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Heather on Ashdown Forest

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View of Hartfield

09-Oct-15 • Sean O'Neill

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Marsh Green Lane

11-Oct-15 • Sean O'Neill

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Ashdown Forest

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River Medway

12-Jun-10 • Sean O'Neill

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Cottage, Ashurst

12-Jun-10 • Sean O'Neill

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Ashurst to Forest Row and East Grinstead Walk

A long walk through Pooh country with far-reaching views from the top of Ashdown Forest

Ashurst to Forest Row (or East Grinstead)
Length

Main Walk, finishing in Forest Row: 17¾ km (11.0 miles). Four hours 30 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, buses, sights and meals, allow at least 9 hours.

Extended Walk, to East Grinstead: 23¼ km (14.4 miles). Five hours 50 minutes walking time.

OS Map

Explorer 135. Ashurst, map reference TQ507388, is on the East Sussex/Kent border, between East Grinstead and Tunbridge Wells. East Grinstead is in West Sussex.

Toughness

5 out of 10 (7 for the Extended Walk).

Features

This walk has the same start as Extra Walk 29 (Ashurst Circular) and the extension has the same finish as Extra Walk 109x (Eridge to East Grinstead). Its new middle section takes in a secluded valley and a contrasting stretch on a high part of Ashdown Forest.

After an initial section along the Medway valley the walk skirts the attractive Wealden village of Hartfield (which you can detour through if you wish) and makes for a country pub in the nearby hamlet of Gallipot Street. After lunch the walk goes over a low ridge and continues alongside the stream immortalised in AA Milne's famous books – though not crossing it at Pooh Bridge itself – before climbing onto an open ridge leading to the Ashdown Forest Centre. A contrasting descent through the wooded Broadstone Warren and a section across a golf course brings you to Forest Row and a choice of places for tea.

The final section of the extended walk is up the long gentle incline of the Forest Way, a popular cycle route along the trackbed of a disused railway line. The hilltop town of East Grinstead has many old buildings dating back to the 14thC, including Sackville College (a Jacobean almshouse) and the imposing St Swithun's Church.

As with any walk in the High Weald, you will need to be prepared for muddy or waterlogged paths at almost any time of the year.

Additional Notes

An earlier (and tougher) version of this walk included Pooh Bridge and several other places in Ashdown Forest familiar from the books, but suffered from two flaws: a long overlap with Extra Walk 29 and an unsatisfactory lunch pub. This revised version has its own defect, however: an unavoidable 800m alongside a busy road to reach the new lunch pub.

Walk Options

You can avoid the need to take a bus from Forest Row (details below) by extending the walk to East Grinstead.

You can do a shorter walk by starting from Hartfield (or indeed anywhere along the B2110 from Upper Hartfield), in which case you should travel to East Grinstead and then take Metrobus 291 to your chosen starting point.

There is no official bus stop in Gallipot Street but the 291 will stop outside the lunch pub on request – especially since the enterprising landlord put up a fake bus stop!

For a shorter and easier walk after Hartfield you could switch to the more northerly route along the High Weald Landscape Trail in Extra Walk 109.

You will need to print those directions from the other walk document.

Transport

There is an hourly service between London Bridge and Ashurst (Kent), taking 50 minutes (longer on Sundays, when you have to change at East Croydon and/or Oxted).

There is no station in Forest Row, so if you finish the walk there you will need to take Metrobus 270 or 291 up the hill to East Grinstead; these alternate to provide a half-hourly service to around 7pm Mon–Sat, plus a few later ones in the evening. On Sundays the 291 runs every two hours up to 5.30pm.

There is also an infrequent service (Seaford & District 261, Mon–Fri only) from the Ashdown Forest Centre to East Grinstead via Coleman's Hatch and Forest Row, with the last bus at 2.30pm.

Trains back from East Grinstead are half-hourly and mostly go to Victoria. It is on a different line from Ashurst, but both are operated by Southern. The suggested ticket is a return to East Grinstead, which is slightly more expensive and likely to be accepted on the outward journey (there are no ticket barriers at Ashurst station).

If driving, there is no direct public transport between the two stations but you could park in Oxted, where the two lines merge. The station car park is free after 10am, but you are unlikely to find a space during the week.

Suggested Train

Take the train nearest to 10:00 from London Bridge to Ashurst (Kent) for the Main or Extended Walk. If you are doing a Shortened Walk, check the Metrobus 291 timetable and take an appropriate train from Victoria to East Grinstead.

Train Times

Lunch

The suggested lunch pub (after 8 km) is the Gallipot Inn (01892-770008) on the B2110 at Gallipot Street, which serves excellent home-cooked food up to 2.30pm (4pm Sun). This attractive old pub is fairly small inside but has a large back garden with fine views across the Weald.

If you detour into (or through) Hartfield you could stop a little earlier at the large Anchor Inn (01892-770424). Alternatively, another detour later in the walk would take you to the Hatch Inn (01342-822363) at Coleman's Hatch; this was the walk's original pub stop but it is a restaurant in all but name and has been known to turn walkers away even when not particularly busy. If you are doing a Shortened Walk you might prefer to carry on to one of the eateries in Forest Row (see below), about 11 km from Hartfield.

There used to be a second pub in Hartfield but the Hay Waggon closed in 2015 and looks unlikely to reopen.

Tea

There are no permanent refreshment places on the afternoon leg until you reach Forest Row, but the Ashdown Forest Centre has a ‘pop-up café’ on weekends in August and you might also find an ice-cream van in one of the car parks. The suggested tea place in the village is Taffels at 14-15 Hartfield Road (01342-823151), an attractive café/delicatessen open to 5pm Sun–Thu, all evening Fri & Sat. The alternatives are clustered along the A22: The Swan (01342-822318); the 15thC Chequers Inn Hotel (01342-823333); Java & Jazz (01342-826699), a pizzeria, gelateria and coffee shop; and The Bram Bar of the Brambletye Hotel (01342-824144).

East Grinstead is not short of places if you need further refreshment after walking up the hill to the town. Two suggested places almost opposite each other on the High Street are the Dorset Arms (01342-316363) at #58 and CJ’s Café Bar (01342-301910) at #55-57, which has a rooftop terrace overlooking the churchyard. You pass these on your way through the town and will need to allow a further 15 minutes to reach the station.

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By Car

Start: TN3 9TL Directions

Finish: Forest Row, Kent Directions

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Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Jul-17

Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml

Walk Directions  

The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

Ashurst to Forest Row (or East Grinstead)

Click the heading below to show/hide the walk route for the selected option(s).

Walk Map: Ashurst to Forest Row Walk Map: East Grinstead (extension) Walk Maps

Walk Options

Click on any option to show only the sections making up that route, or the heading above to show all sections.

  1. Main Walk, to Forest Row (17¾ km)
  1. Extended Walk, to East Grinstead (23¼ km)
  2. Shortened Walk, from Hartfield (17¼ km)
  3. Shortened Walk, from Upper Hartfield (14¾ km)

Walk Directions

Click on any section heading to switch between detailed directions and an outline, or the heading above to switch all sections.

If you take bus 291 from East Grinstead to Hartfield (or Gallipot Street), start at §3.

If you take bus 291 from East Grinstead to Upper Hartfield, start at §4.

  1. Ashurst Station to Summerford Farm (3½ km)
  2. Turn right out of the station to join the Sussex Border Path, which goes up along the side of the valley, then descends. At a path junction, turn right to join the Wealdway (WW). Go under the railway and follow the WW across fields and water meadows alongside the River Medway to Summerford Farm.

    From the station's small car park do not take the obvious way out to the A264, but take the private road in the opposite direction, heading S and joining the Sussex Border Path1 (SBP). This lane winds uphill and curves to the right where a footpath joins from the left. After 200m along a level stretch, turn left to go up a grassy track between hedges.

    At the top, turn right onto a track. This soon starts to go back downhill through trees, and later with fields sloping down to your right. After 500m you pass some derelict brick outbuildings on your left. In a further 150m, after going through a belt of trees, fork right at a footpath sign to go down a broad grassy path, joining the Wealdway2 (WW).

    At the bottom of the field go through a gate and under the railway. On the other side turn left into a meadow, with a loop of the River Medway ahead on your right. Follow a faint path through the meadow as it curves gently to the right. Cross the River Grom on a footbridge and bear right to go across the next field, aiming for a metal gate on the far side if there is no path visible.

    Turn right by this gate (leaving the SBP) to cross another of the River Medway's tributaries, the River Eridge, on a concrete bridge. Go straight on across the meadow, following the overhead power cables. At the end of the meadow, cross the River Medway on another concrete bridge.

    On the other side of the bridge you could turn left onto a permissive path along the riverbank, which rejoins the public footpath after 800m. However, this alternative route has sometimes been overgrown.

    For the main route, turn half-left to go across a field. On the far side, ignore a wooden bridge across a ditch and instead turn left along the field edge, heading SW with the ditch on your right. In 100m cross the ditch on a footbridge and continue with a hedge on your right for 350m to reach a loop of the River Medway. Keep ahead through a copse and across more ditches, then go along the right-hand edge of water meadows for 700m. The river meanders away on your left and eventually you come to a lane opposite Summerford Farm.

  3. Summerford Farm to Hartfield (Castlefields) (2½ km)
  4. Continue on the WW through Summerford Farm. In 600m, where it forks left towards Withyham, keep ahead on a footpath along the side of the valley. Turn left at the next path junction and follow the footpath across the River Medway and Forest Way into Hartfield.

    Go straight across the lane and take the driveway opposite (slightly to the right) past the cottages and attractive oast-house conversions of Summerford Farm. In 350m, at the end of the long drive, go through a metal fieldgate. Ignore a footpath marker on a stile and bear left onto a broad grassy track. In 100m turn left at a partly-concealed footpath signpost to go down through the hedge onto a narrow path between fences.

    In 175m fork right, leaving the WW which goes down a slope towards Withyham. At the end of a wood go through a fieldgate and keep ahead along the top right-hand edge of a large field. This leads to a track through a small wood and then a broad grassy strip continuing alongside it.

    At the end of the trees go over a stile and turn left down an enclosed path towards Hartfield's church spire, 1 km away. At the bottom cross the River Medway on a footbridge and then go straight across the Forest Way3 (Cycle Route 21) via a pair of stiles into the corner of a field. Turn half-right to go diagonally across this on a faint path, which leads to a wide gap in the hedge near the far corner. Go through this and turn right to go along the edge of two more fields, gradually curving round to the left.

    In the far corner of the last field go over a stile and take the right-hand of two footpaths indicated, through a potentially boggy area. Cross a ditch at the bottom of the dip and bear left onto a grassy path which curves up towards some houses on the outskirts of Hartfield, with a small mound4 up ahead on your right. In the top corner go over a stile onto a tarmac path. Turn right onto a residential street (Mottefield) and then left into Castlefields. At the end turn right onto the B2110, where there is a bus stop and a gate opposite leading onto a green.

  5. Castlefields to Upper Hartfield (2½ or 2 km)
  6. Hartfield For the main route, skirt around the village by taking a footpath from the B2026 back to the Forest Way and head west on this cycle route for 500m, then turn left onto a bridleway heading south to the B2110; turn right and go along this road for 800m, passing the Gallipot Inn. Alternatively, you can go via the churchyard and Church Lane (for the Anchor Inn) back to the main road, then follow it all the way to Upper Hartfield.

    If you take the bus from East Grinstead to start a Shortened Walk, the main stop in Hartfield is opposite the Anchor Inn, on the alternative route in §3b (but note that almost all of this route is alongside a busy road, the B2110). Unless you want to look around the village first you can get off at the next stop (Castlefields), on the main route. The two routes rejoin shortly before the suggested lunch stop on this road, the Gallipot Inn.

    1. Main route (2½ km) Hartfield
    2. For the main route, go along the B2110 to its junction with the B2026, with signs for a Farm Shop opposite. Cross the side road carefully and take a driveway just off to the right, signposted as a footpath. Go through a metal side gate and along the left-hand edge of a field, curving slightly to the left.

      On the far side go through a potentially muddy gap in the hedge and turn right along the field edge (or take a grassy path just inside the field to avoid the muddy bridleway). Go through a fieldgate into a belt of trees and across a brick bridge over the disused railway line which you crossed earlier. Turn right down a steep little path and then turn sharp right onto this cycle route, going under the bridge. In 250m keep ahead at a path crossing.

      The path you are crossing is the High Weald Landscape Trail, the route of Extra Walk 109.

      In a further 250m, just before a bridge with metal lattice sides up ahead, veer left down the embankment and turn left onto the bridleway at the bottom. Go through a gate and follow a grassy path half-right towards a metal gate leading into a wood. Follow the bridleway up through the wood, then on an enclosed grassy track heading S towards distant farm buildings. Keep ahead through the farmyard and continue on a track leading up past some houses. This comes out onto the B2110 where you turn right (there is a pavement on the other side).

    3. Alternative route (2 km)
    4. For the route through the village, cross the B2110 and go through a gate opposite (slightly to the right) onto a green. Follow the tarmac path towards the church and continue up a driveway to the left of a private drive, passing the village school. Enter the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin5 and keep ahead along its right-hand side, passing a magnificent tulip tree. Exit under part of Lych Gate Cottage6 and turn right down Church Street, where the Anchor Inn is on the right just before the lane meets the High Street.

      To continue on this alternative route, go down to the High Street and turn left, soon passing the (possibly closed) Hay Waggon pub. In a further 200m you pass Pooh Corner (with Piglet's Tearoom) on your right. At a road junction take the right fork to stay on the B2110, up Newtons Hill. The main route rejoins from a farm drive on the right after 500m, opposite the entrance to Landhurst.

    In 300m you come to the suggested lunch pub on the right, the Gallipot Inn7. Afterwards, you still have another 500m of road walking. The B2110 climbs gently, then levels out alongside a row of houses in Upper Hartfield. Eventually you pass a bus stop and come to a minor road junction with a garage on the far side.

  7. Upper Hartfield to Newbridge (3 km)
  8. In the centre of Upper Hartfield take the bridleway heading south-east for 200m, then turn right onto a footpath leading to Marsh Green. Turn right onto Marsh Green Lane for 500m and continue on a footpath past Newbridge Mill to a road, Kidds Hill.

    If you arrived by bus from East Grinstead to start a Shortened Walk, go back from the bus stop to the road junction by the garage and cross over the main road.

    At the junction take the private road opposite Parrock Lane, heading SE. Go along this lane (which is also a public bridleway) for 200m, curving round to the right and ignoring a couple of driveways off to the left. Where the lane turns sharply left, go over a stile on the right and continue along the right-hand edge of a field. In the far corner go over another stile and follow an enclosed path for 150m. At the end turn left through a gap in the hedge into the top of a large field, with a fine view of Ashdown Forest8 across the valley ahead.

    Go down the middle of the field, towards the right-hand end of a wood. At the bottom go through a gap in the hedge and turn right onto a broad grassy track. This leads to a T-junction where you turn left onto a tree-lined track. In 100m (where the way ahead leads into some private land) turn right off the track onto a broad path, initially with a chain-link fence on your left. In 175m the path turns half-left and goes downhill. In 150m another footpath joins from the right and there is a wooden bench on your left.

    Continue downhill on the broad track, with a field on your right. In 75m bear right off the main track to stay alongside the field, soon crossing over a private driveway. Follow the path towards some trees and onto a wooden footbridge across a stream, Millbrook.

    Pooh Bridge is 1 km downstream but you will be following its course in the opposite direction, to Newbridge Mill. This is your best opportunity for a game of Pooh Sticks on this walk.

    On the far side the path leads into a driveway which you follow past a few houses to a minor road, Marsh Green Lane. Turn right and go along this quiet lane for 500m; there are wide grass verges for most of the way. You eventually come to a Y-junction where you fork left briefly into Steppey Lane, then almost immediately go over a stile on the right. Head directly away from the lane and continue in this direction across four fields, going over stiles or through fieldgates as necessary.

    The fourth field has an irregular shape and the exit is not immediately obvious. Aim just to the left of a projecting hedge 125m away; as you go alongside it you will see a gap on the right where a plank bridge takes you across a stream and through the garden of Newbridge Mill9. The path swings right in front of the attractive mill building; follow its driveway across Millbrook and through a wooden fieldgate. Where the drive turns left keep ahead up a broad grassy strip as indicated, veering left at the top to come out onto a road, Kidds Hill.

  9. Newbridge to Colemans Hatch Cricket Club (¾ or 1¼ km)
  10. For the main route cross Kidds Hill and go up the farm drive opposite, then continue on a horse ride and woodland path to the cricket club. But if you want to visit the Hatch Inn, turn right onto Kidds Hill and follow the road all the way to Coleman's Hatch. Afterwards, turn left onto Colemans Hatch Road and in 400m fork left along a driveway leading to a number of properties and the cricket club.

    If you want to visit the Hatch Inn, take the alternative route in §5b. However, almost all of this route is along roads with no pavement.

    1. Main route (¾ km)
    2. For the main route, cross the road carefully and go up Portobello Farm's driveway opposite, now on Ashdown Forest. After climbing steadily for 250m the drive levels out and curves left, but at this bend you keep ahead onto a horse ride which itself turns left, staying fairly close to the drive. In 75m turn right at a junction onto another broad ride heading W, initially between trees and later through a more open area.

      In 300m, shortly before the ride curves gently round to the left, fork right onto a narrow but well-defined path through a wooded area. You will soon see a cricket pitch through the trees on your left and the path then goes alongside it towards its pavilion.

      If you miss this useful little path and find yourself going past the cricket pitch on your right, simply continue around it to the pavilion.

      Go past the pavilion and cross a tarmac lane, slightly to the left. Ignore the muddy horse ride going up past a bowling green and take the broad grassy ride to its left, heading W.

    3. Alternative route (1¼ km)
    4. To visit the late lunch pub, turn right onto the road. In 600m you come to the Hatch Inn on your left, just before a small triangular green. Afterwards, either continue along the road you arrived on, turn left in front of the green onto a short link road and then left again into Colemans Hatch Road; or simply leave the pub via a gate at the bottom of its beer garden.

      There is 400m more road walking. You pass an elaborate water trough in remembrance of Sir Spencer Walpole10, then the imposing gates for South Hartfield House. After passing some cottages, ignore two driveways off to the left; but 100m later turn left into the second of two more driveways, with signs for eight or nine properties. In 300m, with a cricket pitch and pavilion on your left, bear right onto a broad grassy ride heading W.

  11. The Cricket Club to Ashdown Forest Centre (1¾ km)
  12. Go along the ridge parallel to Colemans Hatch Road. The recommended route is along the south side of the road for the first half of this section, crossing over at Linton's car park; this gives the best views but in practice you can take any convenient route along the ridge.

    Stay on the main ride, ignoring several turnings on the right which lead to a road. In about 400m, the ride veers left and right to continue in much the same direction, with fine views back to your left of another part of Ashdown Forest, around Gills Lap Clump.

    In a further 250m another ride merges from the left. Soon after this turn right onto a path which takes you past a seasonal car park and out to Colemans Hatch Road. You should have come out almost opposite Linton's car park, with fine views ahead towards the North Downs.

    Cross the road and go through the car park. Bear left to join a broad ride running parallel to the road and follow it W for about 800m along the side of the hill, passing Millennium Clump (planted in 2000) along the way. As you approach a large wood, bear left towards the Forest Centre and go through its visitor car park.

    The building contains an Information Centre for visitors, often with interesting exhibitions; there are also offices and a toilet block, but no permanent café. A tarmac lane behind the toilet block is the continuation of the walk, and if the gate on the right leading to it is unlocked you could save yourself a trek round the building via the road.

  13. Ashdown Forest Centre to Golf Clubhouse (2¼ km)
  14. Go along the road briefly and turn right onto a footpath heading north through the wooded Broadstone Warren, initially along a driveway and then a track. Where this emerges at the corner of a golf course, bear left and make your way across a wooded valley to the clubhouse.

    Unless you spot an exit at the back of the Forest Centre, leave through its visitor car park and turn right onto the road. In 150m turn right onto a tarmac driveway, signposted as a footpath. Follow this past the back of the Forest Centre buildings and down through the wooded Broadstone Warren (which is outside Ashdown Forest, so not Open Access land), heading N.

    In 400m, shortly before the driveway curves right into a private property, veer left and then right as indicated by the footpath signs to continue in much the same direction on an earth track. In about 150m fork right at a junction; later, another path merges from the left. Simply follow the main track down through the wood until it eventually emerges at the corner of a golf course, in front of a green.

    Turn half-left off the track to pass to the left of the green. Ahead on your right you might be able to see the clubhouse 500m away across the valley; you are now back on Open Access land and could head straight towards it across the golf course if you wish. For a more circumspect route continue past the green to come to a tee on your left. When it is safe to do so, go past it and down into the wood opposite on a well-defined path.

    At the bottom of the valley you will be turning right towards the clubhouse, so fork right if a convenient path presents itself. You emerge from the trees onto a fairway, with golfers playing from left to right. You need to cross a brook running through the fairway, so aim for the prominent wooden footbridge with handrails near the green. After carefully crossing the fairway and the brook continue up a slope past a golfers' car park, with the clubhouse on your right.

  15. Golf Clubhouse to Forest Row (1½ km)
  16. Forest Row Follow the golf club's driveway out to Chapel Lane. Continue down this road, turning left onto a fenced-in footpath near the bottom to cut across a small green. Go along the B2110 into Forest Row, turning right into Hillside just before the A22. Go down this back street for a choice of tea places, continuing to its junction with the A22 opposite the Brambletye Hotel.

    Forest Row Go past the clubhouse and continue alongside its driveway (the OS map shows the right of way off to its left, but there is no waymarking to indicate the exact route). The driveway crosses some more fairways, with appropriate warning notices, and in 300m bends left and merges with another tarmac lane. For the shortest way out, bear right off the lane at this junction (passing a carved wooden sign for the Vanguard Way) and go down a short path to reach Chapel Lane.

    Go downhill on this residential road for 300m. 150m before the end of the lane, turn left into a fenced path with a footpath waymarker, to the left of a house called “Blue Cedar”. The path turns right and later bends left to come out onto a green. Follow the tarmac path diagonally across the green to the far corner, crossing a private road in the middle.

    Bear left onto the main road (the B2110), crossing over at some point. After passing the (closed) Foresters Arms you go past a parade of shops containing the suggested tea place, Taffels. For other refreshment stops, and to complete the walk, continue up the road. Just before the roundabout with the A22 turn right to go down Hillside, with the small village green and War Memorial on your left.

    As you go down Hillside you pass Freshfield Hall11 on your left and then the Chequers Inn Hotel and Java & Jazz. Hillside merges with the main road here and you can see the Brambletye Hotel12 opposite.

    If you are finishing the walk in Forest Row, the best place to catch a bus to East Grinstead station is the stop outside the Brambletye Hotel.

  17. Forest Row to East Grinstead Station (5½ km)
  18. East Grinstead Head north briefly along the A22 and bear left onto the Forest Way cycle route immediately after crossing the River Medway. Follow this all the way into the outskirts of East Grinstead, forking left near the end to come out at a major roundabout. Turn left onto Lewes Road and keep ahead where this becomes the town's High Street. At a mini-roundabout turn right into London Road. Go straight on at traffic lights, then turn left into Railway Approach. Go over a major roundabout to reach the station.

    From any of the tea places make your way to the A22 and head north on the main road. 250m from the Brambletye Hotel, just after the road crosses the River Medway, bear left at the pedestrian traffic lights onto the Forest Way. You will now be following this cycle track all the way up a gentle incline to East Grinstead.

    In 700m the track crosses Brambletye Lane and goes into a deep cutting. If you wish you can fork left onto a narrow path along its top, with views out to the left including the ruins of Brambletye House13; this path eventually drops down to rejoin the main track. The later stages of the Forest Way are on a high embankment, with occasional views through the trees of the countryside beyond. Eventually, 3½ km from the A22, you reach some houses on the outskirts of East Grinstead. Go straight across Herontye Drive and then fork left up an incline to come out in front of a large roundabout14.

    East Grinstead Turn left onto Lewes Road, heading W towards the town centre. In 250m keep ahead at a road junction into the town's ancient High Street, with a bronze monument to Sir Archibald McIndoe15 in front of Sackville College16 on your right. There are several refreshment places along this street, including the Dorset Arms on the left and CJ’s Café Bar in front of the imposing St Swithun's church17.

    At the end of the High Street turn right at a mini-roundabout to go down London Road. Keep ahead at a road junction with traffic lights, then 100m later turn left into Railway Approach. At the far end of this road you have to negotiate a large roundabout; the station is directly opposite. Trains to London usually leave from the near platform.

Walk Notes

  1. The Sussex Border Path runs for 240 km along the length of West & East Sussex, from Thorney Island on the Hampshire border to Rye.
  2. The Wealdway runs for 130 km through the Kent and Sussex Weald, from Gravesend on the Thames estuary to the outskirts of Eastbourne.
  3. The Forest Way Country Park is the rather grand name for part of an old railway line which ran from Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells via East Grinstead. This branch line was closed by Beeching in 1966 and these 15 km (from East Grinstead to Groombridge) are now a popular cycle route.
  4. The mound is all that remains of an old Motte and Bailey fortification, as indicated by the nearby street names Mottefield and Castlefields.
  5. St Mary the Virgin, Hartfield is a mixture of styles dating from the 13th–15thC, but was heavily restored in Victorian times.
  6. Lych Gate Cottage does indeed incorporate the gate into the churchyard, an unusual arrangement.
  7. The Gallipot Inn was originally three Tudor cottages. One had been used for producing medicines and ointments in small glazed earthenware pots, or ‘gallipots’.
  8. The open heathland of Ashdown Forest did not impress William Cobbett. A diary entry from January 1822 recorded in his Rural Rides vividly describes it as “verily the most villainously ugly spot I saw in England…getting, if possible, uglier and uglier all the way”.
  9. Newbridge Mill is on the site of one of England's first blast furnaces. This hamlet was the centre of a busy iron-producing area in the 16thC.
  10. Sir Spencer Walpole (1830-1907) was an English historian and civil servant.
  11. Forest Row's village hall, Freshfield Hall, was a memorial gift from the Freshfield family following the death of their young son in 1891. The original building burnt down in 1895 and had to be rebuilt.
  12. The Brambletye Hotel was frequented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and features in his Adventure of Black Peter: Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson stay at this inn while investigating the murder of a retired sea captain.
  13. Brambletye House was built in 1631 by Sir Henry Compton, lord of the manor. A later owner, Sir James Richards, was suspected of treason in 1684 and fled the country, leaving the house to decay. It features in the 1826 Horace Smith novel Brambletye House.
  14. On the far side of the roundabout, Beeching Way was where the branch line continued through the cutting now used by the A22. An even more appropriate name suggested at the time was “Beeching Cut” and it seems a pity that this was rejected.
  15. Sir Archibald McIndoe was a plastic surgeon whose innovative surgical techniques at the nearby Queen Victoria Hospital greatly improved the rehabilitation of wounded aircrew in World WarⅡ. The monument (depicting a seated airman being comforted by McIndoe) is by Martin Jennings, whose father had been one of McIndoe's patients.
  16. The Jacobean almshouse Sackville College was founded in 1609 with money left by Robert Sackville, 2nd Earl of Dorset, and is still in use today. The building can be visited on some afternoons in summer.
  17. The present St Swithun, East Grinstead dates from 1789, but there has been a church here since the 11thC (Swithun was a 9thC Bishop of Winchester). Previous buildings on this prominent hilltop site were often struck by lightning and the church has been rebuilt several times over the centuries.

» Last updated: July 18, 2017

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