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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.

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Saturday, 16 January 2016

Saturday Second Walk - East Grinstead Circular with NEW MORNING ROUTE

SWC Walk 40 - East Grinstead Circular with NEW morning route
Length: 18.1km (11.2 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.53 train from Victoria (9.59 Clapham Junction, 10.10 East Croydon) to East Grinstead, arriving 10.48.

For walk directions click here - you only need pages 1-10 since we will be doing the "winter walk".

The East Grinstead Circular has gained a terrible reputation as a winter walk in recent years due to fearsomely muddy fields near its start. I must be a bit touched in the head because back in the summer I set out to create a new winter start that would be drier underfoot. I stress "drier", not "dry" because this is the Weald and it is January, but I did my best to pick paths that were high and to use tarmac or gravel tracks as much as possible.

Will this actually work? The only way to find out is by giving it a test in full winter conditions. I am "cheating" a bit because if the forecast is right the ground may be partly frozen today. But we shall see.... C'mon. I appeal to your sense of adventure....

The other advantages of this new start is that it is a bit longer than the old one, and you pass the National Trust property of Standen quite early on, which amazingly is open today if anyone wants to visit it. (You could have a look at the house and grounds, have lunch there and then finish your walk in Forest Row, the lunch stop on the main walk and get a frequent bus back to East Grinstead from there: this makes a short walk of 9.3km/5.8 miles)

Lunch is in familiar old Forest Row, but since we are trying new things today, we might eschew the familiar old Chequers Inn and try one of the other pubs in the town - eg the Brambletye Hotel on the other side of the road just down the hill, or the Swan ditto but up the hill.

The afternoon is the familiar afternoon of the East Grinstead walk - I say familiar, but so rarely did anyone stick with this walk to do the afternoon that it might be a novelty to most of you. It has a long dry section on lanes and tracks in its middle with nice views. East Grinstead has nice pub and tea opportunites.

Trains back are at 07 and 37 past until as late as you like.

1 comment:

Walker said...

n=26 on this walk on a day of w=lovely-sunshine-and_sun_through_high_cloud. A beautiful day out in lovely company, but OK, OK, OK, the new "winter" morning route did not quite make the grade. Quite large bits of it were firm and dry, but where it crossed fields there was a tendency for boots to sink down 6 inches into the gloop. Luckily this was mitigated by frozen or part frozen ground in lots of places, but in our new "normal" 13 degree winter temperatures it would have been distressing.

Having said this, am I allowed to say as the walk author, that I thought the new morning route delightful, and I think it will make a lovely spring, summer or autumn route? At least two people took advantage of the fact that it passes the National Trust property at Standen early on to visit that house - another big advantage of the new route.

Our experiment with untried pubs in Forest Row was also mixed. The Swan was comfortable and pleasant, but its food was priced at the gourmet end and then turned out to be more of corner cafe quality. You don't expect to get cheap MacDonald's style fries with a £15 fish and chips, nor pre-sliced factory bread with a pub sandwich. Either food quality or the price points need to change. Ho-hum.

These minor niggles were shrugged off in a very nice afternoon, largely firm underfoot, when the sun, which had been a bit hidden by cloud around lunchtime, reappeared. A few gloopy fields towards the end were thankfully freezing solid by the time we crossed them. We got to East Grinstead just in time for dusk (always nice to feel one has made full use of the day). Some of us tried a new tea place in the centre called Agora, but I found it a bit pedestrian. It is not often you find me wishing I had gone to Caffe Nero....