Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield

07-Aug-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Valebridge Mill Pond

29-Jul-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Passing Borde Hill House

05-Aug-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Distant view of the Ouse Valley Viaduct

05-Aug-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Cuckfield cemetery

07-Aug-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Cuckfield Pantry & Tearoom, High Street

01-Jan-10 • Sean O'Neill

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Cottages, Church Street

01-Jan-10 • Sean O'Neill

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Wivelsfield to Haywards Heath walk

Fine views from the High Weald, the picturesque Sussex village of Cuckfield, and Borde Hill Garden.


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.

Updated: Tue, 29-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 14-Apr-18 16

Saturday walk - Wivelsfield to Haywards Heath - Flower-filled woods of the Weald

Length: 18km (11.2 miles) T=3.225
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.42 train from St Pancras International Thameslink platforms (9.52 Blackfriars, 10.19 East Croydon) to Wivelsfield, arriving 10.53


9.50 Brighton-bound train from Victoria (9.56 Clapham Junction, 10.06 East Croydon) to Burgess Hill, changing there (arriving 10.35, departing 10.49) to Wivelsfield, arriving 10.53. The sharp-eyed will have spotted that you can change to the Thameslink train at either East Croydon or Burgess Hill, but the Burgess Hill change is probably slightly easier.


9.50 (Tattenham Corner train) from London Bridge to East Croydon, arriving 10.06, changing there for the 10.19 Thameslink train to Wivelsfield as above

Buy a day return to Wivelsfield. For those travelling from St Pancras or Blackfriars there may still be bargain cheap Thameslink-only fares available, so long as you stick to Thameslink trains on your return. Make the most of these as they will likely not survive the introduction of the exciting new Thameslink timetable in May **

For walk directions click here, for GPX click here.

I have chosen this walk because in the past I have recorded it as good for wood anemones and also bluebells: the latter will only just be starting, if at all: the former should be at their height. The best effect is if the weather is warm when the "wooden ms" open up fully.

Otherwise this is a pleasant Wealden walk. Lunch is in Cuckfield, one of those towns that was bypassed by the railway and hence now has olde world charm. Last time I did this walk I found the "unprepossessing" White Harte a positive 1970s timewarp (note to younger walkers: not a compliment!): I would not be surprised to learn that it has since been moved in its entirety to a museum. But to be fair it did feed us. There is also a posher pub, the Talbot, and several tea rooms as an alternative.

In the afternoon you are on the High Weald Landscape Trail, with some nice views at times, and you pass Borde Hill Garden, which you can visit for a fee: perhaps more to the point, there is a very nice tea place, Elvira's, by its entrance. Otherwise the walk ending is in suburban Haywards Heath, about which one would formerly have had to say that it had no nice tea options. But now there is a whopping big Waitrose by the station with a really very attractive cafe at the front. I am not sure of cafe opening hours, but the store is open till 9pm.

Trains back from Haywards Heath are very frequent: 14 and 44 past to Victoria, 26 and 56 past to Blackfriars and St Pancras, and 17 and 48 past to London Bridge. The Blackfriars (and London Bridge?) trains are the Thameslink ones.

** If you take the Thameslink train back and ride on it from East Croydon to Blackfriars, look out the window and enjoy the experience as it dawdles along, seemingly outside spacetime altogether in some parallel universe of its own, because from May ALL OF THIS WILL BE JUST A MEMORY and there will be lots and lots and lots of fast trains from East Croydon to London Bridge and St Pancras and even Finsbury Park as the new "Thameslink 2000" service comes in, only a couple of decades behind schedule. London Bridge travellers, awake: the long night is (nearly) over!!!

16 plus one well behaved dog on this walk on a beautiful warm and sunny day. What a joy to be walking under blue rather than grey skies, though we still had to contend with the mud, of which there was plenty, of both the slippery and gloopy varieties and the sticky version. Plenty of wood anemones, celandines and primroses, and some wild garlic, some of which was in bud. We even came across some bluebells which were just beginning to flower. And there were buzzards in the sky above which made a nice change from red kites.

About half of our number visited the White Harte at lunchtime, either for food or a drink. It suspect that it has not much changes from Walker's visit, but it was friendly enough and the food that it served up, though unprepossessing was well received (the person in front of me at the bar ordered double egg and chips which immediately resolved any dilemma over what I was going to eat I loved every dunked chip of it). And the Badger beer was very nice to.

Two of our number reportedly decided that they had had enough of mud plugging and decided to bail out and explore Cuckfield instead. And those of us who set out as a group from the White Harte resolved to take both of the afternoon's short cuts for the same reason. I left them trailing behind after the first one so can't report on their progress, but I made it to Haywards Heath in time to visit the Waitrose café for supplies (which had a far better selection of cakes than the station kiosks) and catch the 15.56 back to St Pancras.

Mud aside, it was a fine day out.
Sat, 15-Apr-17

Saturday Walk - Weald, bluebells, a garden tea room

SWC walk 225 - Wivelsfield to Hayward's Heath
Length: 18km (11.2 miles) - or 14.8km (9.2 miles) with shortcuts
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.40 (Brighton-bound) train from St Pancras Thameslink or 9.51 from Blackfriars (10.19 East Croydon) to Wivelsfield, arriving 10.53

OR catch the 9.53 (Hastings-bound) train from London Bridge and change at East Croydon (arrive 10.10, depart 10.19) for the above train

Buy a day return to Wivelsfield.

For walk directions click here.

Bluebells are definitely coming out. Whether they will be at their best this weekend I rather doubt, but there certainly is a chance of some good displays.

This walk has never previously been done as a bluebell walk, I think, but I noted several good potential sites for them when we did it in late March 2016, both near the start and just after lunch. There were also some wood anemone woods - starting to fade now but hopefully not yet gone entirely.

For lunch Cuckfield offers several options, but last year we found the "unprepossessing" White Harte a bit of a 1970s timewarp, with cuisine to match. The "relatively expensive" Talbot might therefore be worthing looking at, or one of the town's tea rooms

Otherwise this is a gentle and varied Wealden walk, with the added bonus of a nice tea stop - a cafe next to Borde Hill Gardens, which you may also care to visit and which are open till 6pm. The last section is through woods (which should have lovely fresh greenery) to the centre of Hayward's Heath. - disappointingly suburban, but with very frequent trains (every 10-15 minutes) up to London.

bluebells explained: seven clever ways bluebells win the woodland turf war 74086
Sat, 26-Mar-16 11

Saturday Second Walk - Fine views and a nice tea room

SWC Walk 225 - Wivelsfield to Hayward's Heath
Length: 18km (11.2 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.52 train from Blackfriars (9.40 St Pancras International, 9.45 Farringdon, 10.19 East Croydon) to Wivelsfield, arriving 10.53.

Alternatively get the 9.53 from London Bridge to East Croydon, changing there (arrive 10.10, depart 10.19) to the above service - but see ** below.

Buy a day return to Wivelsfield. If you take the Blackfriars train and make sure to take a Thameslink train back from Haywards Heath (see below) you may be able to get a cheaper Thameslink-only ticket, but you will probably have to buy this from a Thameslink ticket machine or a ticket office. ** Note that the connecting train from London Bridge shown above is NOT a Thameslink service - but the 9.42 from London Bridge to East Croydon, arriving 9.55 is Thameslink.

For walk directions click here.

I have long had my eye on this walk which explores the pleasant southern end of the Weald, striking north to Cuckfield, a village with several possible lunch places.

In the afternoon it then follows the High Weald Landscape Trail, with fine views to Borde Hill Garden. This is is open, if anyone wants to pay the £9 entry, but its chief merit otherwise is that it has a nice tea room outside of it, open to non-visitors. The walk ends in the rather uninspiring commuter town of Haywards Heath, whose tea options are the station cafe or a Starbucks in a Sainsbury's.

Trains back from Hayward's Heath are numerous, but Thameslink services (if you are on a cheaper Thameslink only ticket) are at 26 and 56 to Blackfriars and St Pancras, and 17 past to London Bridge: all these trains go to East Croydon.
11 braved poor weather forecasts to do this walk. In fact it was just cloudy with some wind. Nice terrain, particularly just beyond Wivelsfield and near Borde Hill. Lots of bluebell woods to be and lots of wood anemones to come too: a few of these out but most just peeping above the duvet. Two bemused pigs enjoyed our company at one point as we walked through their wooded enclosure (we later decided we had mistaken the path slightly and should have been on the other side of the fence).

Most of us had lunch at the "unpreposessing" pub (the White Hart?). Two went to the other pub and I immediately wished I had joined them, as our pub was a 1970s time warp with transport cafe food. In the afternoon some did short cuts, but six of us finished the full walk. Discussion about whether to have tea at Borde Hill as the weather was worsening, but the five of us who did had nice nosh and despite kitting up in the expectation of heavy rain and gales on the 4km walk to Haywards Heath, we actually had neither. Having geared up to expect lots of suburbia I was also surprised how green this last bit of the walk was, albeit that the bridleway was very muddy.
Sun, 03-May-15

Sunday Walk 2 – Borde Hill Garden in the Sussex Weald

Extra Walk 225 – Wivelsfield to Haywards Heath
Length: 18 km (11.2 miles), with shorter options. Toughness: 5/10

09:42 Brighton train (Thameslink) from London Bridge (East Croydon 09:56), changing at Haywards Heath (arr 10:28, dep 10:38) for Southern's service to Ore, arriving Wivelsfield at 10:42. Buy a day return to Wivelsfield.

Or you can take the Ore train direct from Victoria at 09:47 (Clapham Jct 09:53, East Croydon 10:03), but the advantage of the Thameslink train is that you can get a much cheaper "FCC only" ticket from London Bridge.

The Thameslink trains don't stop at Wivelsfield on Sundays which is why you have to change at Haywards Heath. If necessary, get a return to the next station (Burgess Hill), which is the same fare. Even if a hard-hearted Southern ticket inspector insists on an extra ticket for the four-minute hop to Wivelsfield, you'll still be better off.

Returning from Haywards Heath, "FCC only" ticket-holders have Thameslink services to London Bridge at 03 & 33 minutes past the hour, while others can also take Southern services to Victoria at 11, 27 & 41 minutes past.

This walk starts in the Low Weald and gradually works its way up to the attractive village of Cuckfield on the southern edge of the High Weald, where there are fine views back to the South Downs. After a lunch stop in one of the town's pubs or cafés much of the afternoon is on the High Weald Landscape Trail, this time with equally fine views to the north across the Ouse Valley. The tea stop is a pleasant café outside Borde Hill Garden; if you might want to visit the garden, download a 2-for-1 voucher from the train companies' Days Out Guide and pair up to get in for half price. The final leg into Haywards Heath is rather less appealing and you won't find much there to detain you before the journey back.

You'll need to print the directions from the Extra Walk 225 page. There are short cuts for both the morning and afternoon legs if you want to leave more time for visiting Borde Hill Garden.
Sat, 06-Sep-14 20 Wivelsfield to Haywards Heath