Book 2 Walk 23 (variation) – Hassocks to Fishersgate
Length: 18.8 km (11.7 miles); shorter if ending at Mile Oak (see below). Toughness: 7/10 09:22
Brighton train from Blackfriars
(East Croydon 09:56), arriving Hassocks
This is the direct Thameslink train (the one which lets you do this walk very cheaply: see Tickets), but in the time it takes to crawl through south London you might wish you'd taken the 09:27
(stopping) Brighton train from Victoria
, which gets to Hassocks 5 minutes earlier, or the 09:34
Horsham train from London Bridge
, with a 6 minute connection at East Croydon for the Thameslink train. Tickets
: A standard off-peak day return to Fishersgate
(or Shoreham-by-Sea) is £18.10 with a railcard. However, if you travel out and back on Thameslink trains you can get a super off-peak return from London stations to Brighton for just £6.95. If you walk all the way to Fishersgate station a single to Brighton would be an extra £1.70, but as the walk notes give a very downbeat description of the last 2-3 km I'd be tempted to veer left at Southwick Hill into the suburb of Mile Oak
, where 1/1A buses run every 10-15 minutes (even on Sundays) into the centre of Brighton. The £2.40 fare is about the same as a PlusBus add-on to your rail ticket, although PlusBus would let you hop on and off other buses if you wanted.
If you do make it to Fishersgate there's a half-hourly service for the 12-minute leg to Brighton at 08 & 38 minutes past (with the odd one a few minutes later). They don't connect well with the London trains – the fast ones to Victoria are at 10 & 35 minutes past, a few minutes before the slower Thameslink ones at 14 & 44 past – but that would give you time to grab some refreshment for the journey. I won't confuse you by giving the bus and train times for the standard Upper Beeding / Shoreham ending for this walk: look these up yourself if you want to do this.
My comprehensive Walks database doesn't record a single posting of the “Ending at Fishersgate or Shoreham Option” for this Book 2 walk. That seems a shame, since the notes describe the first 2.8 km of this option as “a place of sweeping hillsides and fine panoramic views of the sea”. From the map it looks like Thundersbarrow Hill will provide a great place to see some of the afternoon flying display at the Shoreham Air Show
, which continues until 5pm.
Most of you will be familiar with the first part of the walk, with its three steep hills before you reach the large and busy lunch pub on the top of Devil's Dyke. The turning for the Fishersgate ending is after an hour's walking in the afternoon, just past the radio masts on Truleigh Hill. You'll need to print those directions from this page
(they're not in the latest edition of Vol 2); the instructions for the main walk can be found in this pdf