Eridge to Forest Row and East Grinstead walk

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

1006120029 St Michael and All Angels Church, Withyham

St Michael and All Angels Church, Withyham

Jun-10 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk109, swcwalks, walkicon 5589632014607747010 P

CIMG8799 Prize specimen

Prize specimen

Sep-13 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk109, swcwalks, walkicon 5929014861313269058 P

CIMG9278 Autumn colours on the Forest Way

Autumn colours on the Forest Way

Nov-13 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk109, swcwalk110, swcwalks, walkicon 5944941839342448786 P

CIMG9278 Autumn colours on the Forest Way

Autumn colours on the Forest Way

Nov-13 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk109, swcwalk110, swcwalks, walkicon 5944944200937193570 P

CIMG9825 Spring sunshine on Highams Wood, near Forest Row

Spring sunshine on Highams Wood, near Forest Row

Apr-17 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk109, swcwalks, walkicon 6412138687392977298 P

1006120017 The Dorset Arms, Withyham

The Dorset Arms, Withyham

Jun-10 • Sean O'Neill

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1006120033 Sackville Chapel, Withyham church

Sackville Chapel, Withyham church

Jun-10 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk109, swcwalk29, swcwalks 5482209715409413138 P

Eridge to Forest Row (or East Grinstead)

Main Walk, to Forest Row: 17½ km (10.9 miles). Four hours 20 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, buses, sights and meals, allow at least 9 hours.

Extended Walk, to East Grinstead: 23 km (14.3 miles). Five hours 40 minutes walking time.

OS Map

Explorer 135. Eridge, map reference TQ541347, is in East Sussex, 4 km NE of Crowborough. Forest Row is 4 km SE of East Grinstead, which is in West Sussex.


5 out of 10 (7 for the Extended Walk).


This walk makes no great claims to originality, much of it being along the High Weald Landscape Trail (HWLT). The beginning is the reverse of the Cowden to Eridge walk (#3) and it has the same extended finish as the Ashurst to East Grinstead walk (#110·x). Nevertheless, as long as the clay soils are not waterlogged it makes a pleasant outing in the High Weald, with nice places for lunch and tea.

After leaving the rural station at Eridge – shared with steam trains on the Spa Valley Railway – you are soon in undulating countryside typical of the High Weald. At Mottsmill Stream the walk joins the HWLT 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 a possible pub lunch at 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.

Buses to East Grinstead leave from the stop outside the Brambletye Hotel if you want to finish the walk here. Alternatively, you can complete an Extended Walk up the long gentle incline of the Forest Way, a popular cycle route along the trackbed of a disused railway line. The route through the hilltop town of East Grinstead goes past many old buildings dating back to the 14thC, including Sackville College (a Jacobean almshouse) and the imposing St Swithun's Church.

As with any walk in the High Weald, you will need to be prepared for muddy or waterlogged paths at almost any time of the year.

Walk Options

You can do a Shortened Walk by travelling to East Grinstead and then taking Metrobus 291 to either Withyham or Hartfield.

For a shorter walk after lunch you could head for Ashurst station, about 6 km away: use the directions in the Ashurst Circular walk (#29) from Hartfield or (in reverse) from Withyham. If you want to abandon the walk in one of these villages you could take bus 291 to East Grinstead.

For a longer and tougher walk after Hartfield you could switch to the more southerly route via Ashdown Forest in Walk #110.

At Cansiron Lane you could switch to the main afternoon route in the East Grinstead Circular walk (#40). This takes a more direct route to East Grinstead (bypassing Forest Row) and is about 1½ km shorter than the Extended Walk route.

You will need to print the directions for these additional options from the relevant walk document.


There is an hourly service from London Bridge to Eridge, taking 55 minutes. On Sundays you have to travel from Victoria and change at Oxted, with a longer journey time of around 75 minutes.

There is no station in Forest Row, so if you finish the walk there you will need to take a bus from the Brambletye stop up the hill to East Grinstead. Metrobus 270 & 291 alternate to provide a half-hourly service to around 7pm Mon–Sat, plus some later ones in the evening. On Sundays both services are two-hourly to around 6pm.

For the return train journey East Grinstead is on a different line from Eridge but it is also operated by Southern, with a half-hourly off-peak service to Victoria. The suggested ticket is a return to East Grinstead, which is slightly more expensive and likely to be accepted if checked on the outward journey (there are no ticket barriers at Eridge station).

If driving, there is no direct public transport between the two stations but you could park in Oxted or Hurst Green, where the two lines merge. Oxted station car park is free after 10am (although often full on weekdays).

Suggested Train

Take the train nearest to 10:00 from London Bridge to Eridge for the Main or Extended Walk. If you are doing a Shortened Walk, check the Metrobus 291 timetable and take a connecting train from Victoria to East Grinstead.

Train Times
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River Levels
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The suggested lunch place is the Dorset Arms (01892-770278) in Withyham, after 8 km. In 2014 this attractive old pub was bought by the Buckhurst Estate and fully refurbished; it has plenty of outdoor seating (including a new back garden) and serves good home-cooked food until 2.30pm (4pm Sun). The alternative is to continue for a further 2½ km to the Anchor Inn (01892-770424) in Hartfield.

If you are doing a Shortened Walk you could have lunch at one of the pubs in Forest Row, about 9½ km from Withyham and 7 km from Hartfield. As you go through the village you pass The Swan (01342-822627), the 15thC Chequers Inn Hotel (01342-823333) and The Bram Bar of the Brambletye Hotel (01342-824144).


Pooh fans could make an early stop in Hartfield for some of Kanga's ‘Strengthening Medicines’ at Piglet's Tearoom, and shortly before reaching Forest Row there is a Coffee Shop at Tablehurst Farm.

In Forest Row itself the walk route passes Seasons (01342-601010; open to 5pm Mon–Sat, 4pm Sun), an Organic Wholefoods café on Hartfield Road. There are several more places clustered along Hillside and the A22, including Cafe Coco (01342-823136; open to 5pm Mon–Sat, 4pm Sun) and Java & Jazz (01342-826699; open to 7.30pm Mon–Thu, 8.30pm Fri–Sat, 5pm Sun), a pizzeria, gelateria and coffee shop. For stronger fare there are the pubs listed above, plus the Hop Yard Brewing Co (01342-824272), a “music venue, bar and pop-up restaurant”.

East Grinstead is not short of places if you need further refreshment after walking up the hill to the town. Two suggested places almost opposite each other on the High Street are the Dorset Arms (01342-316363) at #58 and CJ’s Café Bar (01342-301910) at #55-57, which has a rooftop terrace overlooking the churchyard. You pass these on your way through the town and will need to allow a further 15 minutes to reach the station.

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Start TN3 9LE Map Directions

Finish Forest Row, Kent Map Directions


National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Traveline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234


Apr-24 Sean

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Walk Directions

The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
Eridge to Forest Row (or East Grinstead)

Click the heading below to show/hide the walk route for the selected option(s).

Walk Map 2: Hartfield to East Grinstead Walk Map 1: Eridge to Hartfield Walk Maps


Walk Options

Click on any option to show only the sections making up that route, or the heading above to show all sections.

  1. Main Walk, to Forest Row (17½ km)
  1. Extended Walk, to East Grinstead (23 km)
  2. Shortened Walk, from Withyham (15 km)
  3. Shortened Walk, from Hartfield (12½ km)

Walk Directions

Click on any section heading to switch between detailed directions and an outline, or the heading above to switch all sections.

If you take bus 291 from East Grinstead to Withyham, get off at the Dorset Arms stop and start at §E.

If you take bus 291 from East Grinstead to Hartfield, get off at the Church Street stop and start at §F.

  1. Eridge Station to Mottsmill Stream (2½ km)
    • Turn right out of the station, then right again into Forge Road. In 500m turn left onto a bridleway through Holden Wood. After passing driveways to several properties turn right onto the Sussex Border Path (SBP) and follow this over a hill and down past Rocks Farm into a valley, with Mottsmill Stream at the bottom.
    1. Leave the station – shared with the Spa Valley Railway? (SVR) – and turn right. In 50m turn right again into Forge Road, passing the station platforms on your right and heading in the same direction as London-bound trains.
    2. In 300m the road bends left to skirt around several large ponds. Ignore a driveway off to the left and follow the road down to the right, then back uphill. After it curves back to the left, fork left up a lane signposted to Motts Farm and other properties. Follow the lane past some of these houses, then through a wood.
    3. At the end of the wood ignore driveways on the right to Kentdale and then Motts Farm. 200m later, where the lane curves right towards another property, keep ahead on a rough track. 100m along this track, go over a new wooden footbridge on the right into a meadow, joining the Sussex Border Path? (SBP).
    4. Follow a grassy path uphill, passing a tree-lined pond on your right and gradually approaching Marchant Wood on your left. Keep ahead alongside a garden hedge and continue in the same direction across a field.
    5. Follow a clear path along the right-hand edge of the next field, then straight ahead across three more fields as you go over the brow of the hill. The path eventually leads you through a metal side gate in a belt of trees into a meadow. Keep right to go downhill, staying close to Rocks Wood on your right and passing through a gap in a line of trees halfway down.
  2. Mottsmill Stream to Lye Green (2 km)
    • Turn left to head south-west alongside Mottsmill Stream, leaving the SBP but joining the High Weald Landscape Trail (HWLT). Follow this trail along the bottom edge of a meadow, then up through woods and fields. Turn right to go past some houses at Park Grove and continue along their driveway to a road (Lye Green).
    1. At the bottom of the meadow turn sharp left to head SW alongside Mottsmill Stream, leaving the SBP but joining the High Weald Landscape Trail? (HWLT). In the corner cross the stream on a wooden footbridge and follow a potentially muddy path through a wood, soon climbing gently above the valley floor.
    2. In 250m go straight across a driveway, then in 25m turn left as indicated (with a “Private” notice ahead). Follow the path down a slope and back across the stream, then round to the right and up to a gate leading into a field. Go over a stile beside the gate and head uphill as directed towards another gate at the top of the field.
      • Ignore a stile down to the right, which leads to an ornamental temple in the private landscaped grounds of Penns in the Rocks? (the large house away to your left).
    3. Go over a stile beside the gate at the top and follow a woodland path uphill. As it levels out you pass a sandstone outcrop off to the right (which some walkers detour through). Continue through a grassy area dotted with trees to come to a new section of deer fencing.
    4. Go through a gate onto a broad grassy strip between these high fences. In about 100m go through another gate on the right-hand side of this strip to continue on a narrow path between the fenced strip and a wood.
    5. In a further 300m turn right through an easily-missed metal kissing gate in the tree boundary. Follow a grassy path across a field with a few fruit trees towards some houses. Use the HWLT waymarkers to find your way between them to a tarmac driveway and follow it out to a road (Lye Green).
  3. Lye Green to the Buckhurst Estate (1¾ • 1 km)
    • To stay on the HWLT, turn left briefly onto Lye Green and then follow the trail past Littlebrook and through Legg Wood to Whitehouse Farm. Turn right down a lane, cross over the B2188 and go up into the Buckhurst Estate.
      • Alternatively, turn right onto Lye Green and follow it for 500m to its junction with the B2188, then take the footpath opposite leading back to the HWLT.

      The next stretch of the HWLT includes an awkward dip in the ground which can be waterlogged. You can avoid this by taking the shorter and easier route in [?]; this includes 500m along a road with fast traffic, but there is a narrow grass verge all the way.

    1. Main route (1¾ km)

      1. To stay on the HWLT turn left and walk carefully along this road's grass verge for 100m, crossing over at some point. At a footpath signpost go through an easily-missed high metal gate in the hedge on the right.
      2. You now simply follow a broad grassy strip between deer fences for 500m, although you will probably have to negotiate a waterlogged stretch as you go through a dip and pass “Littlebrook” in the valley ahead. At the end of the deer fencing go through another high metal gate into a wood.
      3. Follow the woodland path as it curves round to the left, skirting around muddy patches as necessary. In 150m the path comes to a stile which you go over and turn right as indicated. Cross a wooden footbridge over a stream and follow the path to another stile at the edge of the wood.
      4. Cross the stile and keep ahead along the left-hand field edge. In the corner go over a stile beside a metal fieldgate and turn right onto a lane, which goes downhill to a T-junction with the B2188.
      5. Cross the main road carefully and go up the potentially muddy track opposite, which climbs and curves round to the right along the edge of a wood. In 150m the path swings left to cross a ditch on a plank bridge and you go over a stile into a large field.
      6. Turn right and follow the field edge uphill and round to the left in front of a house. Go over a stile and keep ahead towards some large trees, aiming for the left-hand edge of a wood behind them. At the wood you pass a stile from a path through the wood, the alternative route.
    2. Alternative route (1 km)

      1. For the shorter route turn right and walk carefully along this road's grass verge for 500m, up to its junction with the B2188. Cross over the main road carefully and go over a stile with a concrete footpath waymarker into a wood.
      2. Follow the path round to the left to head W for 500m, passing a house off to the left and then skirting around a wooden vehicle barrier. At the end of this lightly wooded area go over a stile and turn right, rejoining the HWLT.
  4. Through the Buckhurst Estate to Withyham (1¾ km)
    • Follow the HWLT along the edge of a wood towards the manor house, Buckhurst Park. Turn sharp right onto its driveway and follow it all the way out through the landscaped grounds to the Dorset Arms on the B2110.
    1. Follow a grassy path down the slope towards a stile in the tree boundary below. Go over this and turn left onto a fenced path alongside some recently-cleared woodland. At the end of the wood the track curves left and goes down a slope to join the driveway to Buckhurst Park?, the large house partly visible on the other side of the valley.
    2. Turn sharp right onto this driveway, which you will be following for 1 km through the landscaped grounds and out of the estate. It goes gently downhill and swings left by a lake to continue along the valley floor. After passing another lake on the right it curves right, passes some estate cottages and an old well, then crosses a stream.
    3. Towards the end of the drive there is a cluster of houses ahead on the right, including the Dorset Arms. If you are stopping at the suggested lunch pub you can either cut through its garden or follow the drive down to the B2110 and double back to its main entrance.
  5. Withyham to Hartfield (2½ km)
    • Turn left briefly onto the B2110. Unless it is closed, take a permissive path uphill and through the churchyard. Go down to a junction of lanes below the church and take the Private Drive heading south. Just after the driveway to Forstal Farm Cottage, go over a stile on the right. Follow the HWLT through fields and a small wood, later passing the house. Continue across more fields to Hartfield and go down Church Street to the village centre.
    1. From the pub go out to the B2110 and turn left. There is only one pavement on this busy road and you have to cross over carefully to the other side, then back again after going past the village hall. Instead of continuing on the pavement, go through a metal kissing gate in the hedge.
      • A notice at the top of the slope advises visitors that the continuation of this permissive path through the churchyard is locked twice a year, on March 25th and September 29th. On these days carry on along the pavement and then follow a path past a few cottages to a junction of lanes below the church. If you have to take this route, resume the directions at [?].
    2. For the normal route go up a grassy path to the top of the slope. Go through a wooden kissing gate and follow the churchyard path round to the far side of the church of St Michael and All Angels? to find its entrance.
    3. After visiting the church, return to the churchyard path and turn right. Ignore a private path on the left leading down to the Rectory? but veer left down a flight of steps and turn right at the bottom to go down its driveway. At a junction of lanes below the church turn sharp left.
    4. Head S on this lane, prominently signposted as a ‘Private Drive’ but with Wealdway? (WW) and HWLT waymarkers confirming that it is also a public footpath. You pass some interesting old houses off to the left, the first one (with the ‘sawn-off’ corner) being Monk's House?. In 300m there is a stile on the right immediately after the driveway to Forstal Farm Cottage.
    5. Go over the stile, leaving the WW but staying on the HWLT. Follow a mown path across the field, passing to the left of a large oak tree and with a stone tower? coming into view ahead on the left. Follow the path into a small wood, where you might have to negotiate some muddy patches.
    6. On the far side of the wood the path bends left and comes to a farm track where you turn sharp right to cross a stone bridge over a stream. On the other side immediately bear right off the track to continue along the bottom edge of a large field, heading NW towards Forstal Farm Cottage. After passing the house go through a gate and across a small grassy area into the bottom corner of a large field, with a signpost indicating two footpaths ahead.
    7. Take the left-hand footpath, a faint grassy path sloping up the field towards a footpath marker post in the centre of a line of tall trees 250m away. Keep ahead past the trees to the far side of the next field. Go over a stile in the hedge and continue along the right-hand edge of two more fields.
    8. In the far corner follow the path round to the right, going over a stile and down a few steps to a lane opposite the church of St Mary the Virgin?. Turn left along the lane, passing Lych Gate Cottage? in the corner of the churchyard. Keep ahead down Church Street, coming to the later lunch pub (the Anchor Inn) at the T-junction with Hartfield's High Street.
      • If you want to visit Pooh Corner (with Piglet's Tearoom), it is 200m along the road to the left. Return the same way and go past the junction with Church Street.
  6. Hartfield to St Ives Farm (2¼ km)
    • Go along the left-hand edge of Hartfield's recreation ground and continue across fields to the Forest Way. Go straight across this disused railway line and over the River Medway on a footbridge. Follow the HWLT as it slants up the side of a valley, across several fields and through a small wood. Cross a lane leading to St Ives Farm to reach a pond and a small caravan site.
    1. Opposite the Anchor Inn's car park on the main road, go through a wooden gate with a footpath waymarker into Hartfield's recreation ground. Pass to the left of the tennis courts and continue along a clear path down the left-hand edge of several fields, heading NW. At the end go through a gate and straight across the tree-lined Forest Way?.

      You are crossing the route of Walk #110, which includes a short stretch along the Forest Way.

      • For an easy (but monotonous) route you could turn left and simply follow this cycle route for 4½ km to Forest Row. If you take this short cut (which only saves 1 km), resume the directions at [?] in §J.
    2. For the full walk, go down a small slope and cross a footbridge over the River Medway. Follow a clear path across two large fields, heading NW and climbing gently as the path slants up the side of the valley. Continue along the top edge of the next field, now heading W, then straight across one more field towards a wood.
    3. Go over a stile and follow a path up through this wood. Leave over another stile and turn half-right to go diagonally across a large field, climbing steadily and heading NW again. On the far side go through a gap in the trees (with a pond on the right) and continue in the same direction across a smaller field.
    4. In the top corner go over a stile, cross a lane and go through a gap in the hedge opposite into another large field. Turn half-left and go across this to reach a caravan site by a large pond (a flooded clay pit).
  7. St Ives Farm to Cansiron Lane (2 km)
    • On the far side of the pond continue on the HWLT along the right-hand edge of more fields, then through Paupersdale Wood. On the other side bear right up a slope to cross another large field. Take the left-hand of two footpaths across the next field to reach Cansiron Lane.
    1. Bear right onto a track going around the pond, which leads to a picnic area where you keep right. Go over a stile in the corner and continue along the right-hand edge of three large fields, heading W. You pass some farm buildings off to the right and in the last field you are going alongside Paupersdale Wood.
    2. In the far corner cross a track and keep ahead on a broad grassy path through the wood. On the far side the path veers right to cross a ditch on a plank bridge. Go over a stile to emerge into the bottom corner of a large sloping field.
    3. Turn half-right and follow a grassy path going diagonally up the field, heading towards the left-hand end of a line of trees on the horizon. In the top corner several paths merge and you go through a wide gap into another field. Take the left-hand of the two grassy paths ahead, going diagonally across it towards a prominent communications mast.
    4. In the far corner go over a stile to come out onto Cansiron Lane at a bend. The onward route is a stile just up ahead, to the right of a metal fieldgate on the left-hand side of the lane.
      • If you want to switch to Walk #40 (bypassing Forest Row) you could pick up its directions in the “Cansiron Lane to border of East Grinstead” section after heading west along Cansiron Lane for 600m, where it joins from a driveway on the left. The route is shown on the Walk Map.
  8. Cansiron Lane to Tablehurst Farm (1½ km)
    • The suggested route diverges from the HWLT. Turn left off the lane onto a footpath going past a communications tower and the edge of Highams Wood. Follow the path downhill through Tablehurst Farm with its Coffee Shop.

      The suggested route into Forest Row diverges from the HWLT in order to go via Tablehurst Farm.

    1. Go over the stile and follow a track down a slope and round to the right of the communications mast. Cross another stile and follow a clear grassy path heading SW, past the edge of a wood and then downhill beneath power cables. Go over a stile and keep ahead across a meadow, towards a wooden fieldgate in a belt of trees.
    2. Go through the gate onto a broad track going down through the trees. In less than 50m turn left off the track onto a narrow and slightly awkward path heading S, hemmed in between the trees and a wire fence. At the end of the fence follow a faint grassy path as it curves round to the right. After going through a couple of metal fieldgates the path continues between a fence and a wood before eventually coming out onto a broad track.
    3. Turn left onto the track and follow it round to the left past a quirky wooden dwelling, Pericles?. Go downhill on the track for 500m, between the fields and orchards of Tablehurst Farm?. At the bottom of the hill there is a Coffee Shop inside its Farm Shop, on the right.
  9. Tablehurst Farm to Forest Row (1¼ km)
    • Forest Row Go through the farm's car park and across meadows, recrossing the River Medway and the Forest Way. Continue across another meadow and a small recreation ground. Go along the B2110 into Forest Row, passing a couple of tea places. Just before the A22 turn right down Hillside to pass some more places. If you are finishing the walk here, the bus stop is on the A22 where it merges with Hillside.
    1. Forest Row Leave the farm through its car park (containing an unusual wooden dovecote) and veer right down a narrow path to the right of some converted stables. Cross a ditch on a wooden footbridge and follow a grassy path across two meadows, with another footbridge taking you back across the River Medway. On the far side go over a stile, up a flight of steps and turn right onto the Forest Way.
    2. Go along the cycle route for just 100m, then turn left down a flight of steps into an open space. Turn right and follow a well-used grassy path to its far left-hand corner.
      • The actual right of way is to a stile in the hedge near the right-hand corner, but you would only need to go this way if the other exit was blocked.
    3. From the main exit keep ahead along a tree-lined track (Forester's Link) leading to a small recreation ground. Go past a skate park and diagonally across the ground to the far corner. Go up to the B2110 and bear right onto the road.
    4. Go across Station Road and follow the B2110 up past a parade of shops, with Seasons on the right-hand side and the Hop Yard (accessed through a florist's shop) on the left. Just before the roundabout with the A22 turn right down Hillside, passing the small village green, War Memorial and the distinctive Freshfield Hall? on your left.
    5. The Swan is on the far side of the A22. If you stay on Hillside you pass Cafe Coco, the Chequers Inn Hotel and finally Java & Jazz on the right, with the Brambletye Hotel? opposite.
      • If finishing the walk here, the bus stop for East Grinstead is on the A22 outside the Brambletye Hotel.
  10. Forest Row to East Grinstead Station (5½ km)
    • East Grinstead Head north briefly along the A22 and bear left onto the Forest Way cycle route immediately after crossing the River Medway. Follow this all the way into the outskirts of East Grinstead, forking left near the end to come out at a major roundabout. Turn left onto Lewes Road and keep ahead where this becomes the town's High Street. At a mini-roundabout turn right into London Road. Go straight on at traffic lights, then turn left into Railway Approach. Go over a major roundabout to reach the station.

      For simplicity this extension follows the Forest Way all the way up a gentle incline to East Grinstead. There are more varied and stimulating alternatives but they can be boggy and not always easy to follow.

    1. From any of the tea places make your way to the A22 and head N on the main road. Just after the road crosses the River Medway, bear left at the pedestrian traffic lights onto the Forest Way, signposted as Cycle Route 21. In 700m the track crosses Brambletye Lane and goes into a deep cutting.
      • If you wish you can fork left onto a narrow path along its top, with views out to the left including the ruins of Brambletye House?. This side path eventually drops down to rejoin the main track.
    2. The later stages of the Forest Way are on a high embankment, with glimpses through the trees of the countryside beyond. On reaching the outskirts of East Grinstead, go straight across Herontye Drive and fork left up an incline to come out in front of a large roundabout, with the A22 continuing on Beeching Way? on the far side.
    3. East Grinstead Turn left onto Lewes Road, heading W towards the town centre. In 250m keep ahead at a road junction into the town's ancient High Street, with a bronze monument? in honour of Sir Archibald McIndoe in front of Sackville College?. You then pass the imposing church of St Swithun? on the right.
    4. Two suggested tea places nearby are CJ’s Café Bar in front of the church, with the Dorset Arms across the road. At the end of the High Street turn right at a mini-roundabout to go down London Road, passing more refreshment places.
    5. Keep ahead at a road junction with traffic lights, then 100m later turn left into Railway Approach. At the far end you have to negotiate a large roundabout to reach the station opposite. It is a terminus and trains can leave from either platform, but most leave from Platform 2, on this side.
      Walk Notes
    1. The Spa Valley Railway began operating steam and diesel trains from Tunbridge Wells West in 1997, at first to Groombridge and then Eridge in 2011. The line had been closed by British Rail in 1985, some years after the Beeching Report.
    2. The Sussex Border Path runs for 240 km along the length of West & East Sussex, from Thorney Island on the Hampshire border to Rye.
    3. The High Weald Landscape Trail runs for 145 km across the length of the High Weald, mostly near its northern edge, from Horsham in West Sussex to Rye.
    4. Penns in the Rocks was built in around 1700 by William Penn (the founder of Pennsylvania). It takes its name from a nearby outcrop of Tunbridge Wells sandstone.
    5. Buckhurst Estate has been owned by the Sackville family for 900 years and their descendants (the Earls De La Warr) still live here. The current house, Buckhurst Park, dates from 1603 and the park was laid out by Humphry Repton in the 18thC.
    6. Most of the medieval St Michael and All Angels, Withyham was rebuilt after it was struck by lightning in 1663. Near the entrance hang full-size photographic reproductions of four 14thC paintings of scenes from Christ's Passion by the Florentine artist, Niccolo Gerini. In the Sackville Chapel, the central monument of Thomas Sackville and his parents by Caius Gabriel Cibber was described by Pevsner as having “a directness of feeling and expression unprecedented in England”.
    7. The Rectory had a Georgian façade added in the late 18thC or early 19thC. The unusual veranda in the recessed centre has slender iron columns supporting a lead roof.
    8. The Wealdway runs for 130 km through the Kent and Sussex Weald, from Gravesend on the Thames estuary to the outskirts of Eastbourne.
    9. The curious ‘sawn-off’ aspect of the north-west corner of Monk's House is attributed to a 19thC rector, who wanted to be able to see Old Buckhurst (the home of his ancestors) from the Rectory.
    10. The stone tower was a gatehouse, all that survives of the Sackville's original family seat. In its time Old Buckhurst was one of the largest houses in England, similar in size to the one later granted to them by Elizabeth Ⅰ (Knole).
    11. St Mary the Virgin, Hartfield is a mixture of styles dating from the 13th–15thC, but was heavily restored in Victorian times.
    12. Lych Gate Cottage does indeed incorporate the gate into the churchyard, an unusual arrangement.
    13. The Forest Way runs for 17 km between East Grinstead and Groombridge, along part of a branch line closed by Beeching in 1966. It is now a popular cycle route.
    14. The Pericles site on Tablehurst Farm is an outreach project, teaching wood-working skills to young people and adults with learning difficulties.
    15. Tablehurst Farm has been farmed biodynamically since 1970, originally by Emerson College and since 1995 as a co-operative enterprise by the local community. Its award-winning Farm Shop specialises in locally reared meat products, and apples from its orchard.
    16. Freshfield Hall was a memorial gift from the Freshfield family following the death of their young son in 1891. The original hall burnt down in 1895 and had to be rebuilt.
    17. The Brambletye Hotel was frequented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and features in his Adventure of Black Peter: Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson stay here while investigating the murder of a retired sea captain.
    18. Brambletye House was built in 1631 by Sir Henry Compton, lord of the manor. A later owner, Sir James Richards, was suspected of treason in 1684 and fled the country, leaving the house to decay. It features in the 1826 Horace Smith novel Brambletye House.
    19. Beeching Way is where the branch line continued through the cutting now used by the A22. It seems a pity that the rather more appropriate name of “Beeching Cut” was rejected.
    20. The monument depicts a seated airman being comforted by Sir Archibald McIndoe, a plastic surgeon whose innovative surgical techniques at the nearby Queen Victoria Hospital greatly improved the rehabilitation of wounded aircrew in World War Ⅱ. The sculptor was Martin Jennings, whose father had been one of McIndoe's patients.
    21. The Jacobean almshouse Sackville College was founded in 1609 with money left by Robert Sackville, 2nd Earl of Dorset, and is still in use today. The building can be visited on some afternoons in summer.
    22. The present St Swithun, East Grinstead dates from 1789, but there has been a church here since the 11thC (Swithun was a 9thC Bishop of Winchester). Previous buildings on this prominent hilltop site were often struck by lightning and the church has been rebuilt several times over the centuries.

» Last updated: August 11, 2023

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