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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, 20 May 2017

Horsted Keynes-Balcombe Walk – Water features in the High Weald

Extra Walk 174b – Horsted Keynes Station to Balcombe
Length: 18 km (11.2 miles). Toughness: 5/10

09:25 Brighton (Thameslink) train from London Bridge (East Croydon 09:42), arriving Haywards Heath at 10:10. If it's more convenient you can take the 09:17 Eastbourne & Littlehampton train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 09:23), arriving Haywards Heath at 09:59. However, note that there are no Thameslink services through central London this weekend. Buy a return to Haywards Heath (if you're travelling to/from London Bridge you can take advantage of a cheap Thameslink-only ticket).

At Haywards Heath make your way to the Perrymount Road bus stop near the station and take Metrobus 270 towards East Grinstead at 10:21, arriving Horsted Keynes Station at 10:36 (single fare £3.20). If you forget to get off at the Bluebell Railway station you can start the walk from the Church Lane stop in the village instead.

Short Walk Option: Take the train/bus one hour later than all the above times and do Option a, a 13 km (8.1 mile) walk. You might well bump into the main group as it loops back to the point where the two routes meet.

The Thameslink trains back from Balcombe are hourly at 22 minutes past until 19:22, then a long gap and hourly again from 20:59. Change at East Croydon for Clapham Junction or Victoria.

Walks requiring a bus journey to the start aren't ideal, but starting from a heritage railway station in the middle of nowhere is more interesting than the suburban environs of Balcombe or Haywards Heath. In the morning you'll have an undulating walk across typical Wealden countryside, going via the hamlet of Highbrook to a pub lunch at the Ardingly Inn. The afternoon is less strenuous, with an unusual section through the grounds of a leading independent school and a long final stretch alongside Ardingly Reservoir. You should reach the Balcombe Tea Rooms before 4pm, but they'll usually stay open later if called in advance. There are several possible routes from the village to the station so you can choose the one which best coincides with the arrival of the hourly train.

You'll need to print the directions from the Horsted Keynes to Balcombe Walk page. If you print the full document (instead of clicking the “Stn.” Option first) you could switch to the Haywards Heath start if the 270 bus doesn't turn up.


Thomas G said...

n=5 plus 3 turning up for lunch only, w=fine (as told by a Glencoe tripper)

Sean said...

Glencoe tripper's report was a little unfair on the three "lunchers", who in fact all did the Balcombe Circular version of the walk (in my case because local train cancellations made getting to Horsted Keynes too much of a pain). So I'd have said n=8.

I've belatedly concluded that the transport arrangements for a Horsted Keynes to Balcombe walk are too awkward generally, so the Haywards Heath and Balcombe starts been promoted and Horsted Keynes relegated to an alternative ending.