Woods & rural delights
|Length||16.5km (10.3 miles), 5 hours. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow 8 hours 40 minutes.|
|Toughness||3 out of 10.|
|OS Maps||Explorers OL34 (was 134) & 146 or Landranger 187. Ockley, map reference TQ 165 404, is in Surrey, 9km north-west of Horsham and 7km north of Warnham, which is in West Sussex.|
This is a beautiful walk through an unspoilt countryside of fields, woods and gentle hills, with an idyllic country pub fro lunch.
In this sleepy corner on the Surrey-Sussex border it seems as if nothing exceptional has happened through the ages. You go through no bustling towns, pass no grand country houses and there are no particularly interesting historical events to relate. Just mile after mile of oak woods and rural delights.
Note that there is no evening service on this line (see last train times below), and it is 1.3km to the station from the village pub in Warnham.
You can extend the walk to Horsham.
You could call a taxi from either of the lunch pubs to Warnham or Horsham Station.
If detouring to the Punch Bowl pub, the diversion and onward route reduces the length of the walk by 1 mile.
The Parish Church of St John the Baptist in Okewood has thirteenth century wall paintings and an unusual arrangement of roof beams.
Warnham's best known son is the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley who was born at Field Place, just south of the village, in 1792. Expelled from Oxford for his pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism and eloping with 16 year-old Harriet Westbrook, he was forbidden by his father Sir Timothy Shelley ever to visit the family seat in case he might corrupt his sisters.
|Travel||Take the train nearest to 9.30am from Victoria Station to Ockley. Journey time 1 hour 5 minutes. Note that there is no service on this line on Sundays and some Bank Holiday Mondays. Direct trains back from Warnham are hourly but you can also catch one of the hourly trains in the other direction and change at Horsham; the journey time for both routes is about 1 hour 10 minutes. Note that the last direct train back is currently around 8pm (weekdays) and 6pm (Saturdays), with the last train via Horsham about 30 minutes later. Buy a day return to Warnham or , better, to Horsham (thus leaving more options for your return journey).|
The suggested lunch place is the Scarlett Arms pub (tel. 01306-627243) in Walliswood. This is a small, walker-friendly, old-fashioned, homely pub with an inglenook fireplace for cold winter days and a garden for sitting outside in the summer. It has a good menu of sandwiches (with generous fillings) plus main courses, served between noon and 2-30 pm weekdays, and noon and 3 pm on Sundays.
An alternative is the equally homely Punch Bowl pub (tel. 01306-627249) in Okewood Hill. The pub serves food from noon until 2.15 pm, Monday to Friday, all day Saturday and until 5 pm on Sundays. The menu extends to main courses, specials and sandwiches with generous fillings. The pub is reached via a detour beginning in the woods in Walliswood; the main walk can then be rejoined at point [5A].
|Tea||The suggested tea place is the Sussex Oak pub (tel.01403-265028) in Warnham. It serves drinks, tea and coffee, and food between 12 noon and 2.30 pm and 6 pm to 9.30 pm. The village store in Warnham is open until 6pm daily and has two benches for sitting outside. Do remember that it is 1.3 km to the station from the village of Warnham, if you are trying to catch a train after tea, so allow at least 20 minutes for this last leg of the day.|
Last walk check November 2016 - no major changes. [Pre 2011 Editions] Many small updates - use the online version
Use the online version of the walk, if you have an old (pre 2011) edition of the book.
Help us! After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out: (not a train station)
Back: (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
The [numbers] refer to a sketch map which is only in the book.
-  Come out of Ockley Station and go through the car park, turning right down the tarmac station approach road. In 100 metres you come down to the road where you turn right under the railway arch. 10 metres beyond the railway arch, turn left off the road, following the public footpath sign, on a path between fences, your direction 200° initially. In 150 metres go over the metal bridge across a brook and bear right with the path. 250 metres further on you come out on to a narrow road. Turn right on to the road. In 25 metres you come to the entrance to a house called Weavers on your left-hand side. Turn left, off the road, cross the house’s driveway, and continue along the path, following the public footpath sign on the corner of the driveway, your direction 250° initially. In 230 metres, having initially walked parallel to a driveway, the path takes a sharp left turn, going around the back of the garden of the big house on your left. 25 metres further on, it goes right again and continues in the same direction as before.
- In 100 metres you come to the edge of the trees and follow the path alongside a barbed-wire fence in the same direction as before. 300 metres further on, at the far side of the field, ignore a cross-path. Continue straight ahead, going slightly downhill, with a recent plantation of trees on your left-hand side. 90 metres down the hill, go over a wooden bridge across the stream. Ignore a fork off uphill to the left in 10 metres, to continue along the bridleway as it makes its way through the trees, uphill.
- Ignore ways off and in 340 metres go through a metal fieldgate into the field beyond. Walk across the field, gently uphill, your direction 260°. In 100 metres, over the brow of this small hill, you now head for the stile visible directly ahead, just before the edge of a wood (The farmer from time to time connects field fencing to this stile, at other times not). In a further 100 metres cross this stile, or walk around it, and turn left, your direction 190°, with the edge of the wood on your right-hand side.
- In 100 metres [!] you go over a stile in the right-hand corner of the field (part hidden in summer) into the next field. Walk along the right-hand edge of the field, gently uphill, your direction 195° initially. In 90 metres cross a stile and walk along the edge of the next field, in the same direction as before. In 25 metres follow the path as it bends around to the right, your direction 260° initially. In 50 metres you come down to a lane, leading up to a wooden fieldgate on your left-hand side, with a gate marked ‘Private’ .
- Go straight across the lane, following the public footpath sign next to the right-hand gatepost, past a large oak tree, your direction 200°. In 40 metres cross over a stile to the right of a metal fieldgate. On your right-hand side you can soon see the village of Ockley. Walk along the left-hand edge of the field, gradually descending as your way curves to the left. In 100 metres go over a stile to the left of a metal fieldgate. Continue downhill. In 200 metres cross a path junction by a four-way sign and ignore a stile to the left. In a further 100 metres enter the wood by a rusty metal fieldgate.
- Keep ahead, ignoring all ways off, your initial bearing 200°, on a broad path which starts level then gently rises. In 300 metres a path joins from the left. In a further 100 metres the path begins to descend.
- In 190 metres at a T-junction with a new tree plantation to your left [!] and a beech tree 10 metres to the left (with ‘Anthony Annette Adam’ carved on it nearly 2 metres up) bear right with the path , your direction 255°, entering Birches Wood. After 45 metres by a cypress tree take the left-hand fork and in a further 45 metres by a small signpost with two yellow arrows on it [!] take a clear path left, steeply downhill, due south. 80 metres down the hill, with a three-armed footpath sign on your right, cross a wood and metal bridge going over the stream. Over the bridge, follow the path left for 15 metres and then around to the right up the hill, heading southwards. In 150 metres cross over a stile and walk along a grassy bank and then a field with a hedgerow on the right-hand side, your direction 190°. In 200 metres you come to a metal fieldgate. Go through (or cross over the stile away to its left-hand side) onto a car-wide track.
-  Eversheds Farmhouse (marked on the OS map) is straight ahead of you. Turn right with the farm buildings to your right-hand side. Then simply follow the track through its bends : in 90 metres the track goes sharply around to the left; 140 metres further on, sharply around to the right. In a further 350 metres you come down to the bottom of a slight incline, sharply around to the right, over a concrete bridge (with wooden and makeshift metal railings on its left-hand side and metal railings on its right) and continue up hill , your direction 305°.
- 300 metres further on, you come up to a concrete road, pass through a metal fieldgate (usually open) to come to a crossing of farm tracks with farm buildings off to the left. [!] Turn right , through a (usually open) metal fieldgate onto a farm track which in 125 metres swings left. Continue past Mill Cottage on your left and as the track swings to the left, keep ahead on a path to the A29 road which you cross over to follow the public bridleway sign on the far side. In 15 metres, East Standon Lodge is on your right-hand side. Follow the car-wide track to the left, your direction 230° initially and in 450 metres you come to a wooden gate (leading to a house called Middle Lodge). Follow the wooden fence of this house round to the left. In 70 metres, at the end of the fence, keep on the path as it bears left, your direction 200°.
- In 100 metres, you go through a metal fieldgate with a tall handle on the edge of Oakwood Mill Farm, with another metal fieldgate on its right-hand side. Turn right, down the car-wide track just beyond this gate, your direction 265° initially. In 40 metres go over the river  and through or over a metal fieldgate, ignoring any ‘keep out’ sign on the gate.
- Stays on the track and in 20 metres take the left-hand fork. Follow the track as it curves around to the left, in the same general direction as the river down on your left-hand side. In 70 metres follow the track sharply around to the right and up the hill, your direction 290° initially. In a further 100 metres there is a metal fieldgate directly ahead at the top of the hill. Follow the track around to the left, your direction 220° initially. Follow the line of the fence on your right-hand side, with the river down below on your left-hand side.
- In 300 metres, the next turning can be easily missed. [!] T urn sharp right, onto a path going up the hill with a fence to your right-hand side, your direction 300° initially. In 60 metres you come up into a field. Walk alongside the barbed-wire fence on the right-hand edge of this field, your direction due west initially. In 200 metres cross over the stile into the wood and follow the woodland track, in the same general direction as before. In 50 metres you come to a footpath post and fork left, your direction due west. 30 metres further on, there is another footpath post, where you ignore the fork slightly to the left to continue straight on (slightly to the right), your direction still due west.
- To detour to the Punch Bowl pub in Oakwood Hill, take the fork slightly to the left (ahead), your direction 230°. Follow this path as it swings to the left, then descends a dip to go up the other side, now along the edge of the wood. 475 metres along this path you come out onto a road, opposite a road sign for ‘Oakwood Hill’. Turn right, uphill, in 425 metres coming to the Punch Bowl pub on your right-hand side. After lunch, turn right and in 80 metres at a road junction (where to keep ahead would take you to Rosehill Cottage in 1 km) you bear left with the road (Honeywood Lane), in 1 km coming out at point [5A] in the main directions, where you rejoin the main route by turning left down the tarmac lane signposted to Monks Farm and Honeybush Farm.
- But continuing with the main route: in 400 metres the path leads you down through the trees to the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist in Okewood. Go through the wooden gate into the churchyard and walk around to the front entrance of the church which is usually open and well worth a visit. Coming out of the church, go down the path with stepping stones directly opposite the entrance to the church, your direction 260°. In 25 metres go through the gate and descend steps to go over a wooden bridge. In 40 metres at a T-junction, bear left, due west. In 30 metres cross over a wooden bridge, ignoring the similar bridge to the right. Continue ahead, bearing 270°, gently uphill.
- Ignoring ways off, in 480 metres you come to a footpath post on your left-hand side. Ignore the way ahead into a field, which is anyway fenced and gated. Turn right here , following the arrow on the tree, your direction 305° initially.
- Go straight on for 550 metres, ignoring ways off, to come out through a wooden kissing gate on to a road, where you turn right into the village of Walliswood . In 50 metres, you reach the Scarlett Arms pub on your right, the suggested lunch stop.
- Coming out of the pub after lunch, turn left, back down the road. In 60 metres you pass a turning on the right to Ewhurst. In 120 metres further on, you pass a dead-end turning on your left called Oakfields. 60 metres beyond that, turn left, following signs to Oakwood Hill, Ockley and Dorking. You pass a house on your right-hand side called Charles Copse.
- In 400 metres you come to Rosehill Cottage on your right-hand side. Just beyond this, on the right hand side of the road, there is a public bridleway sign pointing to the right. Turn right off the road, along a car-wide gravel track, your direction 200°. In 25 metres go through a wooden fieldgate into Rosehill Farm. Keep ahead, passing through the farmyard and then along the left-hand edge of a field, on a grassy path with woodland to your left.
- In 300 metres, on the far side of the field, you go through a gap in the hedgerow into the next field. Walk straight ahead along the edge of this field, with the wood on your left, direction as before. In 250 metres you come to the corner of the field. Follow the yellow arrows, along the barbed-wire fence on your right-hand side, keeping ahead, with the edge of the wood on your left. This narrow path is usually very overgrown and you should take care as there is a ditch close to its left edge, waiting to catch your ankle.
- In 150 metres you come out from this overgrown path into an open field on the edge of the wood and here  your way ahead depends on where the farmer has set his electric fences. Your target is a stile and small bridge some 90 metres away, over to your half-left. To get there either cross two stiles over electric fences ahead of you, and then head down the grassy strip between elecric fences down to the stile and small bridge, or turn left down the field to a stile in its bottom corner (you may have to squeeze past a parked trailer to reach it ), cross the stile and head towards the stile and small bridge, some 40 metres away. Once over it, keep ahead, uphill, over a large field, on a bearing of 135°, heading to the right of a copse.
- In 200 metres you come up to trees where you will see that there is a barbed-wire fence going all around the copse. You should come up to the right-hand corner of this copse. Walk straight on, with the barbed-wire fence and trees on your left-hand side, in the same direction as before. In 100 metres you come to the far side of the copse, where one fence goes sharply off to the left. Continue straight on across the field ahead, with the barbed-wire fence on your left-hand side, in the same direction as before. Aim for the gap in the hedgerow, a line of small trees ahead. In 20 metres you walk underneath overhead cables. 80 metres further on, cross over a concrete bridge, go over a wooden step and through the gap in the trees into the next field. Aim half left towards the far side of the field, your direction 125° and in 130 metres go over a stile and out onto a car road where you turn left.
- In 125 metres you will see a postbox on your left-hand side and on your right-hand side North Lodge, the gatehouse for Tanglewood. On the left-hand side of the road is a metal footpath sign pointing right across the road to the wooden sign to Tanglewood, within the lodge’s driveway. Ignore this path (The Sussex Border Path) and instead turn right down the tarmac lane [5A], signposted Monks Farm and Honeybush Farm, your direction 205° initially.
- In 250 metres you come to a three-armed signpost on your right-hand side. Follow the bridleway straight ahead through a metal fieldgate. In 450 metres you pass between two farmhouses and pass a barn on your right, and up to a T-junction  where there is a three-armed signpost, by a large oak tree. Ignore the Sussex Border Path 1989 which goes left at this point along the course of Stane Street (which is an old Roman Road). Turn right down the public bridleway. [!] Beware of unruly dogs here.
- In 40 metres follow the track sharply around to the left, with a wooden fence on your left-hand side. 50 metres further on there is another three-armed signpost. Follow the public bridleway sign going straight ahead. 30 metres further on there are two metal fieldgates. Go through the left-hand gate (once painted white and now rusting) and down the bridleway between hedges and treelines, your direction 75° initially. In 150 metres follow the bridleway sharply around to the right, your direction 190° initially, with a wire fence on your left. 170 metres further on, where there is a metal fieldgate directly ahead and another on your left, follow the bridleway as it curves around to the left, your direction 155° initially.
- 60 metres further on, there is a three-armed signpost on your right. Follow the public footpath sign and [!] turn right , due south, through a wooden gate, and turn half-left down the footpath to the left-hand corner of the field, where you can see another footpath sign. In 80 metres you pass a three-armed footpath sign by a wire fence on your left and in 20 metres you come to the far side of the field and go through the wooden fieldgate on the left. Walk down the path through the trees, which is signposted public footpath, your direction 145°.
- In 300 metres, following a clear path through the trees, you come to another two-armed signpost. Follow the public footpath, going slightly round to the right. 35 metres further on, look out for the three-armed public footpath signpost on your left-hand side. Go to it and follow its direction due east to go over a stile in 30 metres. Walk straight ahead, your direction due east, with a field fence on your left-hand side, along the top of a bank and out into a field.
- In 150 metres you come to a two-armed footpath sign on your left-hand side. Follow the direction of the footpath, going left towards some farm buildings, your direction 10°. Keep ahead, passing the farm buildings on your right (the two stiles which you used to have to cross have now gone). In 90 metres, there is a two-armed footpath sign on your left, by a metal fieldgate. Go right across the field, following the sign’s direction (85°) towards another footpath sign 200 metres away, 100 metres to the right of the red farmhouse.
- Once at this three-armed wooden footpath sign, go through a wooden fieldgate. Follow the sign for the public bridleway, going straight ahead, your direction 100° initially. In 150 metres you pass metal fieldgates on both sides of the path and continue straight on down the hill. 125 metres further on, cross over a wooden bridge over North River. On the other side of the bridge, do not go through the gate ahead but turn right along the riverbank, following the direction of the public bridleway sign. In 60 metres cross over a stone bridge with wooden railings going over a stream and continue straight on uphill up the path on the other side.
- In 250 metres you pass a gatepost and come out onto the main road (the A29). Cross straight over the road and follow the public bridleway sign up the car-wide track on the other side. In 30 metres go through a wooden fieldgate and bear left with the track. In 120 metres follow the direction of a two-armed signpost on your right, directly ahead, along the bridleway through the trees. In 100 metres you pass Pear Tree Farm on your right-hand side. 250 metres further on, you come out on to a road, alongside a rather sinister half-timbered old building of mixed styles called Maltmayes on your left-hand side. Turn right onto the tree-lined road and walk up the hill. In 20 metres ignore the public footpath going off the road to the left. 300 metres further on, you pass a driveway on the left-hand side, leading to a very tall clock tower (an old water tower, built in 1891 for the Warnham Lodge Estate and redundant since the mid-1930s).
- 200 metres beyond the tower, the road curves sharply around to the left. Ignore the first way off to the right (a track between wooden posts) but just beyond it you turn right off the road, following a bridleway sign on the corner, going straight ahead, due south. Follow the path to the left of the bridleway, making its way through the trees, beside railings along the left-hand edge of the wood (or in non-muddy conditions just walk up the bridleway).
- After 500 metres along this winding, narrow path, keeping near to the railings on your left-hand side whenever there is a choice, the path goes steeply downhill. 25 metres from the start of this hill, your way is rejoined by the at-times muddy bridleway coming in from the right. Follow the bridleway straight across the bottom of the depression and straight up the far side, your direction 235° initially. Ignore a path that forks off to the right.
- In 200 metres you come over the hill and down to a four-armed sign on your right. 10 metres before this sign [!] turn left off the bridleway,  go up a bank of tree-roots and up on to a footpath along oak trees lining the left-hand edge of a field, your direction 125° initially.
- In 400 metres you come to the far side of the field, where there is a three-armed public footpath sign, going past a broken metal fieldgate to bear left, following the path along the left-hand edge of the field, your direction 70° initially. In 80 metres you come to another three-armed public footpath sign where you bear right, carrying on around the field, your direction 105° initially.
- In 80 metres you come to a two-armed public footpath sign on your left. Follow the sign, half right across the field towards Warnham, your direction 120°. In 140 metres by a two-armed footpath sign, go through a gap in the hedge and continue in the same direction. 120 metres further on, you come to the edge of this field and continue straight on through the gap in the hedge and trees. When you come into the next field, you can see a development of red brick houses on your right-hand side. Continue on, with the fence surrounding this development on your right, down the hill, in the same direction as before. In a further 100 metres, you come to the edge of this field. Follow the path ahead through the trees. The path takes you down through the trees and out onto a road.
- Cross straight over the road (Tillets Lane) and down Lucas Road opposite. In 150 metres you pass Hollands Way on the right). 100 metres further on, you come to a dead end at Warnham Church of England Primary School. Go down a concrete footpath to the right of the school. 150 metres down this footpath you pass a three-armed footpath sign on the right-hand side and continue straight on. In another 100 metres you come out on to the road opposite the church. 50 metres down the road, on your right-hand side, is the village store and post office, which can be relied on for ice cream, cakes and snacks. In the opposite direction, on the left-hand side of the road, is the Sussex Oak pub, the suggested tea place.
- To extend the walk to Horsham, follow the instruction below.
- Otherwise to get to the station, walk down Bell Road, directly opposite the Sussex Oak, signposted “Horsham 2 miles”. In 500 metres you come to a T-junction on to a major road (the A24). Cross straight over the road and turn left, in the direction of London and Dorking. In 30 metres turn right, following the sign for Warnham Station. As you walk along this road, you can see the brickworks up on the left. Just walk straight up the road for 700 metres until you come to the station. The platform for trains to London is the one on the left before the level crossing.
Extension to Horsham
- Coming out of the Sussex Oak cross the road and turn right. At the end of the church yard wall turn left onto a foot path.
- In 300m take the right fork across a field.
- In 600m turn right along an old road.
- In 250m turn left off the road into the wood. If you choose this path you commit yourself to cross the A24, a 4 lane motorway which can be dangerous. If this is not your cup of tea continue on the road for another 500m into Robin Hood Lane and turn left underneath the A24. In 250m turn left again, cross a stream and pick up the instructions at turn left across a stream below.
- In 200m cross the A24, a 4 lane road with care !
- On the other side cross the golf course towards a parking area and the Warnham Nature Reserve. There is a cafe which closes at ????
- Continue downhill along Warnham Road and after crossing the outflow of the Warnham Mill Pond take the footpath on the other side.
- In 500m turn left across a stream and in 100m enter Horsham suburbia.
- Cross the road and pick up Spencer Road opposite which then changes its name to Kempshott Road.
- At the T junction in 400m turn right into Trafalgar Road.
- In 250m turn left into Rushams Road.
- In 150m cross North Parade into Horsham Park.
- Cross Horsham Park towards the station direction 135° or towards the centre of town direction 180°