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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

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.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Saturday walk - Balcombe to East Grinstead - a varied walk across the High Weald

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

10.10 train from St Pancras International (10.22 Blackfriars, 10.49 East Croydon) to Balcombe, arriving 11.19

Or take the 10.23 from Victoria (10.29 Clapham Junction) to East Croydon, arriving 10.40, to connect with the above train there.

Buy a day return to Balcombe and then a single from East Grinstead to East Croydon on the return journey **

(** Balcombe tickets are NOT valid on this leg: a Balcombe return with a Network Card costs £12.75. You can reduce this to £6.35 by taking a Thameslink only option but then you must change at East Croydon on the return journey and take a Thameslink train, which today means only a Blackfriars/St Pancras train as services to London Bridge are not running. A single from East Grinstead to East Croydon with a Network Card costs £6.20)

For walk directions click here.

I thought this old favourite would make a nice autumn walk. It has lots of delights, including plenty of Wealden woods and hills, a crossing on public footpaths of the National Trust Grounds at Wakehurst Place, and the hooting of (usually unseen) Bluebell Line steam trains. In the afternoon there is a stretch along the Weir Wood Reservoir.

Lunch is at the somewhat posh-looking Cat Inn in West Hoathly, but an earlier option is the National Trust tea room at Wakehurst Place. This is immediately adjacent to the right of way but just occasionally NT staff have been sniffy about walkers diverting into it - I don't know why, as it is extra revenue for them. So be discreet (ie try not to enter en masse, waving treking poles and splaying mud everywhere) and don't use it as a way into the gardens without paying. If you fancy doing a proper visit to the site, note that there is light for walking today until about 6.30pm.

For tea the Dunnings Mill pub a little way before the end of the walk is nice and the only pub option. Otherwise East Grinstead Sainsbury's at the end has a Starbucks.

Trains back from East Grinstead are at 07 and 37 past.... Don't forget to buy that single to East Croydon. T=1.34

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Walker, for the careful research. Appreciated.

Walker said...

Following the uncertainty earlier in the week, as reflected in earlier versions of this post, Southern have now confirmed that their trains will run as normal on the East Grinstead line on Saturday. So this post is no longer provisional...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great walk - Ryan

Daisy Roots said...

I'm going to try a route out from East Grinstead via Fen Place Mill and Minepit Wood and will aim to meet the group at lunch.

Walker said...

n=28 on this walk: 25 at the start, one late starter, one who walked from East Grinstead (see previous comment), and one dumb clutz (me!!) who mistakenly took the train an hour earlier than the one he himself had posted (just goes to show you should always read the walk post CAREFULLY).

It started rather cloudy but w=warm-sun-eventually-managed-to-break-through. Increasing amounts of it. There was a bit of mud but not too much. Quite a bit of autumn colour too, though we are still some way (several weeks if this mild weather holds) off the peak.

One walker had pre-booked a table for four at the Cat Inn. When another tried to book one for 8, he was told they were fully booked. Those who ignored this advice and went to the pub anyway found it not that busy. About ten of us went instead to the Seed Cafe at Wakehurst Place where the queue moved somewhat slower than the Greenland ice sheet and the hot choice was a) vegetable soup b) baked potatoes with cheese or tuna mayonnaise and c) sausage rolls. Having said that, both soup and baked potato were quite nice.

The cafe lunchers managed to hook up with the pub lunchers at the Cat Inn, where we sat outside in the sun having drinks and coffee - how nice it is to sit outside! How soon this pleasure will be denied us!. Eight of us also diverted to the National Trust tea room at Standen near the end of the walk and had an al fresco tea there. Others went for drinks at Dunnings Mill, and a few of us went to a stripped-down pub near East Grinstead station (beer served from the barrel), whose name escapes me.

All in all, I think the consensus was that it was a nice autumn walk and 10.7 miles of walking adequately filled the day, though as one old timer commented "this walk does not seem as long as it used to".

(Oh and belated apologies for not realising that the best ticket combination would have been a Thameslink single to Balcombe and a Southern single from East Grinstead to Victoria - £12-13 in all. For the record, while three of us diligently paid the East Grinstead to East Croydon supplement, one of our party with a Balcombe any permitted return did not bother and was waved through by both barrier staff and the ticket inspector on the train.)

Anonymous said...

I am surprised to see that the issue of distance of the walk came up again. To keep it in balance, some found the distance was just about right - coupled with a late start, it was perfect. Thank Walker to post this walk.

Walker said...

Sorry, my wording gives the wrong impression. The issue of walk length did not come up at all: no one mentioned it. I was merely repeating a throwaway remark by an old friend. He was reflecting on how easy 10.7 mile walks seem today compared to when we first started doing SWC walks. Quietly, without noticing, walking each Saturday makes your fitter.