CIMG5632

Hillside path near Burrs Wood

31-Oct-14 • Sean O'Neill

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CIMG5612

Through Burrs Wood

31-Oct-14 • Sean O'Neill

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CIMG1827

Wealden house on Bullingstone Lane

09-Dec-15 • Sean O'Neill

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The new start

Ashurst to Eridge walk

03-Apr-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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CIMG5229

Hillside path near Burrs Wood

27-Oct-14 • Sean O'Neill

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CIMG5230

Burrs Wood

27-Oct-14 • Sean O'Neill

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CIMG5253

View from the Wealdway near Stone Cross

27-Oct-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Ashurst to Eridge walk

Gently undulating High Weald walk in the low hills and valleys around Tunbridge Wells

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
Sat, 31-Mar-18 18

Saturday walk - Ashurst to Eridge - the Weald, tea in a hospital and Wooden Ms

Length: 21km (13 miles) - though shorter routes available
Toughness: 5 out of 10

10.23 train from East Croydon to Ashurst, arriving 10.58.

Suggested connecting train: 9.53 (East Grinstead) service from Victoria (9.59 Clapham Junction), arriving East Croydon 10.10.

Also possible, though with a tight connection, is the 9.42 from St Pancras Thameslink (9.46 Farringdon, 9.52 Blackfriars), arriving East Croydon at 10.18.

Buy a day return to Eridge.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

The magic of evaporation is now at work and I am taking a punt that the Wealden winter mud will now have dried out to allow us to do this fine walk in comfort. It boasts plenty of nice hills and pastures and views, probably some lambs and doubtless multiple signs of spring.

Lunch is at a pub in Spedhurst that accommodated us perfectly well on a previous outing (though it was sunny and we sat in the garden). Tea is bizarrely in the cafe of a country hospital - at least if you can get there by 4.30pm. Otherwise, there are pubs in Groombridge or by Eridge station. There is a shorter ending (15.8km/9.8 miles) to Ashurst station but this has no tea, or you can cut out the hospital tea and go straight to Groombridge (18km/11.3 miles)

Towards the end of this walk there are also good displays of wood anemones - both above Harrison Rocks (note, take the path along the top of the rocks for the best displays) and in the lane leading down to Eridge station. They may not yet be at their best, but there should be more than were evident on the Cuxton walk last week. Only on reasonably warm days do the flowers open up and give the best effect, however. (Will we ever have a warm sunny day in this country?)

Lonely Eridge station and its lovely adjacent pub are a great place to finish the walk. Trains back are at 50 past the hour, serving Ashurst five minutes later. T=3.236
18 on this walk. There were flashes of brightness as we got off the train and the six of us who persisted to Eridge enjoyed full sunshine for the last half hour. But stow your jealousy because otherwise the sky was that familiar grey we have grown to know and love in this winter without end. At least it did not rain, except for briefly during tea, sending those rash fools who had sat outside in the mistaken belief that it was spring scuttling back inside.

The Good Friday deluge had alas turned the top layer of soil to slithery mud. Otherwise I do believe the walk might have been reasonably dry. The lunch pub spurned us, then relented, so ten ate there. About half had the vegetarian strudel.

There were masses and masses of bluebell woods on this walk not out yet, of course. This made the walk poster feel guilty that he had not picked this walk for three week’s time. There were lots of wood anemones towards the end but all closed up in the cold. I twice heard a chiffchaff, our first migrant bird visitor, an unimpeachable harbinger of spring.

One walker was bitten by a dog. I was not there to see it but blood was drawn. Its owner explained that the animal was a rescue dog that did that sometimes. It was not on a lead. We hope its victim managed to get a tetanus shot. Shots of another kind came to my mind when contemplating its owner.

Lots of us got to the hospital for tea (some of us after forking too early and ending up at a pub called the Red Lion, not in the walk notes: we had to backtrack). Some headed for Ashurst after tea, some without having tea. Six of us went to Eridge, just before which is a charming stone basin with a stream gushing out of it in which we washed out boots. Could a network of these be set up near rural stations?
Mon, 28-Aug-17 14

Wealden lanes and wooded valleys and tea in the grounds of Burrswood NHS Hospital

Walk 236b – Ashurst Circular
Length: Around 16 km (9.9 miles). Toughness: 4/10

10:09 Ashurst train from London Bridge (10:23 East Croydon), arriving Ashurst at 10:58.
Buy a return to Ashurst.


Trains back are at 55 past the hour.

Click on Option B Circular Walk, returning to Ashurst to print only the directions for this walk. If you want a longer walk, you could follow the main walk directions to Eridge 21 km (13.0 miles).

From a remote station this walk climbs up the low hills between the River Medway and Tunbridge Wells, soon with some attractive views across a steep-sided open hillside reminiscent of wilder parts of Britain. A gently undulating route along field edges, country lanes and wooded valleys takes you to the village of Speldhurst where the parish church of St Mary the Virgin contains a set of notable pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows.
As it's Bank Holiday Monday, pubs are likely to be busy so please give them a courtesy call from the station. The suggested lunch stop, therefore, is the highly-rated 16thC inn at Speldhurst, George & Dragon (01892-863125). An earlier lunch might be possible at the Chafford Arms (01892-731731) in Fordcombe, but it's fairly small and unsuitable for large groups.
After lunch, the walk loops back towards the Burrswood estate, situated in a wooded valley. Its 19thC manor house is now a small NHS hospital, with walkers being encouraged to use the permissive paths through its grounds. Don't miss the Burrswood Tea room (01892-865991), set in the NHS Hospital. It's open daily to 4.30pm (5.30pm summer Sundays) as there is nothing near Ashurst station.

T=3.236.b
14 including Mr. Squash! calm still hot day. A perfect walk for today's weather conditions and this time of year and all dry underfoot. A nice balance of open stretches and woodland and some wonderful views, especially on the morning section. It always seemed that just when we were getting hot that there was a stretch of very nice woodland to cool us down. At Spedhurst,we sat in the pub garden for lunch. It wasn't too busy and food arrived quickly. Later we had tea in the grounds of Burrswood, overlooking the beautiful view. Most took the train back from Ashurst, with two going on to do the long walk to Eridge.

Wed, 28-Dec-16 10

Wednesday Walk - The High Weald (before it gets too muddy)

This walk, originally planned for Dec 14, has been swapped with the original Dec 28 posting due to strike action. It will be postponed further if the strike action continues.

SWC Walk 236a – Ashurst to Eridge (w/o Burrswood)
Length: 18.3 km (11.3 mi)
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ¼ hours
Toughness: 4 out of 10
or
Ashurst to Eridge (Full Walk)
Length: 21.0 km (13.0 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 290 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness: 5 out of 10
Take the 10.08 Uckfield train from London Bridge (EC 10.23), arrives Ashurst 10.58.
Return trains: 15.50, 16.50, 17.20, 17.48, 18.20, 18.49… (from 65 minutes journey time).
Buy an Eridge return ticket.
The High Weald can be very muddy in winter, let’s hope for a dry-ish period preceding this outing…
Decision time for whether or not to walk the full walk (head torch recommended if you do) is mid-afternoon.

From a remote station this walk climbs up the low hills between the River Medway and Tunbridge Wells, soon with some attractive views across a steep-sided open hillside reminiscent of wilder parts of Britain. A gently undulating route along field edges, country lanes and wooded valleys takes you to the village of Speldhurst, where the parish church of St Mary the Virgin contains a set of notable pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows.
After a lunch stop in the village's 16thC inn the walk loops back towards the Burrswood estate, situated in a wooded valley passed near the beginning of the walk. Its 19thC manor house (omitted on the shorter walk) is now a small NHS hospital, with walkers being encouraged to use the permissive paths through its grounds (and visit its tearoom). Its long driveway leads to the hamlet of Old Groombridge and the remainder of the walk is the same as the shorter ending to Extra Walk 120 (Eridge Circular). This goes past Groombridge Place, a beautiful Jacobean manor house surrounded by a medieval moat, then follows the course of the heritage Spa Valley Railway's extension from Groombridge to Eridge. Along the way you can often see climbers practising their skills on an impressive outcrop of Ardingly sandstone, Harrison's Rocks.

An early lunch is possible at the Chafford Arms in Fordcombe, but the recommended stop is the highly-rated George & Dragon in Speldhurst (7.2 km/4.5 mi, food to 14.30).
For tea in Eridge, The Huntsman right by the station seems to be the only choice and it is open all afternoon these days.
For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.
Next Week: Book 1 Walk 5 (in reverse) Amersham to Great Missenden, 16.8 km, 4/10
T=swc.236.a
Cold without a breeze and very sunny weather, with frosted grassy fields, firm ish ground, some mist still rising from the valleys in the early stages, and with the sun breaking through the clouds, and later dominating a blue sky all afternoon, and with the few fluffy clouds reddened by the setting sun just as we walked past Harrison's Rocks; what more can one ask for on a winter's day? (ok, so there was no snow...)
The pre booked table at the George & Dragon turned out to be on their upper floor, quite possibly the best lunch room ever in any SWC lunch pub. And the food was pretty good as well (just ask the SWC Lunch Monitor when you next meet her)...
Admittedly the p.m. route falls off a bit, with less good views, a few annoying road bits and some indifferent fenced paths plus softer ground due to the continuous sunshine and the 'pain' of walking into the blazing sunshine, but all in all: eerie, atmospheric, fascinating, with great views, some lovely woods and oast houses, and Harrison's Rocks.
10 walkers (incl. one US of A tourist over for a Xmas break) had a great time.
The sandwichers had missed the 15.50, so were still at The Huntsman when the rest of the troupe arrived, and then we all (bar 2) decided to let the 16.50 go and settle for the 17.20. Only that the 17.20 didn't exist (several people confirmed though that it had been listed on the website as late as this morning). So we went back to the pub and then took the 17.48 train for 7 (1 had driven down from Tonbridge).
Recommended.
Sat, 02-Apr-16 28

Saturday Second Walk - A new (-ish) walk in the Weald

SWC Walk 236 - Ashurst to Eridge
Length: 21.3km (13.2 miles) - with shorter options of 18.3km (11.3 miles) or 16.3km (10.1 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

10.08 train from London Bridge (10.23 East Croydon) to Ashurst, arriving 10.58.

Buy a day return to Eridge, unless you definitely want to do the 16.3km (10.1 mile) Circular walk, returning to Ashurst, in which case a return to Ashurst will be sufficient.

For walk directions, click here. If I have got this right (and the walk author should feel free to correct this if necessary) you can save paper by clicking on "(Main)" below the map. This eliminates directions not relevant to today, while keeping the directions for all the options.

This is a new walk and yet not new. Walkers may remember the "Cowden to Eridge via Fordcombe" walk at this time last year which had beautiful scenery and weather, but alas a stubborn pub that refused to serve us. The walk has now been comprehensively re-routed - parts of the former afternoon even seem to have been reversed to create a morning route - to take us to other lunch options (at least two if I read the document correctly), the second serving food all afternoon.

The tea places remain the same - the surprisingly nice hospital cafe at Burrswood - or pubs in Groombridge or Eridge.

Shorter options omit Burrswood, reducing the walk to 18.3km (11.3 miles), or circle back to Ashurst which is 16.3km (10.1 miles). If you do the latter, note that there are no refreshments around Ashurst station and nothing to do there if you miss the train so time that one carefully.

If you do the main walk ending to Eridge, some wood anemones (photo) can be found towards the end of the route, particularly on the last lane and above Harrison Rocks (they only open out when the weather is warm, though). There may well be some earlier in the walk too, and who knows, perhaps some early bluebells?

Trains back are at 50 past the hour from Eridge and 55 past from Ashurst, until 22.50

28 including at least three late or alternative starters. warm and sunny till mid pm then cloud with rain after 5pm This new version of the walk worked well, with a particularly beautiful start climbing onto a ridge with fine views. Some substantial mud in places but largely OK. The new lunch pub was charming and coped well with such a large influx: it was idyllic sitting out on their terrace. However they were mysteriously slow to produce fish and chips and forgot altogether about two such orders.

The cloud covered the sky by mid afternoon, a bit of a shock after such lovely weather earlier. I lost track of most of the group in the afternoon but most seemed to be at The Burstwood hospital tea room: we were all inside, though, rather than enjoying the terrace. Some talked of short cuts to avoid the imminent rain. At least five of us pushed on to Eridge. Good wood anemones on this section but they had unfortunately all closed up now against the increasing rain.

After a drink in Eridge we went for the 18.50 train but it disappeared from the departure board at the last minute. The problem turned out to be a signal failure in Ashurst. After lingering in hope of the 19.50 being run, as was originally indicated it might be, we ordered a taxi to Tunbridge Wells where "our tickets were accepted on alternative services" as the jargon goes.
At the risk of sounding smug, the 10 or so who got the 17:50 from Eridge had no problems
At risk of sounding even smugger, the 2 of us who caught the 16.50 also had no problems (1 of whom who managed this thanks to doing the shortcut to Groombridge).
Sat, 11-Apr-15 37 Cowden to Eridge, via Fordcombe
Sat, 03-Jan-15 9 Cowden to Eridge, via Fordcombe