Extra Walk 110b – Hartfield to East Grinstead
Length: 18½ km (11.5 miles), or 13 km (8 miles) if you finish in Forest Row. Toughness: 7/10 09:23
East Grinstead train from Victoria
(Clapham Jct 09:29, East Croydon 09:41), arriving East Grinstead
. Outside the station, take Metrobus 291
(towards Tunbridge Wells) at 10:31
, arriving Hartfield
. Long Walk option
, 24¾ km (15.4 miles): You can avoid the outward bus journey by taking the 09:02
Portsmouth Harbour & Bognor Regis train from Victoria
(Clapham Jct 09:08) and changing at East Croydon
(arr 09:17, dep 09:23) for the Uckfield train (which is starting from here this Saturday, not
London Bridge), arriving Ashurst
. For this option a day return to Ashurst (Kent) has always been accepted for return from East Grinstead, but ask the station staff politely before attempting to negotiate the ticket barriers.
Trains back from East Grinstead are at 07 & 37 minutes past the hour. If you decide to call it a day at Forest Row, take Metrobus 270 or 291 up the hill to East Grinstead; there are two buses an hour up to about 6.45pm, with a late one at 9.15pm.
The new breed of SWC walkers who like their walks long and tough should be satisfied with the full Walk 110 from Ashurst, and they'll soon catch up the lesser mortals who've chosen the morning bus ride and shorter start from Hartfield. Either way you'll get fine views from the heather-covered ridges along the top of Ashdown Forest
, not least at the Memorial to AA Milne and EF Shepard. You'll pass several places featured in the delightful childrens' books, starting with the famous bridge where you can test your skills with a few authentic games of Pooh Sticks. Later, be careful not to fall into Pooh's Heffalump Trap.
Lunch is at a remote country pub not visited on other SWC walks, the Hatch Inn
in Coleman's Hatch (7 km from Hartfield, nearly 13 km from Ashurst). To get there you'll need to take the slightly longer route along country lanes in §6b. There are more fine views from another ridge in the afternoon before you descend through woodland and across a golf course into Forest Row. After a tea stop here the final section is a long gentle climb up the mud-free Forest Way into East Grinstead, where more opportunities for refreshment await.
You'll need to print the directions from the Extra Walk 110