Have your treats ready, please

East Grinstead Circular

29-Feb-08 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk40

Brambletye House

East Grinstead Circular

29-Feb-08 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk40

Brambletye House

East Grinstead Circular

29-Feb-08 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk40

Over a stone bridge

East Grinstead Circular

29-Feb-08 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk40

Blair Witch stuff

East Grinstead Circular

29-Feb-08 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk40


East Grinstead Circular

29-Feb-08 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk40

East Grinstead Circular

The ruins of Brambletye House. D.Allen Vivitar 5199mp

01-Mar-08 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk40

East Grinstead Circular walk

Two walks in classic Weald territory, with an optional visit to the National Trust property of Standen


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: Thu, 17-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 27-Oct-18 17

Saturday walk - East Grinstead Circular

Length: 17.9km (10.9 miles) or 20.2km (12.5 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.51 train from Victoria (9.58 Clapham Junction, 10.10 East Croydon) to East Grinstead, arriving 10.50. T=3.40

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

Just to be clear, this walk was given a whole new morning route a couple of years ago, which is the one we will be doing today. The old shorter route across the fields to lunch got a reputation for being rather muddy in winter: but this is a completely different route, going out past the National Trust-run Standen.

Mud should in any case not be a problem today, which is one reason to give this pleasant and varied Wealden walk an airing now. It should make a good autumn outing, with a mix of small woods and open fields.

There are oodles of lunch options in Forest Row and after lunch you can choose between the main walk ending over gentle hills back to East Grinstead (the 10.9 mile version), or if you want to make the best use of the daylight on the last day of British Summer Time (it won't be light again till this late until late February), there is the longer afternoon route (the 12.5 mile version) which loops around the bottom of Bewl Water Reservoir, with a possible tea stop at Standen. On the main route you come back to East Grinstead High Street where there are plenty of places for tea.

Trains back are at 6 and 36 past the hour.
I was thinking of joining this one on Saturday, SWR permitting, but I'm struggling to understand the map. Is the purple line the short morning and long afternoon? Sorry if I'm being dim.
Yes. The purple line is the short morning and long afternoon and the green line is the “main walk”
17 on this walk, I hear, with 3 doing the longer afternoon. If anyone who was on the walk wants to post a more detailed report, please do
Didn't do a count up at the station but 17 sounds about right. Initial sunny spells becoming more overcast as the day progressed with a chilly breeze.

The Chequers Inn Hotel the recommended lunch time stop looked somewhat forlorn when I walked in: just one other customer tucked away in a side room, no one behind the bar and a sprinkling of Halloween decorations trying their best to brighten the place up. An overheard conversation between the owner(?) and a subsequent customer suggested that it had been without a chef for a while and had only recently started serving food again. That said, the veg lasagne I ordered from the specials menu was very good, though it bore more resemblance to a ricotta filled cannelloni (also on the specials menu) covered in a tomato and béchamel sauce, and the salad it was supposed to come with never appeared.

While I sat waiting for my food I saw half a dozen of our number sandwich eaters I think pass on the other side of the road, never to be seen again, at least not by me. The main contingent of our motley crew arrived some time later, bringing some much needed life to the pub, but by that time I had finished my meal (and a very nice pint of Harveys) and was keen to be on my way.

Two of us left the pub together and save for passing one late (or early?) starter encountered no other members of our group on the walk back to East Grinstead. On reaching the centre she stopped of for some retail therapy whilst I pressed on for the train, stopping at the Bluebell Railway buffet carriage (very cosy looking) next to the station for a takeaway tea and cake.

As to wildlife, Walker will no doubt be interested to know that it was limited to the odd buzzard, jackdaws, pigeons, cows (various), sheep and some fine saddleback and British Lop(?) pigs in a barn behind the farm shop and café just outside Forest Row.

Not a walk that I particularly enjoyed, though that probably had more to do with my mood and the weather than any shortcomings in the route. On which subject …

… the fenced orchard referred to para 42 of the instructions as being "to your right" in in fact to the left. And in a similar vein, in para 123 the instruction to "Veer slightly left across it [the field], to exit it in 130 metres by its far left hand corner." should read "Veer slightly right across it to exit it in 130 metres by its far right hand corner."

I was in the "main contingent" and the group on the longer afternoon. Not much to add though, we went slightly astray near the phone mast in the morning hence the late arrival at lunch; I agree the proprietor of the Chequers only just seemed to be holding things together. Also agree that the walk wasn't a classic but the encroaching gloom didn't help. The three of us got to East Grinstead just before 5, failed to find an open tea shop and resorted to a swift half in the Ship before a surprisingly long walk back to the station; still got the 1736 though.
Trail notes the stiles at the start of paras 181 and 182 are now solid metal gates and the field is a vineyard. Follow the left hand edge to get to the second gate.
Sat, 27-May-17 15

East Grinstead Circular - new morning + longer afternoon

SWC walk 40 - East Grinstead Circular (Weir Reservoir Circular option)
Length: 20.6km (12.8 miles) - short walk visiting Standen also possible: see below
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.53 train from Victoria (9.59 Clapham Junction, 10.10 East Croydon) to East Grinstead, arriving 10.48

For walk directions click here.

Back in 2015 I created a new morning route for this walk - rehashing some old elements, introducing some new ones - hoping it would be less muddy in winter. It was tried in January 2016 and proved just as muddy as the old route.

Since then it has languished in obscurity, so it now gets its first spring/summer outing. Mud will be no problem at this time of year and the route takes you past Standen, the National Trust property, mid morning. If you fancy doing a proper visit to this (after all, it is bank holiday weekend) see the Tourist option below.

The walk document contains two interlocking East Grinstead circulars, and in the morning we will be doing is the Anticlockwise walk - page 4 of the directions. This gets you to lunch in Forest Row in 9km (5.6 miles). The Chequers Inn is the obvious choice here: last time some of us tried the Swan but I don't remember being that impressed: there is also the Brambletye Hotel and the Java and Jazz Pizzeria, so you won't starve.

After lunch I propose switching to the clockwise walk - see paragraph 37 on page 13. This is the former "longer afternoon" of the East Grinstead walk, which takes you around the Weir Wood Reservoir, with some nice views, and then back to Standen, which you might just get to in time for tea. There is some slight overlap with the morning route, but only for a short section. Other tea options are the Old Dunnings Mill pub, or - less romantically - the Starbucks in the Sainsbury's by the station. Instructions are also included to take you up into the old centre of East Grinstead for more tea options.

Trains back from East Grinstead are at 07 and 37 past until late

Tourist options

If you want to make a proper visit to Standen, several options are outlined on page 3 of the walk document. Option i) uses the out and back routes of the anticlockwise and clockwise walk to make a 7.2km (4.5 mile) circular walk and ii) simply involves doing the anticlockwise morning, with a Standen visit in the middle: this is 9.3km (5.8 miles). You then take one of the very regular buses from Forest Row back to East Grinstead: eg at 16.27, 17.04, 17.26, 18.04, 18.35, 18.57, 19.49, 21.14.

You could also do the Standen visit, have tea in Forest Row, then carry on to finish the anticlockwise walk, which is 18.1km (11.2 miles)

15 on this walk: more possibly set out for it and got stymied by the closure of Victoria tube station due to "passenger action" in the half hour before the train was due to leave. As it was, two managed to catch up the original 13, having been forced onto later trains.

It was not quite the blazing hot sunny day forecast, but actually the bright cloud with some sun, combined with fresher temperatures than of late, was perfectly pleasant. At Standen four peeled off to make a detailed visit to the National Trust house and gardens. I got separated from the rest at this point when I stopped to wait for one of those who had missed the train, so I hope the others enjoyed the rest of the walk (feel free to file your own report). The two of us had a lovely day, with beautiful buttercup meadows, pleasant sits to enjoy views, and one or two butterflies.

While most lunched at the Chequer's Inn, we tried the Java and Jazz Pizzeria which did very nice pasta, served quickly. We just arrived at Standen too late for tea but this also had the good effect that we went up into Old East Grinstead where CJ's Cafe Bar which has been recommended to me before but which I have never tried proved an excellent tea stop. It has a good cake selection and an upstairs terrace with a direct view out over the churchyard.

It seemed too nice an evening (and time of year) to rush home, so we walked up the old railway line to the west of East Grinstead station for a short walk to listen to the evening birdsong. Then the 9.07 home.
Sat, 16-Jan-16 26

Saturday Second Walk - East Grinstead Circular with NEW MORNING ROUTE

SWC Walk 40 - East Grinstead Circular with NEW morning route
Length: 18.1km (11.2 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.53 train from Victoria (9.59 Clapham Junction, 10.10 East Croydon) to East Grinstead, arriving 10.48.

For walk directions click here - you only need pages 1-10 since we will be doing the "winter walk".

The East Grinstead Circular has gained a terrible reputation as a winter walk in recent years due to fearsomely muddy fields near its start. I must be a bit touched in the head because back in the summer I set out to create a new winter start that would be drier underfoot. I stress "drier", not "dry" because this is the Weald and it is January, but I did my best to pick paths that were high and to use tarmac or gravel tracks as much as possible.

Will this actually work? The only way to find out is by giving it a test in full winter conditions. I am "cheating" a bit because if the forecast is right the ground may be partly frozen today. But we shall see.... C'mon. I appeal to your sense of adventure....

The other advantages of this new start is that it is a bit longer than the old one, and you pass the National Trust property of Standen quite early on, which amazingly is open today if anyone wants to visit it. (You could have a look at the house and grounds, have lunch there and then finish your walk in Forest Row, the lunch stop on the main walk and get a frequent bus back to East Grinstead from there: this makes a short walk of 9.3km/5.8 miles)

Lunch is in familiar old Forest Row, but since we are trying new things today, we might eschew the familiar old Chequers Inn and try one of the other pubs in the town - eg the Brambletye Hotel on the other side of the road just down the hill, or the Swan ditto but up the hill.

The afternoon is the familiar afternoon of the East Grinstead walk - I say familiar, but so rarely did anyone stick with this walk to do the afternoon that it might be a novelty to most of you. It has a long dry section on lanes and tracks in its middle with nice views. East Grinstead has nice pub and tea opportunites.

Trains back are at 07 and 37 past until as late as you like.
26 on this walk on a day of lovely sunshine and sun through high cloud. A beautiful day out in lovely company, but OK, OK, OK, the new "winter" morning route did not quite make the grade. Quite large bits of it were firm and dry, but where it crossed fields there was a tendency for boots to sink down 6 inches into the gloop. Luckily this was mitigated by frozen or part frozen ground in lots of places, but in our new "normal" 13 degree winter temperatures it would have been distressing.

Having said this, am I allowed to say as the walk author, that I thought the new morning route delightful, and I think it will make a lovely spring, summer or autumn route? At least two people took advantage of the fact that it passes the National Trust property at Standen early on to visit that house another big advantage of the new route.

Our experiment with untried pubs in Forest Row was also mixed. The Swan was comfortable and pleasant, but its food was priced at the gourmet end and then turned out to be more of corner cafe quality. You don't expect to get cheap MacDonald's style fries with a £15 fish and chips, nor pre sliced factory bread with a pub sandwich. Either food quality or the price points need to change. Ho hum.

These minor niggles were shrugged off in a very nice afternoon, largely firm underfoot, when the sun, which had been a bit hidden by cloud around lunchtime, reappeared. A few gloopy fields towards the end were thankfully freezing solid by the time we crossed them. We got to East Grinstead just in time for dusk (always nice to feel one has made full use of the day). Some of us tried a new tea place in the centre called Agora, but I found it a bit pedestrian. It is not often you find me wishing I had gone to Caffe Nero....
Sat, 19-Sep-15 12

Saturday Second Walk - Gentle hills with views of a lake

SWC walk 40 - East Grinstead Circular with alternative afternoon
Length: 11.2 miles (18.1 km)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.53 train from Victoria (9.59 Clapham Junction, 10.11 East Croydon) to East Grinstead, arriving 10.48

For walk directions click here.

The standard East Grinstead Circular is a very pleasant walk which has suffered in walkers' perceptions in recent years because of several outings in winter when its initial descent across fields has proved very muddy**. But the fields are dry as a bone at this time of year, and even if we do have some heavy rain this week it should quickly soak in/evapourate (it takes a couple of months for the Wealden fields to build up their characteristic winter squelch).

So this is an attempt to rescue this walk's reputation - long overdue as it has many delights, including a mansion which has been lying in ruins since the 17th century. Those who have done this route previously will also be pleased to hear that the Chequers Inn in Forest Row, the usual lunch pub, has recovered from its deep funk and now seems to be offering a large and varied menu. There are in any case oodles of other options nearby.

This is also a chance to do the longer afternoon route (the 11.2 mile version of the walk: though if anyone wants to do the shorter main route instead I won't tell the teacher). The alternative afternoon takes you to around the Weir Wood Reservoir (though with distant views of it rather than close encounters) and up to Standen, a National Trust property. If you can get here before it closes at 5pm you can have tea in its tea room. If not, the walk offers lots of other options.

Trains back from East Grinstead are at 07 and 37 past till late.

** Out of interest, a completely new winter start to the walk has been researched and will be trialled later in the year. This will also allow one to make a morning visit to Standen in the summer months.

12 sunny warm
I'm not entirely sure how to add meta data to this comment! Anyway, on the East Grinstead Circular there were 12 people. The walk poster had promised it would be dry underfoot, however, it was actually quite muddy in parts. This was the first time I had done this walk and was presently surprised how pretty it was. The reservoir looked particularly attractive in the sun. One walker asked, with impeccably good manners, whether we could have tea and cakes in the National Trust property and they thankfully said yes. All in all an enjoyable walk with good company. Thank you 'Walker' for posting it before the mud builds up to such an extent, to make it, shall we say, challenging!
Sun, 16-Aug-15 9

Classic Weald walk

Free walk 40a East Grinstead circular via Weir Wood reservoir
18.1km (11.2m); toughness 4/10
Trains: London Victoria 09.53 (Clapham Junction 09.58, East Croydon 10.09) arrives East Grinstead 10.47. Return trains at xx:12 and xx:42 to London Victoria.
A walk in classic Weald countryside of woods, hills, and open fields. Your recommended lunch time hostelry is the Chequers Inn in Forest Row, 6.1km into the walk.

See here for the pdf walk instructions and further details about the walk.
9 w= dull with light rain . 7 men and 2 women. The other chap first walked with NA 25 years ago! Weather disappointing and by the afternoon we had a light drizzle for the rest of the day. Still we had an excellent days walking and we all did the longer tour around the reservoir.(You could take a path on the other side of the reservoir where you are much closer to the water and thus avoid a lot of road walking so if you have a map this could be worth checking out.
The path across the first fields you enter are now enclosed (fences put up 6 weeks ago) so no problems there with direction finding. On other sections of the walk you have to pay attention with some stiles well hidden.
The Chequers Inn was virtually empty (Is it long for this world?) but there are other options on the High Street in Forest Row with the Swann a fairly posh looking place near the church a possibility.)
Refreshing tea at Standens and then the 5.12pm train home
In fact 7 women & 2 men!
Thanks. I really must check my posts before hitting send!!
Wed, 19-Nov-14 East Grinstead Circular
Sat, 08-Feb-14 13 East Grinstead Circular
Sun, 10-Nov-13 16 East Grinstead Circular
Sun, 07-Apr-13 16 East Grinstead Circular (alternative route, via Weir Wood Reservoir)
Wed, 21-Nov-12 East Grinstead Circular
Sat, 25-Feb-12 East Grinstead Circular
Wed, 07-Dec-11 East Grinstead Circular
Sat, 09-Jul-11 East Grinstead Circular (alternative route, via Weir Wood Reservoir)
Sat, 08-Jan-11 East Grinstead Circular
Wed, 03-Nov-10 East Grinstead Circular
Sat, 27-Mar-10 East Grinstead Circular
Sat, 26-Sep-09 East Grinstead Circular (short walk)
Sat, 18-Jul-09 East Grinstead Circular (clockwise route)
Sat, 28-Mar-09 East Grinstead Circular (short walk)
Sun, 01-Mar-09 East Grinstead Circular (short walk)
Wed, 03-Dec-08 East Grinstead Circular (short walk)
Sat, 07-Jun-08 East Grinstead Circular (clockwise route)
Sat, 01-Mar-08 East Grinstead Circular (short walk)