Forest Row Circular walk

The heathlands of Ashdown Forest. Travel by Bus.


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, 21-Nov-15 Saturday Second Walk - The Weald and Ashdown Forest 7 mainly sunny
Sat, 05-Jul-14 Horsted Keynes Station to Forest Row
Sat, 18-Aug-12 Forest Row Circular [East Grinstead]
Sat, 10-Sep-11 Forest Row Circular [East Grinstead]
Sun, 16-May-10 Forest Row Circular [East Grinstead]
Sat, 23-Aug-08 Forest Row Circular
Sat, 15-Sep-07 Forest Row Circular
Sat, 21-Nov-15
Saturday Second Walk - The Weald and Ashdown Forest
SWC walks 23 + 132 Forest Row to Horsted Keynes
Length: 13.2km (8.1 miles) or 16.2km (10 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.23 train from Victoria (9.21 Clapham Junction, 9.41 East Croydon), arriving East Grinstead at 10.18

Buy a day return to East Grinstead

On arrival, take the 10.31 bus no 291 from the bus stop on the opposite side of the car park (straight ahead for 100 metres as you come out of the station, basically) to Forest Row (14 mins)

These are two walks that make a nice companion to each other - they share the same very pleasant lunch pub, the Red Lion in Chelwood Gate. Both need a bus to get to their start and finish, so don't get done that much. Putting together the morning of one and the afternoon of the other gives a nice contrasting walk, with some lowland walking to start, a climb up through woods and fields to Ashdown Forest, a brief stretch across its sandy heaths, then a gentle Wealden descent to Horsted Keynes. It is November and this is the Weald, so mud is inevitable. But the sandy soils of Ashdown Forest in the middle section of the walk may give you some relief.

To start with, you do the morning of SWC walk 23 Forest Row Circular (walk directions here: you only need pages 1-4), which you follow as far as the Red Lion, the lunch pub, a distance of 7.7km (4.8 miles).

After lunch, the shorter option, if the gloom is gathering, is SWC walk 132 option a ("Short Walk omitting Ashdown Forest": click on this option on the home page of this walk and only the directions you need magically appear: you need paragraphs 10, 11 and 12 only). This gets you to Horsted Keynes village in just 5.5km (3.4 miles), making a total walk of 13.2km (8.1 miles).

Alternatively, the adventurous could continue with the main walk directions for walk 23 (paras 8, 9, 11, 12 - link to directions as in the previous paragraph) - which is 8.5km (5.3 miles) to Horsted Keynes, making a total walk of 16.2km (10 miles).

Getting back from Horsted Keynes, take the 270 bus in the direction of East Grinstead (the stop outside the Green Man). This takes 25 minutes. Buses leave at 34 past till 17.34 and then 18.26 and go all the way to East Grinstead station, from where trains leave at 07 and 37 past till late.

(One final option is simply to do the Forest Row Circular afternoon, ie just stay on walk 23. This is quite a heathy and exposed walk for November, and perhaps has rather too long an afternoon for this time of year - 9.9km/6 miles. Once in Forest Row, 291 buses run to East Grinstead at 16 past the hour till 18.16, then 18.49, 19.49, 21.14, 22.44)
  • 21-Nov-15

    7 on this walk, cheerfully defying the snow and sleet we woke up to. This had all gone by the start of the walk and we set off under grey skies. But the sun soon broke through and so for the most part the day was mainly sunny . Also a bitter north wind but luckily we were rarely exposed to this, the walk affording plenty of dips and woods to shelter us.

    The five of us who arrived on the specified train decided it would be just as economical to take a taxi to Forest Row. This meant one other walker who drove to the station in time for the bus missed us, but credit to him for persevering with the walk (thinking no one else was on it) and catching up with us late morning. Another walker who had narrowly missed the train joined us at lunch.

    This combination walk offered varied scenery - some fields, some woods, some heaths, and occasionally fine views too - including a glorious prospect of the South Downs at one point. The Red Lion was more crowded at lunch than I have ever seen it, but found us a secluded table.

    We all opted for the standard 5 mile afternoon rather than the 3 mile shorter option and still reached Horsted Keynes by 4pm. At tea the also crowded Green Man offered a blazing fire.

    Most of the group got a lift back to East Grinstead. Three of us took the bus and got off at Forest Row for a moonlit walk up the old railway line. The moon was unfortunately rather pale, obscured by high clouds, but we had a nice walk anyway.