Eridge to Forest Row and East Grinstead walk

Along the High Weald Landscape Trail to some attractive villages in the upper Medway Valley.

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.

Date Post # Weather
Sat, 07-Aug-21 Saturday walk - Eridge to Forest Row or East Grinstead - a gentle walk in the Weald 11 Wet
Sat, 25-Jan-20 Saturday walk - Eridge to East Grinstead 21 cloudy
Sat, 24-Nov-18 Saturday walk - Eridge to Forest Row or East Grinstead 11 Overcast
Wed, 10-Oct-18 Wednesday Walk - The Sussex Weald: Eridge to Forest Row or East Grinstead 13 hot
Sat, 22-Apr-17 Saturday Walk - Bluebells and Wealden views
Sat, 28-Mar-15 Eridge to Forest Row 30
Sat, 28-Mar-15 Eridge to East Grinstead
Sat, 28-Sep-13 Eridge to Forest Row 19
Sat, 28-Sep-13 Eridge to East Grinstead
Sat, 02-Mar-13 Eridge to Forest Row 29
Sun, 23-Sep-12 Eridge to Forest Row
Sat, 07-May-11 Eridge to East Grinstead
Sat, 07-Aug-21
Saturday walk - Eridge to Forest Row or East Grinstead - a gentle walk in the Weald
Length: 17.5km (10.9 miles) or 21.5km (13.4 miles): see Extending the walk below T=SWC.109
10.07 train from London Bridge (10.22 East Croydon) to Eridge, arriving 11.03
Best ticket; The walk author's advice is to buy a day return to East Grinstead. This is apparently a tad more expensive than a day return to Eridge, and, since East Grinstead has barriers and Eridge does not, is more hassle-free. If your ticket is checked on board the train on the outward journey, explain you are doing a walk. In extremis, you might get charged a single from Hurst Green (where the lines divide) to Eridge.
For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.
This is a gentle little walk in a pretty part of the Weald, with enough upping and downing to justify that cream cake at the end, but nothing too taxing.
Pingdemic staff shortages permitting, you have a choice for lunch of the Dorset Arms in Withyham after 4.9 miles (somewhat posher) or the Anchor Inn in Hartfield 1.5 miles later (not so posh): both have outside seating if the weather allows. The Pooh Corner Tea Room (ex Piglet's Pantry, Kanga's Canteen etc) in Hartfield is an option for lighter refreshment.
For tea the nicest option is perhaps Tablehurst Farm, just before Forest Row, which has a shop selling cakes and stuff as well as tea and outside tables to consume them at. Otherwise there are numerous options in Forest Row including a Costa Coffee if you are desperate....
You then need to get a number 270 or 291 bus to East Grinstead station (20 mins or so) at 16.22, 16.46, 17.22, 17.45, 18.34, 18.39, 19.28 or 19.48 which connect with trains from East Grinstead at 06 and 36 past.
Extending the walk:
The way to extend this walk described in the walk directions is to walk up the old railway line from Forest Row to East Grinstead, a walk of 3.4 miles, which lengthens the walk to 14.3 miles
A slightly shorter and much more interesting idea is to switch to the East Grinstead Circular walk at Cansiron Lane: see the instructions in paragraph 31 the walk directions for the Eridge to Forest Row. This takes you on a fine high route along quiet lanes, before descending across a valley and climbing up to East Grinstead, which has lots of tea options. This route is 13.4 miles from Eridge (a bit less to East Grinstead's tea options, which are about half a mile before the station). To do this you will need either pages 9-11 of the East Grinstead Circular walk directions or the GPX for the main afternoon route, or you can follow the route on this map.
  • 07-Aug-21

    Wet . I was wondering on the way home if this was the wettest walk I have ever been on. Probably not in persistence - there were a few dry and even sunny intervals. But the intensity of the downpours was extraordinary - positively tropical at times. It was as well it was summer, when being soaked to the skin does not feel so uncomfortable.

    That said, the most memorable moment of the day was an unexpected burst of sunshine. There had been 10 of us at the start, and eight of us were having lunch in what I assumed was a back room of the Dorset Arms in Withyham when the roof unexpectedly rolled back and revealed intense blue skies. It turned out we were on a kind of back patio with a retractable awning. Hats and sunglasses were donned and for twenty minutes we were bathed in golden warmth.

    It did not last, alas. The morning was a paddle across fields, a wade down flooded tracks, and the afternoon was the same. Hopes of better weather were raised and then dashed, then raised and dashed again. One walker, who was participating in a sporting event on the morrow, got the bus at Hartfield: two of us never got there at all, because we went totally wrong due to inattention to the GPX and map. We ended up on a farm that was definitely not on any right of way and had to sheepishly exit it by its entrance drive, earning a sharp look from a passing motorist. We then improvised a route to loop back up onto the walk.

    At Tablehurst Farm there was a gorgeous flock of free-range turkeys, making a cute crooning noise and pecking curiously at the wildflowers in an orchard. I advised them not to cast their votes for Christmas. In Forest Row the devastation wrought by Covid was all too visible. Taffels gone. Costa Coffee gone. But the Java and Jazz place has stepped up and now offers excellent cakes and delicious sausage rolls (I had a pork and orange marmalade one). As we consumed our purchases outside, a passing storm tried to murder the canopy above us.

    Four others went to the Hop Brewery and we two lost souls met up with them on the 18.03 bus, whose passenger numbers we increased sevenfold. “Supplies” were got and we had a comfortable journey back to the Smoke, discussing the seating qualities of various types of trains.

  • 08-Aug-21

    Another walker got there 11.07 train, apparently, and completed the walk, so 11

Sat, 25-Jan-20
Saturday walk - Eridge to East Grinstead
Length: 17.5km (10.9 miles) or 21.5km (13.4 miles) T=3.109
Toughness: 5 out of 10

10.07 train from London Bridge (10.22 East Croydon) to Bridge, arriving 11.03

Best ticket; The walk author's advice is to buy a day return to East Grinstead. This is apparently a tad more expensive than a day return to Eridge, and, since East Grinstead has barriers and Eridge does not, is more hassle free. If your ticket is checked on board the train on the outward journey, explain you are doing a walk. In extremis, you might get charged a single from Hurst Green (where the lines divide) to Eridge.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.

I know, I know. It is a walk poster's maxim that one should never post Weald walks in winter because they are too muddy. But with South Western Railway apparently locked in a never ending series of major engineering works, ruling out all Waterloo walks, my list of relatively mud-free walks is getting thin. This walk keeps a lot to high ground, and it has not been raining that much recently so ground might be dry: but don't wear trainers.

For lunch you have a choice of the Dorset Arms in Withyham after 4.9 miles or the Anchor Inn in Hartfield 1.5 miles later. The walk then arcs over the hills to descend to Forest Row, where tea options are numerous and include Taffels, open till 5pm, and a Costa Coffee open till 6.30pm.

You then need to get a number 270 or 291 bus to East Grinstead station (12-15 mins) at 16.03, 16.27, 17.04, 17.26, 18.03, 18.38, 18.57, 19.46, 19.52 or 21.14, which connect with trains from East Grinstead at 06 and 36 past.

Extending the walk:

The standard way to extend this walk is to walk up the old railway line from Forest Row to East Grinstead, a walk of 3.4 miles, which lengthens the walk to 14.3 miles, and which is easily doable in the dark, but a slightly shorter and much more interesting idea is to switch to the East Grinstead Circular (SWC walk 40) at Cansiron Lane: see the instructions at the end of section 7 in the walk directions. This takes you on a fine high route along quiet lanes, before descending across a valley and climbing up to East Grinstead, which has lots of tea options. This route is 13.4 miles from Eridge (a bit less to East Grinstead's tea options, which are about half a mile before the station).

To do this you will need either pages 9-11 of the East Grinstead Circular walk directions or the GPX for the main afternoon route, or you can follow the route on this map.
  • 24-Jan-20

    Or instead of tea, the real ale micropub, The Open Arms, 51 Railway Approach, East Grinstead RH19 1BT

  • 24-Jan-20

    Also the excellent Hop Yard Brewing in Forest Row. Craft not real.

  • 25-Jan-20

    Also the excellent Hop Yard Brewing in Forest Row. Craft not real.

  • 25-Jan-20

    No cider in Open Arms. However Engine Room excellent for cider, beer and atmosphere.https://theengineroomeg.com/

  • 25-Jan-20

    21 on this walk, including one or two newbies, on a cloudy day. Was it muddy? Yes and no. For fairly long stretches the paths were remarkably firm, particularly in the woods. But there were the inevitable gloop-fests near gates and stiles. On the whole no more than averagely taxing for a winter walk, though.

    Lots of deer fences had been put up mid morning, and at one point we had to cross one by scaling a two metre high ladder of planks put there for the purpose. Some did this with ease and others of us showed our age. The time taken to do the climb inevitably spread the group out.

    The Dorset Arms has lots of reserved tables but our resident Stargazer charmed them into giving us a couple of them: around eleven of us ate there. A rather red meat-biased menu (the revolution is coming, guys!...) but efficient service. They even let us order at the bar: a rare treat. I am not sure if any others ate at the Anchor or what the sandwichistas did (bar one, who did join us). Feel free to file a separate report.

    Onwards and upwards, into the snow-capped Wealden Alps. Tiny bluebell shoots in the woods. Snowdrops in Withyham churchyard about half out.

    At the decision point on Cansiron Lane there was a lot of muttering about Forest Row, but eight held firm and did the longer route into East Grinstead. There was not quite enough daylight left for this, but doing the last climb up into the town in the thickening dark, with mist arising all around, was very atmospheric. The newbies joined us on this leg, which is very game of them.

    We rendezvoused (that’s your actual French) with some of the Forest Row finishers in The Crown in old East Grinstead, and had a jolly time before getting the 7.06 train. One also called at the Open Arms and possibly got the 6.36.

  • Anonymous
    26-Jan-20

    It is possible to avoid climbing over the deer fence as there is a gate if you go back about 400 metres. At this point instead of going through the big gate (route taken by the group) take the smaller gate to the right of it where there is a footpath marker.

  • 26-Jan-20

    1 sandwicher and 2 pubbers left the Dorset Arms earlier than the others and walked to Forest Row. 3 became 2 at the fishpond – hope that person got to Forest Row OK. Arrived in Forest Row around 5.30 and one person got the bus to E Grinstead . I walked from Forest Row to E G on the cycle track- very dark and very spooky. Got the 7.06 train too.

Sat, 24-Nov-18
Saturday walk - Eridge to Forest Row or East Grinstead
Length: 17.5km (10.9 miles), with possible extension to 21.5km (13.4 miles) or 23km (14.3 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10. T=3.109

10.07 train from London Bridge (10.22 East Croydon) to Eridge, arriving 11.03.

Buy a day return to Eridge. This is often accepted for return from East Grinstead (a different branch of the same line) but if not you would only need to buy a single three stops to Hurst Green, where the two routes join.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

This walk had a Wednesday outing just over a month ago but it is 19 months since the workers had a chance to do it. It is a simple and pleasant walk along the High Weald Landscape Trail, with fine views at times. In winter the Weald can get very muddy but it is not quite winter yet and so far paths have been quite firm (famous last words!!).

For lunch the favoured locale is usually the Dorset Arms in Withyham after five miles, but a slightly later alternative another 1.5 miles further on is the Anchor Inn in Hartfield. In Forest Row there are now tea options galore, even including a Costa Coffee, but it is hard to beat the ever-friendly Taffels.

To end the walk in Forest Row (10.9 miles) catch a 270 or 291 bus to East Grinstead from outside the Brambletye Hotel at 16.03, 16.27, 17.04, 17.26, 18.03, 18.35, 18.57, 19.46, 21.14.

These buses go all the way to East Grinstead station, from where trains return at 06 and 36 past

A possible EXTENSION to the walk is to walk from Forest Row to East Grinstead. If you follow the route in the walk directions, which goes up the old railway line, this is a gentle walk uphill along a broad track, adding 5.5km (3.4 miles) to the walk, making a total walk of 23km (14.3 miles). This route is easy to follow even in the dark (with a full moon to help if skies are clear) and the last mile or so is in any case through the lit streets of the centre of East Grinstead.

Another slightly shorter way to extend the walk is to switch at Cansiron Lane, the end of section 7 in the walk directions, to SWC walk 40, East Grinstead Circular. Directions for this option are here (starting in paragraph 133) and you need pages 9-11 of the document. GPX file here. This makes a total walk from Eridge of 21.5km (13.4 miles), including about a mile through East Grinstead to the station. You miss out the tea options in Forest Row but there are plenty in East Grinstead, mentioned in paragraphs 142-145 of the direction.

  • Anonymous
    22-Nov-18

    Hi, I want to print the directions but the type is scrunched up in a wide column on the left of the page - can this be re-formatted so the instructions use the whole page.

    Thanks !

  • 22-Nov-18

    Sorry about this. This appears to be a glitch on the site. The link has now been changed to go to the home page of the walk where the directions are at the bottom of the page in html. This should - cross fingers - print like any web page.

  • 22-Nov-18

    Back on a sunny day, a group of us enjoyed the Hop Yard Brewery in Forest Row.

  • 25-Nov-18

    11=n on this walk. Overcast throughtout the day, but a lovely walk nonetheless. Two people had lunch in the Dorset Arms, and the remainder had lunch in the Anchor Inn, very nice with fires or had sandwiches outside.

    We then pushed onto Forest Row, where some people took the bus back to East Grinstead, two walked to East Grinstead rather than come into Forest Row. Three of us had tea in Taffells and then a spooky walk back to E Grinstead along the old railway line, and caught the 6.36 train back.

    A very nice day out.

  • Anonymous
    25-Nov-18

    11

Wed, 10-Oct-18
Wednesday Walk - The Sussex Weald: Eridge to Forest Row or East Grinstead
Length: 17.5 km (10.9 mi) or 22.8 km (14.2 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 359/296 to Grinstead; Net Walking Time: 4 ¼ hours or 5 ½ hours
Toughness: 5/10 or 6/10
Take the 10.07 Uckfield train from London Bridge (East Croydon 10.22), arrives Eridge 11.03.
Return trains from East Grinstead: xx.06 and xx.36.
Buy an East Grinstead return (you may then have to buy a single Oxted – Eridge ticket on board).
After leaving the rural station at Eridge – shared with steam trains on the Spa Valley Railway – you are soon in the undulating countryside typical of the High Weald. At Mottsmill Stream the walk joins the High Weald Landscape Trail and follows this long-distance path through the Buckhurst Estate, with a glimpse of its grand house, Buckhurst Park. As you leave the estate you enter the small village of Withyham with its notable parish church, and the pub lunch the Dorset Arms.
A short stretch then takes you to the neighbouring village of Hartfield, associated with the author AA Milne and his most famous creation: coachloads of tourists regularly descend on Pooh Corner to buy all manner of Winnie-the-Pooh memorabilia. The walk then crosses the River Medway and climbs up the other side of the valley, with fine views across to Ashdown Forest. The descent into Forest Row goes through the co-operative enterprise of Tablehurst Farm.
You can either finish the walk here or complete an Extended Walk up the long gentle incline of the Forest Way, a popular cycle route along the track bed of a disused railway line. The hilltop town of East Grinstead has many old buildings dating back to the 14thC, including Sackville College (a Jacobean almshouse) and the imposing St Swithun's Church.
Lunch: The Dorset Arms in Withyham (8.0 km/5.0 mi, lunch served to 14.30).
Tea: plenty options in Forest Row and Grinstead, check the webpage for details.
For summary, map, height profile, photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.109
  • Graham
    13-Oct-18

    13 , hot and sunny

    We hit the jackpot with this beautiful walk in perfect conditions.

    Despite it being mid October and the leaves changing colour, we walked as if in high summer.

    The Dorset Arms provided high quality lunches for 10 of us.

    We all kept together in the afternoon, stopping at Tablehurst Farm for refreshments. Arriving at Forest Row by 5pm.

    Hop Yard Brewing Company supplied further sustenance for 7 of us.

    Finally catching the bus to East Grinstead for the 18.36 train, to complete a great day.

Sat, 22-Apr-17
Saturday Walk - Bluebells and Wealden views
SWC Walk 109 - Eridge to Forest Row or East Grinstead
Length: 17.5km (10.9 miles) or 23km (14.3 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

10.08 train from London Bridge (10.22 East Croydon) to Eridge, arriving 11.03

Buy a day return to Eridge. On the return leg you technically need to buy a single from East Grinstead for the three stops to Hurst Green (where the outbound and return routes diverge, but if you ask at the ticket barrier they often let you through as both lines are operated by Southern. Point out that Eridge is a bit further from London than East Grinstead.

For walk directions click here

This walk along the High Weald Landscape Trail passes through several nice little bluebell woods in the morning and one in the afternoon. There are also some pleasant views both before and after lunch, and a wide choice of tea places in Forest Row, including a farm shop with outside tables and homemade cakes just before the village.

In theory there are two pub choices for lunch, but you might be advised to get into the first one, the Dorset Arms in Wythyham, if at all possible, since I see that a 28-strong Meet Up Group is lunching at the second pub, the Anchor Inn in Hartfield. (Blast 'em! Normally I avoid clashes of this kind, but they are getting the train an hour earlier than us, so we will probably not encounter them.) In extremis, the cutsey Piglet's Tearoom in Hartfield could doubtless provide some sustenance - and isn't there another cafe too, The Pantry?

If you are finishing the walk in Forest Row (the 10.9 mile version) you have to take a 270 or 291 bus from there to East Grinstead station: these run at 15.58, 16.27, 16.59, 17.26, 18.04, 18.35, 19.03, 19.49, 21.14 and 22.44.

Otherwise it is an easy 3.4 mile stroll up the old railway line to East Grinstead for the full 14.3 mile walk.

*** Another option, which as far as I know has never been tried, is to switch to SWC Walk 40 in the afternoon at Cansiron Lane (end of section 7) and then follow its route into East Grinstead. This bypasses Forest Row but brings you to tea options in East Grinstead and makes a total walk from Eridge of 13.6 miles. To do this, print pages 8-10 of this document. Once heading west on Cansiron Lane, SWC 40 joins up a driveway from the left in 600 metres: your next direction is then paragraph 73 on page 8 of the SWC 40 document.
Trains back from East Grinstead go at 07 and 37 past until late.
T=3.109
  • Anonymous
    20-Apr-17

    might do this ..anyone else pls?

  • 20-Apr-17

    I am sure it will be a popular walk, do not worry

  • 20-Apr-17

    I intend to do this one

  • Anonymous
    21-Apr-17

    Me ... sounds superb!!

  • Anonymous
    21-Apr-17

    myself and one v.well behaved canine hoping to come along..I'm sure that's fine with you Walker ?

  • 21-Apr-17

    No, no objections

  • Anonymous
    21-Apr-17

    Thanks walker!