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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, 11 August 2018

Saturday walk - Ashurst to Forest Row - Ashdown Forest and hopefully some [heather]

Length: 17.8km (11 miles) with an optional 5.5km (3.4 mi) extension to East Grinstead
Toughness: 5 out of 10 T=3.110

10.07 train from London Bridge (10.22 East Croydon) to Ashurst (Kent), arriving 10.57. **

Our resident train gnome suggests a day return to East Grinstead as being slightly more expensive than one to Ashurst (Kent). There are also no barriers at Ashurst, though a very picky ticket inspector might make you pay the fare from Hurst Green to Ashurst on the outbound journey. Or do it the other way round (day return to Ashurst) and rely on your blue eyes and winning smile at the East Grinstead ticket barriers.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

You might think you have done this walk but you very likely have not, as it takes a different route from other walks starting in Ashurst (obviously....Ed) and has not had an outing for a couple of years.

After crossing pleasant lowlands, lunch is in a remote pub in Gallipot, though a slightly earlier option is available in (the more familiar to SWC walkers) Hartfield. After lunch it is up onto the heathlands of Ashdown Forest, which hopefully will be showing some nice heather colour. I say "hopefully" because I never seem to time heather right. Like bluebells it always seems to be half out or half over. But this OUGHT to be about the right time.

When we did this two years ago the Ashdown Forest Visitor Centre had a "pop-up cafe" (what we pre-millennials call a "tea van"), but if that is not there, Forest Row is oozing with tea options. You can finish the walk here by taking the 270 or 291 bus to East Grinstead, which go at 16.03, 16.27, 17.04, 17.26, 18.03, 18.35, 18.57, 19.49, 21.44 and 22.44

OR you can walk on to East Grinstead via the old railway line - another 5.5km (3.3 miles) - using directions provided in the walk document, making a total walk of 23.3km (14.4 miles)

OR - if you want to be really flashy - use the shorter afternoon of the East Grinstead Circular, which is 8.9km (5.5 miles) from Forest Row, making a total walk from Ashurst of 26.7km (16.5 miles). This starts in paragraph 89 on page 8 of this document and you will need pages 8-10 (GPX here). Early in this option you past Tablehurst Farm cafe, a possible tea stop.

However you have got there, trains back from East Grinstead are at 06 and 36 past. **

** We were warned that on 20 May the times of every train on Southern would change. Well, the Ashurst train used to leave at 10.08 and it is now 10.07, while East Grinstead trains used to be 07 and 37 and are now 06 and 36. Try not to get caught out.


Walker said...

47 on this walk. Yes, n=47. “Is this a record?” several people asked me. Consulting my database (which stretches back to 2011) I think the answer is probably yes. “Probably” because there has been the occasional popular book one walk - Hever to Leigh, Milford to Godalming, Haslemere Circular - where “around 40” have been reported. Maybe people on those days did not count precisely. But I did count today’s walkers as they exited through the platform gate and there were definitely 47.

Too big a group to “do names”. Too big a group to fit into a walk with “one lunch pub”, you might think. Some did take one for the team and stop at the earlier Anchor Inn in Hartfield. But the Gallipot Inn, the sugggested lunch stop, actually coped with the rest of us without problems. They had oodles of space in their very scenic garden. The service was also unflustered apart from one staff member who was rather frosty and seemed not to know the difference between vegan and vegetarian (even though vegan options were promised on the menu) or indeed between a beefburger and a veggie burger. (And no, this is not my personal moan: I had the lamb kebab).

It had started sunny but was w=mainly-cloudy, with refreshingly moderate temperatures that I think we all enjoyed after the recent heat. Up in Ashdown Forest there were two or three nice patches of heather in full bloom, though not as much as I expected to be honest.

Five of us had tea at the pop-up cafe in the Ashdown Forest Visitor Centre, which was not, despite my jibe in the walk post, a tea van but some ladies (and gents) with nice homemade cakes. Most of the rest of the group went on to Taffels in Forest Row, whose welcome was as stellar as usual in the face of an army of walkers turning up not long before closing time and cleaning them out of both vegan and non-vegan cakes. Others went to a nice new microbrewery type bar across the road.

Most, I think, got the bus to East Grinstead. Some (I did not count) did the extension up the old railway line. Seven of us reversed the shorter morning of the East Grinstead Circular (with a variation or two) adding 4 miles to the walk (=15 miles) and stopping en route for dinner in the Dorset Arms.

Anonymous said...

At least 3 went to Dorset Arms for lunch. 9 in Hartfield for lunch, joined by 1 sandwich eater. After lunch, 6 detoured along the old railway track way to avoid road walking via Gallipot Inn (since we had already eaten), eventually taking a pleasant footpath south to rejoin the official route near Marsh Green. This made the walk longer so after a reviving tea and cake at Visitors Centre in Ashurst Forest, most walked the shorter distance to Wych Cross to catch the 16:58 bus, with 1 carrying on to Forest Row and East Grinstead.

Peteb said...

8 from the cafe group did the extension to East Grinstead but more may have followed on from the later arrivals in Forest Row. Superb day out.