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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, 1 September 2018

Saturday Walk - (The original) Balcombe Circular - Wealden rambles and a National Trust garden

Length: 17.6km (10.9 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.50 train from St Pancras (9.59 Blackfriars, 10.05 London Bridge, 10.19 East Croydon) to Balcombe, arriving 10.46 ** T=1.16

** Yes, a Thameslink train: not a choice I make without some trepidation. In the event it is cancelled, get one half an hour later. If that is cancelled meet at Costa Coffee on the main lower level concourse at London Bridge and we will decide on somewhere else to go.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. Please use the online directions not the book ones, as the online ones have a safe crossing of the A23.

Just to be clear, this is the original Balcombe Circular, the book one version, NOT the via Ardingly one. I was in fact originally intending to post the Ardingly one, but there is a rock concert at the South of England Show Ground there in the evening, and my idea of Wealden delights is NOT listening to a sound check wafting over the tree tops, so I have switched to this one. And why not, indeed? This walk has actually not had a Saturday outing since March 2017, so it is due a spin.

There is a voluminous correspondence online and in past walk reports about which pubs are or are not the ones to go to for lunch. If I am summarising this wrongly please correct me, but the original lunch stop. the Chequers in Slaugham, has gone, but there are two earlier pubs in Handcross, both of which hopefully are in business and one of which may be nice.

Handcross is also the location of Nymans, a National Trust garden you might care to visit. It is set around a part ruined house (it burned down in a fire) and the ruin is actually quite interesting. It has the usual self-service restaurant with some hot menu items (sausage hotpot, soup, veggie burger, salmon and broccoli tart) but I can't remember if you have to pay the admission charge to access this (not a problem for NT members, natch).

For tea my advice is forget about getting to the Balcombe Tea Rooms before they close at 4pm, unless you are a very fast walker, in which case you should be on the Moreton-in-Marsh walk. Instead The Victory Inn in Staplefield, halfway through the afternoon, serves food all afternoon and might make a tea stop. In Balcombe itself, the Half Moon Inn sometimes has cakes.

Trains back ** are at 22 and 52 past the hour. The back way to the station is recommended, tempting though the short cut along the main road is.

** Should Thameslink accidentally happen to have both rolling stock and drivers in the right place at the right time.


Anonymous said...

Hi Guys I am attending this walk and hope to see some of you at London Bridge and yes hope Thames link are running. Not done this original version walk before and weather good. A respite from the workmen.


Anonymous said...

In the past, a few of us stopped at the Balcombe tea room in the morning to buy a take away cake to have with our tea at the pub later on.

Anonymous said...

I’ll take a half an hour earlier train to be able to get to the tearoom on time.

Walker said...

Sometimes the rain comes down in June. Sometimes the sun goes round the moon. And sometimes Thameslink trains all run on time. Amazing. 22 benefited from this punctuality, with one late starter making n=23. The weather: glorious, unbroken blue sky, w=sunny-and-hot. In a few weeks such days will seem as fantastic as a fairy tale.

Nice to do this old favourite again. Some bits I remembered, lots I did not. At times I was taken back to the early days of the walking club, back in the late Middle Ages, when the world was young and we used to stop and look at the view occasionally.

We split up at lunch. Did some try the Royal Oak? What was it like? How was the rest of your day? The Red Lion may be a gastro pub, designed by committee at head office, but those of us who ate there found the food delicious - really mouthwatering. Not over busy either and with cheerful service. We were there for ages, lingering over coffee and even waiting for the late starter to order and eat. What nice people we are.

In the afternoon the Victory made an equally nice tea stop. Delicious puds, an outside table in the shade. Tea in pots. Your loss, Balcombe Tea Rooms: you should stay open later.

On up the big hill into Balcombe. There were a lot of big hills on this walk, more than I remember. Only two of us, as far as I know, went to the Half Moon in Balcombe for a drink. And I bet only one - me - went the lovely back way to the station.