Stately Tree , Nymans

Balcombe Circular

07-Oct-12 • moontiger on Flickr

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Trees andFields

24-Jun-04 • Catherine Ames on Flickr

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Follow the signs. D.Allen vivitar 5199 5mp

04-Jan-06 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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'Yew so ancient!'

800 year old Yew at St Mary's Parish Church Slaugham; even older than some Ramblers. D.Allen Vivitar 5199 5mp

01-Mar-07 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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Balcombe round/circular

800 year old Yew at St Mary's Parish Church Slaugham; even older than some Ramblers. D.Allen Vivitar 5199 5mp

21-Apr-07 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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Local gang

The one in the middle has his horns on upside down. Balcombe circular.

15-Sep-07 • moontiger on Flickr

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Weald view

Balcombe circular.

15-Sep-07 • moontiger on Flickr

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Balcombe Circular walk

Nymans Gardens (NT), and the ruins of Slaugham


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.

Updated: Sun, 06-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 01-Sep-18 23

Saturday Walk - (The original) Balcombe Circular - Wealden rambles and a National Trust garden

Length: 17.6km (10.9 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.50 train from St Pancras (9.59 Blackfriars, 10.05 London Bridge, 10.19 East Croydon) to Balcombe, arriving 10.46 ** T=1.16

** Yes, a Thameslink train: not a choice I make without some trepidation. In the event it is cancelled, get one half an hour later. If that is cancelled meet at Costa Coffee on the main lower level concourse at London Bridge and we will decide on somewhere else to go.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. Please use the online directions not the book ones, as the online ones have a safe crossing of the A23.

Just to be clear, this is the original Balcombe Circular, the book one version, NOT the via Ardingly one. I was in fact originally intending to post the Ardingly one, but there is a rock concert at the South of England Show Ground there in the evening, and my idea of Wealden delights is NOT listening to a sound check wafting over the tree tops, so I have switched to this one. And why not, indeed? This walk has actually not had a Saturday outing since March 2017, so it is due a spin.

There is a voluminous correspondence online and in past walk reports about which pubs are or are not the ones to go to for lunch. If I am summarising this wrongly please correct me, but the original lunch stop. the Chequers in Slaugham, has gone, but there are two earlier pubs in Handcross, both of which hopefully are in business and one of which may be nice.

Handcross is also the location of Nymans, a National Trust garden you might care to visit. It is set around a part ruined house (it burned down in a fire) and the ruin is actually quite interesting. It has the usual self-service restaurant with some hot menu items (sausage hotpot, soup, veggie burger, salmon and broccoli tart) but I can't remember if you have to pay the admission charge to access this (not a problem for NT members, natch).

For tea my advice is forget about getting to the Balcombe Tea Rooms before they close at 4pm, unless you are a very fast walker, in which case you should be on the Moreton-in-Marsh walk. Instead The Victory Inn in Staplefield, halfway through the afternoon, serves food all afternoon and might make a tea stop. In Balcombe itself, the Half Moon Inn sometimes has cakes.

Trains back ** are at 22 and 52 past the hour. The back way to the station is recommended, tempting though the short cut along the main road is.

** Should Thameslink accidentally happen to have both rolling stock and drivers in the right place at the right time.
Hi Guys I am attending this walk and hope to see some of you at London Bridge and yes hope Thames link are running. Not done this original version walk before and weather good. A respite from the workmen.

In the past, a few of us stopped at the Balcombe tea room in the morning to buy a take away cake to have with our tea at the pub later on.
I’ll take a half an hour earlier train to be able to get to the tearoom on time.
Sometimes the rain comes down in June. Sometimes the sun goes round the moon. And sometimes Thameslink trains all run on time. Amazing. 22 benefited from this punctuality, with one late starter making 23. The weather: glorious, unbroken blue sky, sunny and hot. In a few weeks such days will seem as fantastic as a fairy tale.

Nice to do this old favourite again. Some bits I remembered, lots I did not. At times I was taken back to the early days of the walking club, back in the late Middle Ages, when the world was young and we used to stop and look at the view occasionally.

We split up at lunch. Did some try the Royal Oak? What was it like? How was the rest of your day? The Red Lion may be a gastro pub, designed by committee at head office, but those of us who ate there found the food delicious really mouthwatering. Not over busy either and with cheerful service. We were there for ages, lingering over coffee and even waiting for the late starter to order and eat. What nice people we are.

In the afternoon the Victory made an equally nice tea stop. Delicious puds, an outside table in the shade. Tea in pots. Your loss, Balcombe Tea Rooms: you should stay open later.

On up the big hill into Balcombe. There were a lot of big hills on this walk, more than I remember. Only two of us, as far as I know, went to the Half Moon in Balcombe for a drink. And I bet only one me went the lovely back way to the station.
Tue, 10-Oct-17 3

Tuesday Walk: Balcombe Circular

Book 1, Walk 16 - Balcombe Circular

Lord Snowdon's Japanese Pavilion, Gardens of Nymans and Ruins of Slaugham

Length: 17.6 km (10.9 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

London Bridge: 10-42 hrs Brighton service East Croydon 10-56 hrs
Arrive Balcombe: 11-22 hrs

London Victoria: 10-23 hrs East Grinstead service. CJ 10-29
Arrive East Croydon: 10-40 hrs
Leave East Croydon: 10-56 hrs - on Brighton service, as above
Arrive Balcombe: 11-22 hrs

Return to Blackfriars: 16-29, 17-28 and 18-22 hrs - changing at East Croydon for London Bridge or Victoria

Today's walk in West Sussex contains plenty of variety, with the River Ouse your water feature for the day.
Due to the late start today your suggested lunch stop is the Red Lion in Handcross. The grub on offer is perfectly acceptable by chain pub standards. Alas, the SWC favoured pub on this walk, The Chequers in Slaugham is still closed.
After lunch you walk to Slaugham and after passing the Ruins of Slaugham Place you cross the A23 road by a new underpass and head for the village of Staplefield via farmland, roads and meadows. Onwards then beside the River Ouse, through a farm and along a long farm road before you cross fields and go through woods on your return to Balcombe. The Tea Rooms in the village will be long closed by the time you arrive, so your only tea option will be the Half Moon pub, now owned and managed by the villagers.
Your walk Directions here L=1.16
3 of us on an overcast but mild day, with rain threatening at times but fortunately held off. Leaf colour in the woods is coming on nicely and should be good in ten days time. We stopped for lunch at the Red Lion in Handcross where two of us enjoyed an excellent, good value two course lunch (despite a long wait between courses), with our colleague sitting in the grounds of Nymans to enjoy her sandwiches during the only time in the day when the sun came out.
As the afternoon leg of this Circular walk once past Slaugham is less than exciting (although improved with the new pedestrian tunnel under the A23 road) we decided to take an alternative afternoon route to Faygate via the High Weald Landscape trail and St Leonard's Forest. We enjoyed some nice views and leaf colour along the way, and the afternoon was enjoyable although a bit repetitive along the long, straight forest trail. We (just) managed to negotiate a difficult road crossing, chocker with commuter traffic, as we entered Faygate, where we stopped for a drink at the pleasant Holmbush Inn, close to the railway station. The 18 07 hrs stopping service eventually returned us to East Croydon, then fast to Victoria.
An enjoyable day's walking, with an unplanned afternoon leg thank you to E.D for suggesting it.
Sat, 04-Mar-17 20

Saturday walk - a gentle Wealden favourite

Book 1, walk 16 - Balcombe Circular
Length: 17.6km (10.9 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.42 train from London Bridge (9.56 East Croydon) to Balcombe, arriving 10.23.

For walk directions click here.

This SWC favourite is a rambling and varied walk across one of the gentler parts of the Weald, passing the National Trust gardens and ruined house at Nymans (which is open today, if you want to visit it: there is daylight until 6.15pm, so you would just about have time to do this and finish the walk).

There are a total of four pub options for lunch, so hopefully one will squeeze you in. For tea you would have to be a heroically fast walker to get to the Balcombe Tea Rooms before they close at 4pm, but the nearby Half Moon pub sometimes does cakes.

Don't omit to do the pretty back way to Balcombe station as per the walk directions, if you have time: it is much better than the main road route and not much longer - maybe 20 minutes from the Half Moon versus 10-15 minutes for the main road route.

Trains back from Balcombe are at 22 past till 19.22, then 19.59, 20.59. t=1.16
I can't comment on the numbers as started an hour late but I decided to order lunch for two with drinks at the Red Lion at around 1.30. To no avail. To say the staff were (just the one jerk behind the bar actually) uncooperative would be an understatement. There was no attempt to acknowledge potential PAYING CUSTOMERS and so we left. This pub is a disgrace and I strongly recommend that SWC walkers give it a wide berth as they obviously don't need our custom. The only way to get the message across in this sadly backward country when it comes to service is to VOTE with our FEET. Luckily the Royal Oak 150m or so down the road was more than accommodating even though by then it was nearer to 2pm. Good food (plenty of it!) friendly staff (they appear to be under new management with nice staff, beautiful sheep dog (?) with good range of drinks and lots of table space. There was a whole bunch of visitors from the Far East who seemed happy. Why the Maple Leaf of Canada fluttered outside was not explained. Anyway, it was a nice change from the Chequers further along the route. But still, roll on sandwich weather!
20 ish? plus six freelance from Hong Kong and another couple. remained mostly dry. Fields were saturated and paths in woods very muddy. One dropped off at Nymans for tour of gardens with the walk inspector. Eight of us had lunch at the Chequers Inn. This is no longer a gastro pub and was more or less empty with only one ale on tap, a rather odd dark mild with cherry! Menu is rather limited although the dish of the day moules and sweet potato fries was very good. It seems the pub is between tenants with a temporary landlord. It is larger than I remember and has pleasant views from the extended dinning room. I noticed three pairs of boots outside the Balcombe Tea Room but most of us arrived close to 4:00 pm and continued for the 4:22 train without even trying the door.
Three of us did indeed make it to the Balcombe Tea Room in time for refreshments, and in the spirit of fraternity we each ate two (different) portions of cake, the second for those who were unable to attend. Interestingly, all agreed that the second was not as nice as the first.

For future reference, you can buy cake to take away which may be an option for slower walkers who are happy to take it without a hot liquid accompaniment.
Sat, 27-Feb-16 25

Balcombe Circular or Walk Research from Balcombe to Horsham

t=1.16 Length: 17.6km (10.9m)
Toughness: 5/10
Transport: Take the 9:42 from London Bridge to Balcombe arriving at 10:22
Return from Balcombe at xx:22 until 19:22, then xx:59

From the walk description:
This is a walk full of small delights: a nature reserve and lake with Japanese pavilion down by the stream below the gardens and park of Nymans with its part-ruined manor house; a churchyard in Slaugham (pronounced 'Slaffam') with a 600-year-old yew tree some 10 metres in circumference; the ruins of Slaugham Manor; then a walk down to the River Ouse – with the incongruous sight of a Roman arch and columns in the middle of nowhere – and later up through fields and woods to the fine old village of Balcombe.

I would like to offer the option to continue the walk to Horsham by map after lunch instead of returning to Balcombe. This option does not seem to exist yet for this walk but could be added to the walk instructions.

Anyone doing this one?
I'm keen to do the Balcombe circular. The return fare to Balcombe is only £8.50 from any London Thameslink station, very good value.
I will joining in.
Looks like The Chequers has closed but the Red Lion in Handcross is open
From London Bridge with network card only costs £5.6.

Thanks for posting this book one classic, not too far, not too long, not too tough, not expensive fare, what not to like!

I am in.
25 ish, cloudy with sunny intervals, This first book classic never fails its attraction. Some mud in various places but not too demanding. 12 had lunch in Red Lion, food was delicious and fish & chips barometer was 8/10 but fish cake was in tiny portion. At least 3 had lunch in Royal Oak, report was also good. I found lunch at Handcross was a bit early in the walk, we got to the pub just after 12pm. This left 2/3 of the walk in the afternoon. Thankfully, more refreshment opportunities on route. At least 10 stopped at the pub in Staplefield for further fuelling (Others pressed on and caught earlier train). Another deserving drink in the pub at Balcombe (as the tea room was long shut) before catching 5:22pm train back to London. Two GPSs registered 12 miles instead of advertised 10.9 miles. With mud underfoot, it felt 12 miles plus. Three more walkers who did the walk independently appeared at the station. A great day out for all.
Three walkers continued the walk from Slaugham to Horsham. The plan was to simply follow some public footpaths to and through the open access area to the east of Horsham. But with a surprising end of a path in the middle of the woods with no indication of any continuation the compass became the crucial tool to find our way out of the woods. After some stumbling through the woods (Horsham is due West !) we found some other path which lead us roughly in the right direction and ultimately out of the woods and on to Horsham. However, the open access area indeed proved to be an enchanting woodland with some attractive streams meandering through it and merits further investigation. The connection between this woodland and the walk to/from Balcome also requires further research in order to avoid a busy road and a long track along a tarmaced drive.
Sun, 25-Oct-15

Sunday Walk 1 Balcombe Circular

Balcombe Circular, Book 1 walk 16
Length 17.6 km. 10.9 miles
Difficulty 5/10

Clocks went back today (that's if we remembered to put them back). It will get dark an hour earlier.
The clocks are ticked off about it. Their complaint has been seconded and gone in the minutes.

Features of this High Weald walk include a ruined manor house, a churchyard with a 600 year old yew and 17th C fake Roman ruins. You also pass Nymans gardens (as featured on TV). You can visit if you've £11 to spare (NT members free). From the footpath, you get a view of the Japanese Garden and lake and then go through a woodland section that can be impressive in autumn.
Good news: For years, this walk was blighted by a dangerous road crossing that required a diversion. There's now an underpass and the old route's been reinstated (point 37). Also, a tricky rail crossing near the end (point 63) has been replaced by a footbridge - see comments page.
Take care on the stone steps just after the start (point 1). They are slippery when wet and hard if you fall on them. Use the handrail. (Poor Mr Tiger hurt his own front paw here a few years ago and had to wear a sling. For ages.)
Trains: get the 9:27 Brighton train from Victoria (Clapham Junction 9:35, East Croydon 9:46) arrive Balcombe 10:15. It'll feel later, you've had a lie-in, remember. Return trains xx:30
Lunch: Your early lunch stop is the Red Lion in Handcross 01444 400292 or later on you have the Victory Inn 01444 400463 and Jolly Tanners 01444 400335, both in Staplefield. Visitors to Nymans could avail themselves of the garden's cafe. Sadly, the Chequers in Slaugham has closed.
Tea: You got the Balcombe Tea Rooms 01444 811777, open till 4 and the Half Moon 01444 811582.
Walk Directions: Available in book 1 but best to use the updated on-line version.
If the tea room has closed by the time you arrive, the Half Moon pub sometimes serves cakes which they buy from the Balcome Tea rooms.
Planning to do this walk.
Dear M Tiger,

I've often wondered what does the initial M stand for in your name?

Oh I know what the M in Mr M Tiger stands for
It stands for Moon. Something I like to howl at occasionally. Well, more of a yowl, really.
I heard more than 30 people took part in yesterday's Balcombe walk a large group! I started at a different time, so missed most of the other walkers.
Sun, 08-Mar-15 11 Balcombe Circular
Sat, 12-Oct-13 17 Balcombe Circular
Sun, 08-Sep-13 2 Horsham to Balcombe
Sat, 10-Nov-12 Balcombe Circular
Sun, 07-Oct-12 Balcombe Circular
Sat, 16-Apr-11 Balcombe Circular
Sat, 31-Jul-10 Balcombe Circular
Sat, 29-May-10 Balcombe Circular
Sun, 19-Jul-09 Balcombe Circular
Sat, 18-Apr-09 Balcombe Circular
Sat, 29-Mar-08 Balcombe Circular
Sun, 16-Sep-07 Balcombe Circular
Sun, 27-May-07 Balcombe Circular
Sat, 21-Apr-07 Balcombe Circular