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Balcombe to Horsham walk

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.

Updated: Sat, 18-Sep-21

Date # Post
Sat, 07-Aug-21 4

Balcombe to Horsham

t=SWC.312

Length: 27km (16m) or 20km (13m)
Toughness: 7 / 10
Transport: Take the 9:15 from London Bridge (9:29 East Croydon) arriving in Balcombe at 9:55. 4 trains / hour return from Horsham to either London Bridge or London Victoria.
Either buy a day return to Balcombe and sweet-talk the station master in Horsham to let you through the barrier or buy a single from Horsham to Three Bridges for a return to London Bridge, or buy a day return to Horsham (Balcombe does not have barriers) and potentially explain to the conductor that you want to walk from Balcombe to Horsham.

In the morning this walk follows the Balcombe circular before heading off towards the west and St Leonards Forest, the watershed between the Thames and the Channel and the source of the river Arun. There, you have a choice of either going straight towards Horsham station or following a southward loop to enter Horsham centre passing its church and explore this pretty market town with its many pubs and restaurants. A mixed walk of woodlands, water features and farm land.

I'm not sure where to upload a walk report so I will leave it here,
Walk Reports
07 August 2021 Balcome to Horsham (the long way round).
Four walkers 4 alighted from the train at Balcome, starting the walk in sunshine, but with ominous grey clouds never far away. There were passing showers but also long spells of sunshine to dry off so you could say a mix of sunshine and fast moving showers.
We enjoyed familiar delights walking towards Handcross through the lush and extremely green West Sussex countryside. All the streams were gushing and the rivers swollen with water, as we negotiated water logged fields and muddy paths, soaking ourselves as we pushed through the extensive foliage.
Lunch was taken at the quite empty Wheatsheaf, where we enjoyed Harveys on tap and rose wine, not so much the food which was disappointing.
The long afternoon section was most enjoyable, less rain in the afternoon meant we could dry off and enjoy the higher ground through St Leonards forest and farmland with many fields left to wildflowers, gorgeous purple thistles and abundant yellow ones, many butterflies were seen but not identified. The two at the front were lucky to spot a stag with full head of antler on the path before darting away into the undergrowth. Sliding about on wet paths got a bit tiring after a while and we were all relieved to arrive into Horsham via the old town and church – much improved route. Three of us enjoyed drinks, food and more drinks in the Black Jug near the station before catching the 18:50 home.

4 walkers alighted from the train at Balcome, starting the walk in sunshine, but with ominous grey clouds never far away. There were passing showers but also long spells of sunshine to dry off so you could say a mix of sunshine and fast moving showers.
We enjoyed familiar delights walking towards Handcross through the lush and extremely green West Sussex countryside. All the streams were gushing and the rivers swollen with water, as we negotiated water logged fields and muddy paths, soaking ourselves as we pushed through the extensive foliage.
Lunch was taken at the quite empty Wheatsheaf, where we enjoyed Harveys on tap and rose wine, not so much the food which was disappointing.
The long afternoon section was most enjoyable, less rain in the afternoon meant we could dry off and enjoy the higher ground through St Leonards forest and farmland with many fields left to wildflowers, gorgeous purple thistles and abundant yellow ones, many butterflies were seen but not identified. The two at the front were lucky to spot a stag with full head of antler on the path before darting away into the undergrowth. Sliding about on wet paths got a bit tiring after a while and we were all relieved to arrive into Horsham via the old town and church – much improved route. Three of us enjoyed drinks, food and more drinks in the Black Jug near the station before catching the 18:50 home.
All you do, Sarah, is put your walk report in a comment. No need to worry about the date or walk name. Use "n=X" to give the number, and words separated by dashes to do the weather, and then the system recognises it as a walk report and puts it under "Walk Reports" and in the history section for that walk, so others considering the walk can read it in the future.

You had much better weather than we did. Curses!
Thanks I will try this next time 😀
Sun, 09-Jun-19 10

Sunday Walk - Balcombe to Horsham

Length: 26.7 km (16.6 mi) [shorter walk possible]
Ascent/Descent: 375/398m; Net Walking Time: 6 ¼ hours
Toughness: 7/10
Take the 09.41 Brighton train from London Bridge (09.55 East Croydon), arrives Balcombe 10.21.
From Victoria take the 09.33 Portsmouth Harbour train (Clapham J 09.40) and change at East Croydon (09.49/09.55).
Return trains from Horsham are on xx.21 (to Victoria) and xx.48 (to LBG), journey time 60 mins.
Buy a Horsham Return, you then may have to buy a Three Bridges to Balcombe one-stop single extension.
"This walk passes through the beautiful woodlands of the High Weald between Balcombe and Horsham including St. Leonard's Forest just to the east of Horsham, the source of the river Arun. The walk also passes near the source of the River Ouse. A major theme of this walk are the various water features along the way from gurgling streams to rivers and lakes. The ridge at the northern end of St. Leonards Forest along the line from Colgate to Pease Pottage forms the watershed between the river Thames and the Channel. The streams to the north flowing into the Thames are called brooks while the ones to the south flowing into the Channel are called gills. The river Mole's source are various brooks on the northern side of the watershed. In the morning the walk passes through Nymans Estate the former country retreat of the Messel family and now owned by the National Trust. The destination of the walk is the old market town of Horsham at the upper reaches of the Arun. Towards the end of the walk you pass the Chesworth Farm Riverside Fields a small nature reserve along the river Arun."
Walk Option: route map and text show a shortcut towards the end, but the write-up does not tell us how much it cuts…
Lunch: The Wheatsheaf in Plummers Plain (10.4 km/6.4 mi).
Tea: the route finishes through the centre of Horsham, so take your pick… Recommended by the walk author is The Black Jug (Brunning & Price mini-chain).
For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here.
T=swc.312
Sounds good, a tough walk is just what I need.
What time does this walk start?
10.21 Balcombe, as per the posting
8 walkers assembled off the train (plus plenty others doing other Balcombe walks, courtesy of the SWC books and downloads), and then there 2 others who had missed the train and acc. to my info took a later train to Horsham amd walked a Horsham Circular, most likely including enough parts of the route of this walk to claim the number being 10. The weather was pleasant but humid, with it being much more humid in the morning stretch than p.m. Lots of buttercups and all kinds of other spring flowers (not that I would know them by name). And we saw deer on two occasions.
No surprises initially as the route follows Ye Olde Balcombe Circular Walke, although despite that the on the sparse side of sparse directions prompted some head scratching at times. The 'new' bit after that initially provided for a good mixture of woods with streams (for example the Nymans Estate) and pastures with views and walkable paths, then the bits around Handcross and to the lunch pub were maybe a bit tarmac heavy. The fishing lake was manned (it is always men, why?) by plenty of optimistic anglers, all seemingly taking positions just in front of the three wooden benches that the picnickers were aiming at for their lunch break.
The Wheatsheaf pub a bit further along may be quirky, but more importantly it is also efficiently run by dedicated and caring staff, so we had very satisfying meals and fine drinks on the shady veranda.
Afterwards we took the time for an All Ireland vs England & Germany table football game (with a rather predictable outcome) and on we went.
After lunch there were still a fair amount of interesting woods and pastures with views, but also increasingly knee high grass pastures w/o clear paths, some HV pylons, overgrown fenced paths and feature less farms with odd path diversions through overgrown areas. The ground was hard, the tarmac count kept rising and everyone was tiring.
A bit more (some, any!) background information in the write up may have provided some interest, but as said they are on the sparse side of sparse. So, partially this was a bit of a slog.
But then we hit the outskirts of Horsham, and that was quite a nice finish to the walk: the Nature Reserve around the upper reaches of the Arun, the old part of town, and the remnants of a Spanish themed street festival on the pretty market square (free sherry anyone?) plus a nice Italian Cafe there (and some interesting looking pubs as well).
18.21 train for the lunchers, the 2 picnickers had moved on early from the pub and were long gone.
All in, a mixed bag of a walk, with grass, nettle and brambles growing season possibly not the best time of year for walking it (although the paths in the woods will be a nightmare in mud season as well).
there is a typo on the shortcut instructions number 11 is says turn right onto Hampers Lane when it should be turn LEFT. Please can this be fixed.

Many thanks
...turns out that the two Horsham Circular walkers reverse walked the shortcut route into town to where it splits off from the main route and then the main route ending, about 10 miles if they are to be believed...
Sat, 14-Jul-18 8

Balcombe to Horsham

t=SWC.312

Length: 27km / 16m
Toughness: 7 / 10
Transport: Take the 8:20 from London St Pancras / 8:35 London Bridge / 8:49 East Croydon arriving in Balcombe at 9:16. Return from Horsham via various slow and fast trains to London Victoria. The fast trains are roughly at xx:20 and xx:50. I suggest to buy a day return to Horsham.

This the first outing of this new walk. It follows the morning section of the Balcombe Circular before exploring new territory. Its main features are the woods and water features of the High Weald in particular St Leonards forest and the source and upper reaches of the Arun before finishing in the old market town of Horsham.

how come so early please?
If you don’t want to do either of the two long walks in this hot weather and don’t fancy swimming, you can certainly adapt this walk to Balcombe circular instead book one walk.
Train for Balcombe is every 30mins. 9:20am or 9:50am for later start especially if you do Balcombe circular.
Hello,
Could you tell me where the swimming opportunities are on this walk? I looked in the directions but can't see it.
Thanks

Hello, where is the meeting point?
People will gather together on the platform at Balcombe station after getting of the train they will be easy to see. You may also be able to spot fellow walkers on the train, though they are unlikely to be all sat together in the same carriage.

Re. swimming opportunities, I assume this was reference to the Folkestone walk.
I’ve missed the train so half an hour late, if anyone is in the same shoes. See you at Balcombe
7 off the train at Balcombe (including one walker with a dog). 1 walker later struck out alone for a Balcombe circular walk. There were several streams and ponds/lakes and it was largely through a mix of pine and deciduous woodland which kept the temperature bearable, as it was a hot and sticky day. Some parts were pretty challenging due to the nettles and brambles which had sprung up since Dirk last walked it in April. A few people inevitably ended up with scratched limbs. There were a few sections of this walk which would be quite muddy in the autumn/winter. Lunch was at the Wheatsheaf pub, a quirky place with a multitude of eccentric decorations, a live parrot at the bar (perched outside of its cage saying the occasional ‘hello’), stuffed animals on an overhead shelf, numerous models such as aeroplanes hung from the ceiling etc, etc. It is spacious and friendly but the food is pretty average pub grub. Outside there is a large garden with a children's play area. Also a lovely verandah, shaded by vines, and there we had lunch. At that point, 2 more walkers turned up, they had come by car and done a circular nearby. Talk then turned to the new/old SWC Scotland trip; they didn’t join us for the afternoon part of the walk, which was about 10 miles. However, 2 more walkers then also appeared to join us for lunch, they’d missed the appointed train, so there were 8 walkers in the afternoon. We finished in Horsham with a drink at a pub whose name I can’t remember, the pub was pretty busy with darts players and the remnants of the World Cup Final viewers but there was a quiet outside area. 5.50pm train back to London. Lovely walk Dirk – thanks for devising/posting.
Apologies, obviously not the World Cup Final...but England's pretty miserable effort against Belgium for third place. Several disillusioned England fans venting their spleen in the pub...!
8 (I think) hot and sticky
Ref lunch and picnic eaters (as the lunch write up was pretty pub centric); the sandwich eaters ate at the scenic lake just before the pub, there were a few benches overlooking the lake. When you get to the Wheatsheaf pub there is nowhere really to sit and eat sandwiches as it’s on a main road/T junction.