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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 15 October 2016

Saturday First Walk - Woods and hills and the hoot of a steam train

Book 1 Walk 34 - Balcombe to East Grinstead
Length: 17.2km (10.7 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10

9.42 from London Bridge (9.56 East Croydon) to Balcombe, arriving 10.22.

Best ticket: a tricky one, as Balcombe and East Grinstead are on different branches, diverging at East Croydon. Our resident train gnome says that an "any permitted" day return to Balcombe is accepted at East Grinstead, but recent comments cast doubt on that. You should certainly avoid a cheaper "Thameslink only" return to Balcombe, as you will be coming back on a Southern service. Having said that, you could get a "Thameslink only" return to Balcombe  (£5.60 with a Network Card) and then a single from East Grinstead to East Croydon (£6.15 with a Network Card) and then make sure you change at East Croydon to a Thameslink train to return to London Bridge (or use Oyster from there on in, but don't forget to tap in). Anyone with better advice is welcome to post a comment

For walk directions click here.

This pleasant Wealden walk seems to have dropped off the map recently, which is a pity as it was once a firm favourite. You set out eastwards from Balcombe, the only rural stop on the Brighton line, and to begin with there is a fair bit of upping and downing, taking in the gardens of Wakehurst Place, a National Trust property (whose tea room is a potential light lunch stop) en route.

One more up and down brings you to West Hoathly, whose pub the Cat Inn looks to have slight idees au dessus de son gare (ideas above its station: a joke from the Terence Rattigan play French without Tears), even though West Hoathly is in fact not au dessus de son gare because it is the village that refused to let the Bluebell Line re-open its station (see Wikipedia). (Ho ho ho - Ed)

Whatever, with luck your walk through the woods after lunch will be punctuated with the pleasant hooting of a passing Bluebell Line train, before a climb up to Stone Farm Rocks and a walk along the Weir Water Reservoir. Tea is at the Old Mill pub or Starbucks in the Sainsbury's by the station, though keen students of the East Grinstead Circular walk would be able to divert to other options.

Trains back from East Grinstead are at 07 and 37 past.

7 comments:

Sean said...

Walker's ticket advice is sensible. Southern staff at East Grinstead have become fussier about accepting return tickets issued to other stations, which won't go through the ticket barriers. They usually wave through tickets to Uckfield-line stations (somewhat grudgingly) but it would be annoying to pay over the odds for an "Any Permitted" return to Balcombe and then have it rejected.

Note that the cheap "Thameslink only" tickets are only issued from London stations like St Pancras or London Bridge: tickets to Balcombe are more expensive from East Croydon or Boundary Zone 6 (both £6.25 single, £7.40 return). And on the way back a single from East Grinstead to Boundary Zone 6 (£6.20) is more expensive than East Croydon (in Zone 5!) or Upper Warlingham (£5.15), so get the latter if you've got a Freedom Pass. [If you're changing onto a Thameslink train at East Croydon you could actually get a single to Caterham "via East Croydon" for £5.50, but don't ask me why that's 65p cheaper than the fare to East Croydon...]

Bridie said...

Thanks fgpr the travel details Walker and thanks Sean for adding to it
BUT
whcih tickets do we buy please ?

Walker said...

Well, if the alternative idea I suggested doesn't impress you, buy "any permitted" day return to Balcombe and then pay for a single from East Grinstead to East Croydon if asked to do so at the ticket barriers there

Mike A said...

Ah this walk always attracts plenty of comments regarding the tickets!
I'm going for the Thameslink return to Balcombe (£5.60) and Sean's excellent suggestion of a single from East Grinstead to Caterham via East Croydon (£5.15)
Network Rail Cards assumed - cheaper for Freedom Passers methinks.
However London Bridge is my preferred station so I am biased!

Walker said...

To clarify (or muddy the waters)

Mike A's solution would be £5.60 + £5.15 = £10.75 with a Network Card, and you would either have to use Freedom Pass or Oyster from East Croydon to home, or get a Thameslink train back to London Bridge or Blackfriars.

From London "any permitted" to Balcombe return is £14.60 with a Network Card. You may be allowed to use this from East Grinstead or you may not, so you may have to pay an extra £5.15 (to Caterham via East Croydon) or £6.15 (East Grinstead to East Croydon) on top = £20.75 potentially.

So putting up with changing on the return leg to a Thameslink train at East Croydon seems to give you big cash benefits.

All this advice is "without prejudice" as the lawyers say

Anonymous said...

how many more acres are you going to fill up with aimless chat about train tickets, when the price difference is negligible and it all hinges on the mood of the people at the barriers in E. Grinstead anyway? One already has to scroll down multiple times to get to the posting for walk 2, never mind 3...

Bridie said...

N=21 walkers on this w=wonderfully-sunny-day-with-a-little-shower-at-the-beginning-and-another-at-the-end-of-the-day.
A calm gentle walk with leaf change showing quite startling so when a maple occurred.
The Cat Inn - bloomin marvelous
Tea at The Old Bank Cafe - so so
The Manor House is up for sale apparently in West Hoathly in case anybody wants a nice gaff over the road from the pub and the church but I can't find the price on the web and one of our walkers met the man selling it and he said the price is not being disclosed - I wonder if he really wants to sell it.
As maybe you can guess - there was little of incidence on the walk - just a lovely day.