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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, 30 September 2017

Haywards Heath Circular via Lindfield - Low hills in the Ouse Valley

SWC walk 141 - Haywards Heath Circular via Lindfield

Main walk: 19km (11.8 miles)
With bus at end: 16km (9.9 miles)
Bluebell Railway ending: 12km (7.5 miles)

Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.42 train from London Bridge (9.56 East Croydon) to Haywards Heath, arriving 10.27

You can also get....

9.47 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.03 East Croydon) to Haywards Heath, arriving 10.29

9.10 from St Pancras International Thameslink platforms (9.22 Blackfriars) to Haywards Heath, arriving 10.18

Best ticket: READ CAREFULLY: If you travel from London Bridge or St Pancras you can get a Super Off-Peak Day Return to Haywards Heath valid only on Thameslink, for £7.40 (with a Network Card). You must travel back on London Bridge/St Pancras services if you buy this ticket. Otherwise (eg from Victoria or if you want a choice of routes on the way back) the fare is £14.85 (off-peak return). See bottom of page for best ticket for Bluebell ending.

For walk directions click here. For GPS file click here.

It has been a while since this walk had a Saturday airing. It doesn't offer rocket, bells and poetry - this is gentle countryside, a bit woody, only gently hilly - but you may get the distant (or not so distant) hoot of a steam train. There is a bit of Haywards Heath suburbia to get through to begin with, but the walk takes an ingenious route making use of open spaces and a nature reserve.

Lunch is in a small-ish pub in the middle of nowhere - a big group might try and stagger its arrival. Food is served till 3pm.

After lunch there is a possible Bluebell Railway ending: see the end of this post

Tea is in one of several places in the pretty village of Lindfield, which despite being on the outskirts of Haywards Heath still has a country feel.

From there the walk repeats its outward route through Haywards Heath, but you can avoid this by taking a bus from Lindfield. This is the 16km (9.9 mile) version of the walk. The buses include the 31 at 35 past the hour till 17.35, the 30 at 55 past the hour until 17.55, and the 270 at 16.53 and 18.06. After this you are relying on Shanks's Pony, free and available till all hours of the night.

Trains back from Haywards Heath go at
- 17 and 48 past to London Bridge
26 and 56 past to Blackfriars and St Pancras
- 14 and 44 past to Victoria


A route is provided in the walk document that links the lunch pub with Sheffield Park station on the Bluebell Railway, Britain's oldest and most iconic steam railway, and then to Sheffield Park Gardens (National Trust). It is just 5.3km (2 miles) from the lunch pub to the station and another 1km to the gardens, making this a total walk from Haywards Heath of 12km (7.5 miles). The station is the headquarters of the Bluebell Railway and there is lots to see and do there even if you don't take a train. Both it and Sheffield Gardens have a tea room.

However, getting back after your visit is not quite straightforward. The Bluebell has a 5.15 train to East Grinstead - expensive but atmospheric - but alas there are gargantuan engineering works on the normal railway from East Grinstead to Victoria this weekend, involving a one hour bus replacement journey, so you just don't want to go there. (Just for the record, the 17.15 steam train gets to East Grinstead at 17.55 and you would then get the 18.08 replacement bus service to Purley, arriving 19.11, take the 19.15 train to East Croydon, change there for the 19.34 to Victoria, arriving 19.50.)

The alternative - not as ridiculous as it first appears - is to get the 121 bus at 17.01 (only!) from Sheffield Park station or 17.05 from Sheffield Park Gardens (which shut at that time anyway) to Lewes arriving 17.33. This would connect you to the 17.54 or 18.16 train from Lewes to Victoria. To do this option, ideally you should buy a day return to Lewes in the morning - £18.50 with a Network Card. But if you decide to do this ending on the spur of the moment, a single from Lewes to Haywards Heath costs just £4.45 with a Network Card. You can't use your cheap Thameslink ticket on the Lewes-Victoria trains, but you can change at Haywards Heath and pick up a London Bridge or Thameslink service there (a few minutes wait for a London Bridge train, with the St Pancras one shortly after as a back-up): in total you would then have paid £11.85 on the train fare, plus whatever the Sheffield Park to Lewes bus costs. T=3.141

1 comment:

Walker said...

N=23 on this walk on a day that was w=mostly-cloudy-with-bit-of-sun-and-a-tiny-bit-of-rain. The “official” train from London Bridge was cancelled but 9 still managed to get to Hayward’s Heath by a slightly later connection. They caught up mid morning with the 14 of us who came on the Victoria train (thanks to H for recovering the trekking pole I had left on the bridge).

We had a pleasant walk across wood and field. Good flecks and patches of autumn colour. The first proper mud of the autumn (sigh!) but only a few short sections that were trying. The Sloop Inn was not busy and we all ate in its garden. Top marks to it for having at least four bar staff (I suspect that at busier times they act as waitresses).

In the afternoon the two of us who were dawdling behind botanising were lucky enough to see a steam train go past just as we crossed the Bluebell Line for a second time. In Lindfield we discovered a tea room - Somers Cafe - that was not in the walk directions - the village seems to have a lot of them. Some got the bus from here but at least three of us walked back to Haywards Heath: not at all far and it is quite interesting to revisit the outward route and see how much of it one remembers. I can confirm that the new Waitrose Cafe by the station at Haywards Heath is a stunner - though we did not stop, having already had tea.