- Walking Time: 3.5 hours
- Length: 11 miles
- Terrain: Gravel, Tarmac, Mud, Grass, Gravel.
- Restrictions: None of note (stay out of private land)
- Maps needed: OS 135 (Ashdown Forest). Possibly OS 146 (Dorking, Box Hill, Reigate).
- Difficulty: 7/10
A walk that starts on the Forest Way and incorporates the ruins of Brambletye Manor, into Forest Row, then up the Vanguard Way, to Owletts Farm (via the most remote cottage ever), north to the Surrey border, along the Tandridge Border Path, back down via Fowl Wood and back into East Grinstead.
Start in East Grinstead where the Forest Way diverges from the A22. Follow the Forest Way for about 1 mile and then proceed down Luxfords Lane to Horseshoe Cottage. Take the footpath to your left and follow past the edge of the fields, following the path across the middle of the large field and then towards the power lines. Follow this path with the chickens on your left and pigs on your right until you reach Orchard Eggs, with the abandoned vehicles by the barn. Continue to follow the path past Brambletye Manor ruins and the road will bring you back to the Forest Way. Follow the Forest Way to the level crossing and cross over.
Once crossed over, follow the lane to the water pumping station. Take the overgrown path behind the water station and follow this path north for about 2 miles climbing the muddy gradient. Once at the summit you will come upon Cansiron Lane. Follow Cansiron Lane to the east and continue past the two houses as the track becomes dirt and narrows significantly. You should see an abandoned workshop on your right. Follow the footpath north through the trees until you reach Owletts Cottage, hidden away in the woods.
Take the dirt track into the fields and follow this track down the gradient for about a mile until you reach Owletts Farm. Follow the road north from Owletts Farm to Dog Cottages and take the footpath that carries on. Follow this for about 1.5 miles through two fields, a wooded area and a gate until you reach a large horse riding complex with a multitude of paddock fields. Turn left after the riding school and follow the path until you reach a tarmacked drive. Turn right and follow this drive until you reach the A264 main road to Shepherds Grove Lane.
Take care on the A264 and Shepherds Grove Lane as they are well used by cars. Turn left onto the Tandridge Border Path near the top of the summit. Follow the Tandridge Border Path through two fields, over the Kent River bridge and through a horse paddock. Follow a gravel track until you reach the A264 again. Turn south off the A264 through Orchard Nursery Plant Centre. Follow the path south for about 1.5 miles, through a long field, another horse paddock and a wooded area until you reach a lane with Wood Cottage.
After Wood Cottage, follow the bridleway as it curves and bends through the woods for about 1.5 miles. Follow the path as it emerges out into a meadow on the edge of the East Grinstead conurbation. Follow the path behind the houses and you will emerge on the A22 at the east of the town.
From the A22 you can continue back into East Grinstead.
- Walking Time: 4.5 hours
- Length: 10 miles
- Terrain: Field, Gravel, Mud, Grass, Tarmac
- Restrictions: None of note.
- Maps needed: OS 135 (Ashdown Forest)
- Difficulty 7/10 (length & some steep hills)
This walk starts in East Grinstead and incorporates a small section of the Worth Way, a lot of rural countryside, via Gravetye Manor, the Bluebell Railway, Weir Wood Reservoir and finishes up on the Forest Way.
Start at East Grinstead station and continue out onto the Worth Way. Continue along the Worth Way until you reach the junction with the trail to Gulledge. Turn south onto the path to Tilkhurst Farm (as walked previously) and continue west until you reach Burleigh Lane. At the junction with Sandhill Lane, turn south and continue until you reach the footpath branching off to the right. Follow this path until you reach the B2110 (main road from East Grinstead to Turners Hill). Cross with care as this can get busy. The footpath continues opposite. Walk past the pond and follow the path up the gradient (this can get muddy) and under the power lines. Follow the path southwards, which will meander in between the tree line and the fields. The gap in the trees is an old Roman Road and extremely straight. The path from the B2110 to Selsfield Common is mostly an uphill gradient! Follow the footpath until you reach Selsfield Common (National Trust). There is a large log bench in Selsfield Common where I stopped for lunch, as it was just under half way through the walk.
After Selsfield Common, follow the signposted footpath through an old equestrian yard with very old brick buildings. The path runs through the middle of some horse fields either side, and out onto Vowels Lane. Continue on Vowels Lane for about 500 metres, then follow the entrance up the gradient to your right. The path divides soon after and climbs, passing round the back of some buildings. The path will then drop down again in a wide ravine-type gap until you reach a metal gate. Pass through the gate and turn left towards some buildings (passing gardens either side). Pass through another gate and you will arrive in a small car park. After the car park, turn south downhill and you will now be entering the Gravetye Estate. The furnace on the Gravetye Estate supplied the 12-pounder guns at Woolwich in the 18th century and is now a luxury hotel! Follow the path through the Gravetye Lake area and out into the fields, up a very steep incline. Continue over and enter a wooded area with ferns either side (this can get muddy). Follow the path up another steep field and into another wooded area. Take the footpath which almost doubles back on yourself and take the right fork. Follow this path through the forest, across a chalk road and then through the forest again, until you reach a lane to Birch Farm. Take the path next to the fence and follow, climbing steeply to cross over the Bluebell Railway on foot (watch & listen for steam trains in summer season).
After crossing the Bluebell Railway, follow the path across the fledgling River Medway and head up the steep hill, through the field with horses in, to the top where you will meet the path from Kingscote Estate (previous walk) and turn right up the the summit to Stone Farm Rocks. Walk along the ridge until you reach West Hoathly Road and then proceed down the narrow lane to Weir Wood Reservoir. Follow the path along the edge of the reservoir (2 miles) until you reach the junction with Millenium Walk by the edge of the dam. Turn north across the fields until you reach Horseshoe Cottage and carry on up Luxford Lane, joining the Forest Way at the now familiar location by the arch bridge. Follow the Forest Way until you reach East Grinstead high street.
This has been the most challenging walk so far, but also the most rewarding and varied and hopefully I’ll get to do many more like this!
- Walking Time: 3.5 hours
- Length: 10.5 miles
- Terrain: Mud, Fields, Grass, Tarmac, Gravel, Rock
- Restrictions: None of note
- Maps needed: OS 135 (Ashdown Forest)
- Difficulty: 7/10
A walk that goes from East Grinstead via the countryside and an abandoned horse livery to Owlett’s Farm in the northeast to Thornhill Manor, back into Ashurst Wood then to Forest Row station and back along the Forest Way.
Start in East Grinstead and follow the A22 towards Ashurst Wood. Stay on the road and do not take the Forest Way. Continue along the pavement until you cross over Woodbury Avenue. There will be a footpath signposted behind a wooden fence behind some parked cars. Follow this into a meadow and stay to the right as you go up the gradient. The path goes behind the houses and then to a narrow tarmac drive. Cross over this and follow the path and then into the woods. The path will continue through the woods and then come to a muddy style. Cross over and take the left fork onto a bark footpath (for horses). Follow this path down the gradient until you reach an open field. There should be abandoned horse jumps on your left. This was part of Homestall Stud Livery (which was closed as of July 2017). You can follow the horse track for about 1 mile in a loop or cross over the field to the style in the fence. The path will then climb up the gradient. Make sure you stick to the fence up the field. At the top of the field turn right and head south toward Beeches Farm. The path will bring you out into Ashurst Wood.
In Ashurst Wood, follow the road all the way for about 2 miles until you are opposite Stoke Brunswick School (with a golf course). Take the lane towards Great Water Farm and then Little Water Farm. There should a medieval building called New Barn on your right. The footpath will turn right up the field and hug the treeline. Follow this until you meet a quiet lane. Turn left when upon the lane. Follow this lane for about 2 miles past two long farm buildings and some houses until you are in Owlett’s Farm, with barns on your left and tractors on your right. Continue walking through Owlett’s Farm until you reach a style to the right by a stream. Cross over and follow this, crossing over the stream again, into fields. Follow the path through three fields, the gradient rising sharply until you reach the same lane that you followed before.
Turn left on the lane and follow this for about 2 miles. You should past Thornhill, a large country house, that can be seen from all surrounding areas. The lane should enter Ashurst Wood and lampposts start to appear. Follow the lane until you reach the church in Ashurst Wood opposite the war memorial. Turn left past the blacksmith’s and then enter the small recreation ground. You can follow the path through the rec ground to avoid the busy road. The path will bring you out opposite a bridleway. Take this bridleway and then cross over the A22 main road and then down Brambletye Lane. At the old Brambletye Crossing turn left towards Forest Row, along the Forest Way. Follow the Forest Way, crossing over the A22 again at the pedestrian crossing. Follow the road until you reach some buildings built on the railway alignment. The old site of Forest Row station is occupied by a waste transfer site and scout hut, but the old platforms can still be made out underneath. After this, follow the Vanguard Way back towards Forest Row. There are many signposted routes back into the centre of the village by the church.
When returning towards East Grinstead, follow the Forest Way for the length of the route back towards East Grinstead.
- Walking Time: 3.5 hours
- Length: 9.5 miles
- Terrain: Mud, Gravel, Fields, Rock, Grass, Tarmac
- Restrictions: No major restrictions
- Maps needed: OS 135 (Ashdown Forest)
- Difficulty: 7/10 (length & navigation needed)
A large loop walk that goes from East Grinstead to Tilkhurst Farm, Kingscote station, Stone Farm Rocks, Weir Wood Reservoir and back via the Forest Way.
Start outside East Grinstead station. Take the Worth Way for about 1 mile and head south towards Tikhurst Farm. At Tilkhurst Farm take the Sussex Border Path heading west. Then head south until you reach a sloped field and a small footbridge.
The path will meander through some fields and up and down a few gradients. Follow the path & the OS map and you will come out at Hurst Farm (a small private lane). Walk down this lane to the B2110 road (this is relatively busy so be careful). Follow the B2110 for about 400 metres and then turn down a footpath to the south. There will be a style at the roadside to climb. Follow this path (well signposted here) until you reach an open field that is quite steep. Head through the farm and you will reach Vowel’s Lane, with Kingscote station on your left. This is part of the preserved Bluebell Railway.
Cross over the road and carry on down the lane. This lane passes next to the railway tracks twice so you can stop and wait for the steam trains if you want. You will need to walk about 1.5 miles on this lane and then take a left turn by some houses into the private Kingscote Estate. This is a large vineyard, B&B, fishing ponds and equestrian centre in rural surroundings. The footpath carries on through the middle of the estate and out the other side: Here it is a bridleway but fully open to the public. Follow the path up the steep incline until you reach the top of the hill and you will come across a high geological ridge.
The ridge is a geological feature of the area and was formed about 400 million years ago when the soft sandstone (that forms most of the Weald) was worn away. The ridge is bedrock and still stands marking the valley below to the south. On the ridge are noticeable rock formations and quite rare for the south of England: These are Stone Farm Rocks. Follow the path along the ridge until you reach West Hoathly Road. Take the first left down the narrow lane (cars pass here so watch out) and follow down to Weir Wood Reservoir. The path cuts in between the water and the car park and is marked by a finger signpost. The path follows the edge of the reservoir and meets with the path that was feature in ‘North of the Reservoir’. Follow this path along the north bank of the reservoir for about 1.5 miles until you reach the electricity pylon where the four paths diverge.
Take the path heading north and back towards Horseshoe Cottage. Then follow the path to Luxford Lane, then down by the familiar arch bridge and back along the Forest Way. This will take you back into south of East Grinstead
Thanks once again for stopping by and I hope you get to experience one of my walks so far. All paths are mostly signposted but do require some map reading to complete.
- Walking Time : 2.5 -3 hours
- Length: 6.5 miles
- Terrain: Gravel, Fields, Mud, Grass, Tarmac
- Restrictions: Farm animals (electric fence), private land
- Maps needed: OS 135 (Ashdown Forest)
- Difficulty: 6/10 (paths can get confusing & some steep gradients)
This is a loop-style walk. It takes you along the northern bank of Weir Wood Reservoir and then around the southwestern side of East Grinstead, through Saint Hill Green.
Start in the high street in East Grinstead. Take the Forest Way until you reach the arch bridge carrying Luxford’s Lane. Walk down this lane until you reach Horseshoe Cottage and follow the path down the back of the house to the wooden bridge.
You will come to a gate. Go through the gate and take the path that follows the stream to your left. This will come to another gate & a narrow log bridge. Go over this and follow the path over the style, up the hill to the electricity pylon. You should be able to see Weir Wood Reservoir in front of you.
Take the path that runs to your right. You should go through a wooden gate and into the trees. This path will follow the northern bank of the reservoir for about 1.5 miles. It meanders quite a lot but should be obvious to follow. You should cross over a muddy patch (wellie boots needed) then past a bench and over another muddy patch. Here you will come across a padlocked, chained gate. Follow the open path until you come out into a field. Follow the path until you reach a junction where the path divides right. Take the right path (left goes about 1 mile to the reservoir car park & a long distance path to Kingscote). The path should follow a fern area with some high rocks to your right. Follow the path until you go under some trees and a barn appears on your left. To your right should be a gate. Go through this gate and into the muddy woods. The gradient is quite steep so be warned. Follow the path until you come to a field and the path climbs to meet a tarmacked road and small gravel parking area.
You will have to follow a road for about 1 mile (walk facing traffic where possible) until you reach Saint Hill Green. The road will fork left and right. Take the left fork and walk up the hill until you reach East Grinstead Rugby Club on your right. Follow the drive to the houses at the back of the ground until you reach the path. A path to your left should branch off. Take this branch and follow the path, down a noticeable slope, past the sheep pens until you reach Medway Drive. Turn right onto Coombe Hill Road and follow until you reach West Hoathly Road. There should be a green road salt bin at the T-junction. Turn left onto West Hoathly Road, then about 200 metres turn left into Streatfield Place until you reach the footpath at the end of the cul-de-sac.
A footpath runs beside the care home and along the very edge of the urban East Grinstead. You can see the line of houses and country either side of the path. Follow this path for about 1 mile following the fence line. It will bring you out at the roundabout of the B2110. You can either cross over and walk up the hill, or go up West Street back to the High Street.
Look for the very rural environment so close to the town as you walk back towards the town!
This walk starts in East Grinstead and goes to Weir Wood Reservoir.
- Walking Time: 3 hours
- Lenght: 7.5 miles
- Terrain: Mud, Gravel, Tarmac, Grass
- Restrictions: Don’t go into the water treatment works
- Maps needed: OS 135 (Ashdown Forest)
- Difficulty: 5/10 (gradients & map navigation needed in the middle).
Start in East Grinstead by Sackville College. Follow the Forest Way to the arch bridge carrying Luxford Lane across the old railway track.
Follow the path up the bank and follow the lane about 1/2 a mile to the group of houses. Follow the public footpath past the garden of one and continue until you reach the small bridge. This should bring you out to a metal gate/turnstile.
Follow the path through the wooded area and follow it into the heathland. Take the trail heading south-west towards the hill. The path will pass through about three fields before you reach the summit of the hill under the electricity pylons. You can see East Grinstead church from here as well as Forest Row church!
Follow the path through the wooden gate into an area called ‘Millennium Walk’. This will take you down past the bottom of the reservoir behind the dammed area. There is a horse paddock on your left. At the bottom of the hill should be a water works run by Southern Water. You need to walk through the car park and out the other side to get through. This is a public right of way.
Follow the small lane past Weir Wood. There is a small lane up a steep incline which you can walk to get to the edge of Weir Wood Reservoir. This is actually a sailing and fishing club so you can’t walk the whole way around but there are picnic benches and an amazing view! It is 1.5 miles from end to end and was created by flooding the entire valley beneath in 1951. The River Medway starts its journey just the other side of the reservoir!
Go back and follow the lane until you reach Priory Road in Forest Row. The cross-country paths were shut for maintenance when I walked so I had to follow the roads. Normally you can cut across the fields and come out near the ruins of Brambletye Manor. Once on Priory Road, you can follow the road into the centre of Forest Row. The Forest Row starts again just the other side of the village.
Once back on the Forest Way, follow this for 3 miles back to East Grinstead.
This walks uses our friend the Worthy Way for the majority of the walk. It takes us to two old stations and along the former track bed from East Grinstead to Rowfant (near the M23 motorway). There is a farm section, which passes close to Tilkhurst Farm, for about 2.5 – 3 miles in the middle which provides a picturesque, quiet change to the cyclists and flat trail of the old railway bed.
- Walking Time: 3.5 hours
- Length: c. 10.5 miles
- Terrain: Dirt track, gravel (Worth Way). Muddy paths, narrow track, slippery rocks (Tilkhurst farm detour).
- Restrictions: None of note. No public access to Tilkhurst Farm. Worth Way passes through housing estate in Crawley Down.
- Maps needed: OS 135 (Ashdown Forest) if walking to Tilkhurst Farm. Worthy Way is signposted.
- Difficulty: 6/10 (due to noticeable gradients on fields and walking distance for novice legs).
Start at East Grinstead station. Follow the signposts up over the platforms and past the car park (as seen in previous walks). Continue walking along the Worth Way for about 1 mile until you reach the crossroads of paths where one goes north to Gulledge and one goes south into the fields past a small pond.
Follow the path to the south into the fields. You should follow the path through the first field and into the second field. The second field should have a small pond to your left surrounded by trees. The path turns into a small farm track in the third field. Do not venture off this path as the fields are property of Tilkhurst Farm and clearly signposted.
At Tilkhurst Farm the path meets the Sussex Border Path running east-west. Here we turn west and continue through two long fields. There is a clearly marked path in the middle of the crops. When I walked it there was corn growing and wheat sprouting which was soft to the touch and I ran my hands through it while walking! The path follows the gradient and descends quite steeply to the boundary of Tilkhurst Farm. At the bottom is the first steel gate followed by a wooden bridge over a small stream. There will be another steel gate on the other side. The path climbs up a steady gradient through heathland (with very audible crickets). There is another steel gate at the top of the hill.
On the right is a barn with a large grain silo. Follow the path through another steel gate onto a narrow lane called Burleigh Lane, past a horse yard. A small field with two abandoned, weed-infested caravans should be on your right. The lane is about one mile in length and comes out into the large village of Crawley Down. There are some very expensive houses and cars here! One of my favorite trees is on this lane. This whole section is about 3 miles in length.
In Crawley Down, the old Worth Way is under a 1980s-built housing estate and urban sprawl, however it is clearly signposted. There used to be a station here called Grange Road.
Follow the road called Old Station Close and the Worth Way goes through a narrow stone lined section and back out into the original, deep cutting for the railway. There is a noticeable incline back down onto the original alignment. The path is now easy to follow again. Follow the Worth Way for about 1.5 miles until the path drops down away from the original railway embankment. At Rowfant the original bridge has been demolished and you can still see the foundations. There is a road crossing here with a builder’s merchant road so be careful.
The path now skirts the embankment and cuts through to the right hand side at one point. You can look up at the original route of the railway. The reason the Worth Way does is, is that British Rail sold the land to Colas after the railway closed in 1967 and they have access rights and a large headquarters building on the site of the old goods yard with lots of large lorries. The Worth Way rejoins the original route at Rowfant station. The stations buildings are still there and you can stand in the road and imagine a train arriving over the old level crossing into Rowfant back in the early twentieth century! This is as far west as my walk goes. The Worth Way continues approximately another half mile to the west, but has largely been destroyed by the M23 motorway and ever-increasing modern urban sprawl of Three Bridges.
The return leg is much easier than the outbound leg of the walk. Follow the Worth Way back into Crawley Down and through the modern housing estate. There is about half a mile of housing to walk through, but excellently signposted. That is not worth picturing. From Rowfant it is 4 miles back to East Grinstead.
Rejoining the Worth Way at the east end of Crawley Down, there is Crawley Down pond, originally part of the Tiltwood Estate and used to be a mill pond.Now it is home to lots of ducks and a nice location to have a sandwich or drink or just watch the world go by.
Once past this location, the Worth Way will take you the 2.5 miles back to East Grinstead where the walk began. I recommend setting off about 11am and using Crawley Down or Rowfant station as a location for lunch.
This is another walk that starts at East Grinstead and take the form of a disused railway line (the other direction from the Forest Way) towards Crawley called the Worth Way. In my view this track should still be here as 1 in 3 East Grinstead residents commute to Crawley and the line had a good patronage before it was shut in 1967, but I digress. This walk is a tadpole-type shape via a few fields and an old farmhouse.
- Walking Time: 1.5 hours
- Length: c. 5.5 miles
- Terrain: Gravel/Loose paths
- Restrictions: None of note
- Maps needed: OS 130 Ashdown Forest (emergency). Walk can be done without maps.
- Difficulty: 2/10
Start at East Grinstead station (run by Southern) and look for Route 21 signposts. This will take you over a bridge over the existing electric railway. Follow the steps up and through the car park (this used to be the high level station with 4 platforms). Continue past the large signpost with the history of the route on it and you will be on the Worth Way going westwards.
Carry on this trail for about 1.5 miles until you reach a pond on the left and a path that crosses the trail from south to north. Take the path to your right/going north and you will be heading towards Gulledge Farmhouse.
Gulledge was built in c. 1574! This was during the reign of Elizabeth 1st! There are often sheep in the farmhouse surroundings and a friendly fellow doing DIY in the garage area. Four relatively long-distance (all over 10 miles) paths converge outside the building. If you walk on a good clear day, you can see Leith Hill in the far west and the North Downs. Both of these are over 15 miles away!
We will take the concrete driveway through the field heading eastwards under the ancient telegraph poles. This takes us slowly back towards East Grinstead.
Follow this path for about 1 mile until you come to Imberhorne Lane, the limit of the modern East Grinstead sprawl westwards. You should pass an old Land Rover stockpile and a scaffolder’s. There is an abandoned house with blossom outside that makes a picturesque contrast.
Turn right when you reach Imberhorne Lane and follow the pavement until you come upon the railway bridge from the earlier picture that carries the road over the old railway. A track should run from the bridge down to the trail. From here you can double back on yourself on the original trail at the start and walk back to East Grinstead station.
This walk takes you from East Grinstead to Forest Row, Brambletye Manor & back via the beautiful Sussex countryside. This is a teardrop-shaped walk of approximately 8 miles using a disused railway that is now a public footpath and protected right of way.
- Walking Time: 3 hours (average pace)
- Length: 7.5 – 8 miles
- Terrain: Gravel/Tarmac footpath for 5 miles, fields for 3 miles
- Restrictions: Near to Orchard Eggs stay out of chicken coops/pig pens.
- Maps needed: OS Map 130 (Ashdown Forest),
- Difficulty estimate: 4/10
Leave East Grinstead high street heading in a south-easterly direction towards Sackville School. On the opposite side to Sackville College, the ‘Forest Way’ will be signposted to Forest Row. Take this and pass through the wooden vehicle trap (wiggly gates). Follow the path down a noticeable gradient until you meet the underpass from Sackville School at the bottom of the gradient. This is where the Forest Way begins. Follow this for approximately 3.5 miles on a fairly level, obvious path and you will reach Forest Row without much trouble. This should take about 1.5 hours.
Forest Row itself has a great pub called ‘The Swan’ where you can get a drink or some food. Failing that there is a mini-supermarket in the Esso garage.
The Forest Way continues on to Groombridge, Kent (another 8 miles). However for our purposes we turn around and head back towards East Grinstead. The rest of the Forest Way is a goal I’d like to tackle once I’m used to walking a bit further on a regular basis!
Head back on to the Forest Way and continue walking until you reach a small crossing with a lane called Brambletye Lane. Follow this in a southerly direction, continuing past some houses on your right. On the left should be the ruins of Brambletye Manor built in 1631 but abandoned since the early 1800s. Rumour has it that the owner of this house, Sir James Baronet, fled to Spain in 1683 after being accused of treason!
Carry on past the ruins and follow the track past a very nice, large house on your right and a historic moat on your left. The track goes through some large pine trees and past Orchard Eggs on your right. Carry on past this and follow the rutted path along the edge of the field. You will pass a small logging hut on your left. There are chicken coops to your right and a large pig pen to your left: Both these have electric fences so be careful!
Once past the animals, follow the path across the field and to the tree line. The path then dives down under the trees. At the time of writing (early summer) this path was overgrown but still passable.
You should hear a faint humming coming from the North-North West. This is the Weir Wood Reservoir treatment works where another long distance path joins (another ambition). Follow the path round the side of some extremely large houses on your left and then follow Luxford Lane to the North East. Looking back here gives you a great view!
This lane is tarmacked and leads back to the brick arched bridge on the Forest Way. There is a little rutty path that leads down to the Forest Way path. From there you can continue back to East Grinstead on the original route!
I hope you’ll pop back to the blog next time when I walk a short portion of the Worth Way to Gulledge Farmhouse (16th century) and back!