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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 April 2018

Saturday walk - Wivelsfield to Haywards Heath - Flower-filled woods of the Weald

Length: 18km (11.2 miles) T=3.225
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.42 train from St Pancras International Thameslink platforms (9.52 Blackfriars, 10.19 East Croydon) to Wivelsfield, arriving 10.53


9.50 Brighton-bound train from Victoria (9.56 Clapham Junction, 10.06 East Croydon) to Burgess Hill, changing there (arriving 10.35, departing 10.49) to Wivelsfield, arriving 10.53. The sharp-eyed will have spotted that you can change to the Thameslink train at either East Croydon or Burgess Hill, but the Burgess Hill change is probably slightly easier.


9.50 (Tattenham Corner train) from London Bridge to East Croydon, arriving 10.06, changing there for the 10.19 Thameslink train to Wivelsfield as above

Buy a day return to Wivelsfield. For those travelling from St Pancras or Blackfriars there may still be bargain cheap Thameslink-only fares available, so long as you stick to Thameslink trains on your return. Make the most of these as they will likely not survive the introduction of the exciting new Thameslink timetable in May **

For walk directions click here, for GPX click here.

I have chosen this walk because in the past I have recorded it as good for wood anemones and also bluebells: the latter will only just be starting, if at all: the former should be at their height. The best effect is if the weather is warm when the "wooden ms" open up fully.

Otherwise this is a pleasant Wealden walk. Lunch is in Cuckfield, one of those towns that was bypassed by the railway and hence now has olde world charm. Last time I did this walk I found the "unprepossessing" White Harte a positive 1970s timewarp (note to younger walkers: not a compliment!): I would not be surprised to learn that it has since been moved in its entirety to a museum. But to be fair it did feed us. There is also a posher pub, the Talbot, and several tea rooms as an alternative.

In the afternoon you are on the High Weald Landscape Trail, with some nice views at times, and you pass Borde Hill Garden, which you can visit for a fee: perhaps more to the point, there is a very nice tea place, Elvira's, by its entrance. Otherwise the walk ending is in suburban Haywards Heath, about which one would formerly have had to say that it had no nice tea options. But now there is a whopping big Waitrose by the station with a really very attractive cafe at the front. I am not sure of cafe opening hours, but the store is open till 9pm.

Trains back from Haywards Heath are very frequent: 14 and 44 past to Victoria, 26 and 56 past to Blackfriars and St Pancras, and 17 and 48 past to London Bridge. The Blackfriars (and London Bridge?) trains are the Thameslink ones.

** If you take the Thameslink train back and ride on it from East Croydon to Blackfriars, look out the window and enjoy the experience as it dawdles along, seemingly outside spacetime altogether in some parallel universe of its own, because from May ALL OF THIS WILL BE JUST A MEMORY and there will be lots and lots and lots of fast trains from East Croydon to London Bridge and St Pancras and even Finsbury Park as the new "Thameslink 2000" service comes in, only a couple of decades behind schedule. London Bridge travellers, awake: the long night is (nearly) over!!!

1 comment:

Bill S said...

n=16 plus one well behaved dog on this walk on a beautiful w=warm-and-sunny day. What a joy to be walking under blue rather than grey skies, though we still had to contend with the mud, of which there was plenty, of both the slippery and gloopy varieties - and the sticky version. Plenty of wood anemones, celandines and primroses, and some wild garlic, some of which was in bud. We even came across some bluebells which were just beginning to flower. And there were buzzards in the sky above which made a nice change from red kites.

About half of our number visited the White Harte at lunchtime, either for food or a drink. It suspect that it has not much changes from Walker's visit, but it was friendly enough and the food that it served up, though unprepossessing was well received (the person in front of me at the bar ordered double egg and chips which immediately resolved any dilemma over what I was going to eat - I loved every dunked chip of it). And the Badger beer was very nice to.

Two of our number reportedly decided that they had had enough of mud plugging and decided to bail out and explore Cuckfield instead. And those of us who set out as a group from the White Harte resolved to take both of the afternoon's short cuts for the same reason. I left them trailing behind after the first one so can't report on their progress, but I made it to Haywards Heath in time to visit the Waitrose café for supplies (which had a far better selection of cakes than the station kiosks) and catch the 15.56 back to St Pancras.

Mud aside, it was a fine day out.