Length: 17.6km (10.9 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10 9.50
train from St Pancras
, 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
. For GPX
. 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
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 restauran
t 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).
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
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.