tea Room or the Anchor Inn, both in Hartfield. Please note that there are no amenities at Ashurst Station – so you will need to time your departure from Hartfield carefully – it is 4 miles/6 km to the station…..

Enjoy the walk!

  • 15-May-22

    Train is showing as cancelled for the leg between Hurst Green and Ashurst.

Sat, 29-May-21
Ashurst to Buxted (or Ashurst Circular) - Up and over Ashdown Forest
Ashurst to Buxted: 22.1km (13.7 miles) T=3.29
Ashurst Circular: 15km (9.3 miles), 19.5 km (12.1 miles) or 24.3km (15 miles)

9.33 train from East Croydon to Ashurst, arriving 10.08
The above train starts at East Croydon today due to engineering works, but there are connecting trains as follows:

- 8.50 St Pancras Thameslink - 9.05 London Bridge - 9.18 East Croydon
- 9.07 London Bridge - 9.23 East Croydon
- 9.00 St Pancras Thameslink - 9.15 London Bridge - 9.28 East Croydon.
Buy a day return to Buxted, or to Ashurst (Kent) if planning to do an Ashurst Circular option
For Ashurst Circular directions click here, for GPX click here, for a map of the route click here.

For Buxted Circular directions click here, for GPX click here, for a map of the route click here.

**** It would be very useful if you could pre-register for this walk for contact tracking purposes at www.lwug.co.uk: if not, please bring a piece of paper with your email written on it, which will be kept in an envelope and only used if a case of Covid arises on the walk. To let us know if a contract tracing requirement arises as a result of this walk, use covid@lwug.co.uk ****
This idea (ie Ashurst to Buxted) was suggested to me a while back by one of our Tunbridge Wells-based walkers. It is based on the fact that the most southerly point of the Ashurst Circular Walk is only 1.5 miles from the lunch pub on the Buxted Circular. By joining the two together you have a gentle climb up, a walk across the heartlands of Ashdown Forest, and then a descent into pleasant countryside that we normally only visit in muddy autumn or winter, due to the shortness of the Buxted Circular walk. Note that the connecting section is map-led, but the path is fairly obvious, a broad track across open heath.
You can of course ignore all this and just do the Ashurst Circular walk, which comes in three flavours - short, not so short, and long. All three options have extensive Winnie the Pooh associations, which you can read about in the walk document.
On the Ashurst to Buxted walk, your lunch options are the (usually rather popular) Dorset Arms in Withyham after a paltry 3.6 miles, or holding on till the lunch pub on the Buxted walk, the capacious the Crow and Gate in Poundgate, which is 8.9 miles into the walk. This offers food all afternoon, so a late arrival may help you to get a table. If you wanted to book, I would assume arrival at about 2.30pm. Otherwise, the heathland of Ashdown Forest will offer plenty of places to eat sandwiches.
After lunch, it is just 4.8 miles, a lot of it downhill, to Buxted. For tea, there are two pubs in Buxted, both near the station, and both of which look to be open all afternoon.
On the Ashurst Circular, the only refreshment options after the Dorset Arms (see above) are in Hartfield, only about 5.5 miles into the short walk, 8.3 miles into the main walk. Here you will find the Anchor Inn, and the Pooh Corner tea rooms (ex Piglet's Tea Room, Kanga's Tea Room: if they fancy another rebrand I would suggest Eeyore's Eerie or Tigger's Lair ...) the latter open till 5pm.
Note that it is 3.8 miles from Hartfield to Ashurst station and there is diddly-squat to do in its vicinity if you miss the hourly train: allowing 1 hour 45 minutes at least for this section might be wise.
Trains back are at 48 past from Buxted, 07 past from Ashurst: note that the train in the other, southbound direction leaves Ashurst at much the same time: make sure you get on the right one.
  • Marc RICKETS
    28-May-21

    I fancy doing the Walk Tomorrow. And looking forward to going to Pooh Corner. Winnie the Pooh. And if you have seen Great British Railway Journeys by Michael Portillo. He was talking about it on the program.

  • 29-May-21

    Two of the three connecting trains to East Croydon were cancelled due to overhead line damage on Thameslink (one of the more hapless of London railways), and trains at East Croydon were still in chaos from this at 8pm. But the Ashurst train left on time, and 25 assembled for the start of the walk, several having come by car. Judging by a straw poll, two thirds intended to do the Ashurst Circular and only a third the walk to Buxted. But it may have been more like 50/50 in the end.

    The countryside looked gorgeous and there were demoiselles and butterflies flitting around, but everyone took off like a rocket slid on rails and propelled by greased lightning, so even attempting a cursory glance at such things soon cost me the company of my fellow walkers. I was resigned to doing a 14 mile walk with only nature for solace. But four walkers later waited for me (thanks) before streaking off again, and I learned after a while that two had stopped in the Dorset Arms for a drink and were behind me.

    Then, entering the 500 Acre Wood I got enmeshed with a party of female walkers, and to escape them I dived up a lonely forest track. I had a nice walk in what I assumed were open access woods, until various Private Keep Out notices persuaded me otherwise. I got to a road and walked up that and emerged onto the heathlands of Ashdown Forest to find myself back in the middle of the group again. So it seems I did a bit of a short cut.

    I had hoped for a pub lunch at Poundgate, but everyone on the Buxted walk had been adamant that they had brought sandwiches, so I ate my wrap on the heath, hooked up with the two Dorset Arms drinkers, and we walked on to the pub (passing a near full out area of bluebells by the way). At the pub eight SWCers were lunching in the garden (so much for everyone having sandwiches), including one who had walked from Buxted. My party also stopped to lunch. The pub was not over-busy to my surprise, and service was efficient enough.

    Ashdown Forest is interesting, but maybe not always beautiful. I was personally relieved to descend back into the pretty greenery, the tall meadows dotted with buttercups, the hills and woods. The weather had been sun and sultry cloud , but the cloud now started to melt away. All the world looked lovely. But my legs felt mysteriously feeble. This section was only supposed to be 4.5 miles but felt much longer.

    Towards Buxted one is given a choice of routes, but not told why. What are the benefits or otherwise of the two options? Since the alternative was a bit longer than the standard route, I guessed it might be prettier and did that.

    Arriving in Buxted at 17.40 I expected everyone would have gone home. But three remained on the patio of the Buxted Inn and we had a pleasantly hour’s chat. Three then got the 18.48, while one went to do an extra loop and enjoy the glorious evening sunlight. I would have liked to join him but had to be home not too late in order to prepare for a trip tomorrow. So, regretfully, home.

Sat, 09-Jun-18
Saturday Walk Ashurst Circular in A.A. Milne Country
A Pooh Sticks Competition on an Ashurst Circular T=SWC.29

Distance: Short, Medium and Long on offer:

Short: 9.2 miles/15 km
Medium: 12 miles/ 19 km
Long: 15.1 miles/ 24 km

Difficulty: 3, 5 or 7 out of 10 – depending on distance

Train: Take the 10:07 AM Uckfield train from London Bridge, arriving at Ashurst at 10:57. Return trains from Ashurst are at 56 minutes past the hour until 22:56. Buy a day return to Ashurst.

This is a lovely walk with options for all. It begins along the Medway Valley and visits the charming village of Withyham for an early lunch. After lunch, there is a choice of three routes to the next village. On the medium and long routes you pass across Pooh Bridge where you can have riveting Pooh stick races and on the long walk you venture out for a lovely circuit around the Ashdown Forest with fine views to the South Downs. You can find more information about the walk and the instructions here.

The lunch spot is The Dorest Arms in Withyham (01892 770 424) about 4 miles/6 km into the walk. Tea options include: Piglet’s Tea Room or the Anchor Inn, both in Hartfield. Please note that there are no amenities at Ashurst Station – so you will need to time your departure from Hartfield carefully – it is 4 miles/6 km to the station…..

Enjoy the walk!
  • Anonymous
    08-Jun-18

    The pub can get busy so worth booking and/or staggering lunch times.. Rich

  • 09-Jun-18

    17 on this walk. The weather was cloudy and humid for the most part, relatively brief flashes of sun in the afternoon only adding to the stickiness. A pleasant walk through pleasant territory, but spring is definitely over, with the meadow grasses seeding and overtopping the remaining buttercups and the glorious displays of verge flowers gone. Some good clusters of foxgloves in places, though, and once - incredibly - I heard a cuckoo.

    We had a table for 8 booked at the Dorset Arms, a wise precaution by our walk poster, but squeezed a couple more in. It was a very red meat-laden menu and yet the steak in one dish was so tough as to be almost inedible. The vegetarian risotto also lacked excitement. So perhaps another example of a pub trying to be too gastro for its own good.

    After lunch 3 of us, plus another two presumed, did the long walk - a tough slog up to Ashdown Forest in the sticky heat but nice views and an ice cream when we got there. Disappointingly no sight of the heffalumps for which the area is supposedly famous. Several of the main walkers got a bus from Hartfield to East Grinstead. Presumably some completed the walk to Ashurst, as did we three long walkers - a dogged yomp against the clock through waist high grass, but we made the train with several minutes to spare.

  • Anonymous
    10-Jun-18

    The Dorset Arms has a raised garden at the rear. You can access it via the steps to the right of the pub's main entrance. It had plenty of free tables on Saturday and staff were bringing ordered food up for people who were seated there.

  • 10-Jun-18

    Some added info: Four of the 12 milers enjoyed superb "piglet" fruit scones with jam, cream and proper tea cups -totally yummy and just 4 pounds! We allowed 85mins for the last beautiful stretch of the walk and alerted 3 pub-goers (inc two 15 milers) of our intention to catch the 17.56 train. At a purposeful pace three of us made it with a few mins to spare and were followed onto the platform by the two 15 milers who must have done the stretch in a little over 70mins- damn fine effort this.

    As Walker has pointed out it was noticeably more humid than of late. I always find it a tad melancholy as we leave the vibrancy, freshness and sheer exuberance of Spring and head off into the comparative quiet and mugginess of deep summer. A wonderful day out and my pooh sticks skills remain undimmed, which is more than can be said of my legs!

Sat, 16-Sep-17
Saturday walk - Ashurst Circular
Ashurst Circular - main walk
T=3.29
Length: 12 miles (19km). 5 out of 10. There are options for a longer or shorter walk

This walk starts along the Medway valley and soon comes to the small village of Withyham for an early lunch at the Dorset Arms. After passing Withyham church (which is well worth visiting) there is a choice of three routes to the neighbouring village of Hartfield, associated with the author AA Milne and his most famous creation: coachloads of tourists regularly descend on Pooh Corner to buy all manner of Winnie-the-Pooh memorabilia.

Trains
Get the 0953 East Grinstead train from Victoria, changing at East Croydon 1010. At East Croydon get the 1023 Uckfield train arriving Ashurst 1058.

Lunch
The suggested lunch stop is the Dorset Arms (01892-770278) in Withyham, 5¾ km into the walk. In 2014 this attractive old pub was bought by the Buckhurst Estate and fully refurbished; it has some outdoor seating on a small green and serves excellent home-cooked food until 2.30pm

Tea
Nothing at Ashurst station, so a tea shop (4.40pm) or the Anchor pub in Hartfield (3.7m or 6km from the end)


  • Anonymous
    16-Sep-17

    11 sunny dry and still . Nice to do this walk now when it was dry underfoot. I thought it was a beautiful walk through gentle and peaceful countryside. Most of us had a very nice lunch in the Dorset Arms followed by equally good tea and cake later at Piglets Tea Room in Hartfield. At least one walker did the long version up to the heathlands of Ashdown Forest.

Sun, 26-Mar-17
A.A Milne country
Free walk, 29b Ashurst circular (short walk)
Distance 14.3km (8.9m); Toughness 4/10
Trains: London Victoria 09.53 to East Croydon 10.09 then
East Croydon 10.15 to Ashurst (Kent) 10.57
Return trains at xx:56 to Hurst Green xx:15 then Hurst Green at
xx 26 to London Victoria

This attractive walk takes you through A.A Milne country on the borders of East Sussex and Kent. The lunch-time pub is the Dorset Arms in Withyham. There are no refreshment stops near Ashurst station so you will need to stop for tea in Hartfield where The Pantry is worth a visit. Download instructions can be found here . Click on b Short circular walk to get the walk directions.
  • David Colver
    27-Mar-17

    Free walk 29b Ashurst circular, Sun 27 Mar 2017

    This walk comes in short, medium and long variants. It was the short one that was specified in the walk posting but the medium one that everyone chose to do today. Sunny but occasionally cool , with very little mud.

    The 6 broke into three pairs:

    - one pair taking lunch at the Dorset Arms in Withyham, newly refurbished under new ownership and now distinctly upmarket: nearly £18 for a main course, beer and service charge, a price justified by the quality

    - another taking sandwiches but succeeding in getting a table later on in the Piglet Tea Room at Pooh Corner in Hartfield, a feat not achieved by the first pair

    - another taking sandwiches but deterred from attempting the tea shop by the evident busyness.

    Pooh sticking is such a fixture at the bridge that there was a literal logjam of detritus below it obstructing orderly passage of a quite a proportion of the sticks.

    The second pair could be seen some way ahead of the first pair, taking a turn away from the station at the final approach to the Medway and were never seen again. The instructions here have "Bear left and go alongside the meandering river for 800m, initially heading N.", but might be yet clearer if they added that the river should be to the walkers' right.

Sun, 17-Apr-16
First Sunday Walk: Ashdown Forest and Pooh Bridge
Extra Walk 29 Ashurst Circular
Length: 19.2km (12 miles) Toughness: 5/10

10:06 Brighton train from Victoria (Clapham Junction 10:14), changing at East Croydon (arr 10:24; dep 10:38) arriving at Ashurst at 11:18.

Or 10:04 Tonbridge train from London Bridge, changing at East Croydon (arr 10:22; dep 10:38) arriving at Ashurst at 11:18.

Return trains from Ashurst are at xx:56, changing at Hurst Green for Victoria (journey time 45 minutes), and at Hurst Green & East Croydon for London Bridge.

Starting along the Medway valley, the route later traverses part of Ashdown Forest and crosses the famous Pooh Bridge, where you can play a traditional game of Poohsticks (collect your sticks well in advance, since the ground near the bridge is already denuded of all twigs). A longer option (15.1 miles) goes over the elevated heathland of Ashdown Forest, and a shorter option (8.9 miles) heads directly to Hartfield omitting most of the forest, including Pooh Bridge.

The suggested lunch stop is The Dorset Arms (01892-770278) in Withyham, 5.7 km into the walk. Tea is best taken in one of the Pooh-themed cafes in Hartfield.

You will find the walk directions on the Walk 29 page.
  • Anonymous
    15-Apr-16

    Two taking later train: 10.57 from Victoria, changing at Oxted, and arr Ashurst 12.18, doing 8 mile version, and lunching at the Dorset Arms. Paths should cross!

  • Staceyelizabethcross@gmail.com
    17-Apr-16

    Hi - I made a mistake and am currently at East Croyden - can I please

    join you?

  • Anonymous
    18-Apr-16

    4

    cold sun

    m=mud some

    l=lunch yes

    Four walkers + dog on later departure. Good lunch at The Dorset Arms, as always. Lovely walk. Blessed by sun and birdsong. A great day out.

  • 18-Apr-16

    20 on the main circular walk with some of those opting for the shorter version. Sadly for the "long walkers" Pooh Bridge was closed for repairs until the middle of May but this did not stop the intrepid group from crawling under the barriers and by using the hand rail carefully made their way over the bridge to scramble on to the onward path.

    I on the other hand was made of less sterner stuff and, foolishly disregarding the map on a fence showing an alternative route, I set off to find another way across fields following what I thought was an "old roman road". This turned out to be a disaster and I eventually gave up and retreated to walking along a main road until I found a route bypassing Hartfield across fields. (This main road trek did however ultimately prove to me that there are wild boar in Ashdown Forest as I came across a small, hairy "roadkill" piglet.)

    After bypassing Hartfield I gave up on my futile ambition to catch the 16.56 train and took the cycle way route to avoid climbing up the narrow muddy path we had navigated down in the morning. This was the best part of the day as I ambled back to the station in the lovely Spring light. These High Weald walks are lovely; if only the soils drained better. At the current rate the paths will not be dry and firm until June!

    I met up with the other walkers for the 17.56 train and we enjoyed a raucous and laughter-filled journey back to London.

  • 18-Apr-16

    Seven walkers from the main group opted for the shortest possible afternoon, in my case due to the need to digest a size XXX roast chicken taken on board at the Dorset Arms. As usual the pub was fully booked but very creditably served lunch in the garden to those who wanted it; the portions on some of their regular main courses were disappointingly small, however.

    After a leisurely exploration of Withyham church a short stroll to Hartfield took us to Pooh Corner where some of us inexplicably found room for lashings of clotted cream with our scones. A slightly hurried departure at 3.30pm and a brisk final section got us to Ashurst station just in time for the 16:56. Well, we thought it was brisk but a mention in despatches must go to one of the main group who skipped tea and did this final 5¾ km in just 70 minutes, joining us on the train with seconds to spare.

  • Anonymous
    18-Apr-16

    Mud mud mud. But glorious.and a naughty crossing at pooh bridge. Tigger!!!

  • Anonymous
    02-Jan-18

    Historical duplicate/misleading attendance numbers cleanup project: 24