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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

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Sunday Walk - Balcombe to Horsham

Length: 26.7 km (16.6 mi) [shorter walk possible]
Ascent/Descent: 375/398m; Net Walking Time: 6 ¼ hours
Toughness: 7/10

Take the 09.41 Brighton train from London Bridge (09.55 East Croydon), arrives Balcombe 10.21.
From Victoria take the 09.33 Portsmouth Harbour train (Clapham J 09.40) and change at East Croydon (09.49/09.55).
Return trains from Horsham are on xx.21 (to Victoria) and xx.48 (to LBG), journey time 60 mins.
Buy a Horsham Return, you then may have to buy a Three Bridges to Balcombe one-stop single extension.

"This walk passes through the beautiful woodlands of the High Weald between Balcombe and Horsham including St. Leonard's Forest just to the east of Horsham, the source of the river Arun. The walk also passes near the source of the River Ouse. A major theme of this walk are the various water features along the way from gurgling streams to rivers and lakes. The ridge at the northern end of St. Leonards Forest along the line from Colgate to Pease Pottage forms the watershed between the river Thames and the Channel. The streams to the north flowing into the Thames are called brooks while the ones to the south flowing into the Channel are called gills. The river Mole's source are various brooks on the northern side of the watershed. In the morning the walk passes through Nymans Estate the former country retreat of the Messel family and now owned by the National Trust. The destination of the walk is the old market town of Horsham at the upper reaches of the Arun. Towards the end of the walk you pass the Chesworth Farm Riverside Fields a small nature reserve along the river Arun."

Walk Option: route map and text show a shortcut towards the end, but the write-up does not tell us how much it cuts…

Lunch: The Wheatsheaf in Plummers Plain (10.4 km/6.4 mi).
Tea: the route finishes through the centre of Horsham, so take your pick… Recommended by the walk author is The Black Jug (Brunning & Price mini-chain).

For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here.


Sal said...

Sounds good, a tough walk is just what I need.

Sal said...

What time does this walk start?

Thomas G said...

10.21 Balcombe, as per the posting

Thomas G said...

8 walkers assembled off the train (plus plenty others doing other Balcombe walks, courtesy of the SWC books and downloads), and then there 2 others who had missed the train and acc. to my info took a later train to Horsham amd walked a Horsham Circular, most likely including enough parts of the route of this walk to claim the number being n=10. The weather was w=pleasant-but-humid, with it being much more humid in the morning stretch than p.m. Lots of buttercups and all kinds of other spring flowers (not that I would know them by name). And we saw deer on two occasions.
No surprises initially as the route follows Ye Olde Balcombe Circular Walke, although - despite that - the on-the-sparse-side-of-sparse directions prompted some head-scratching at times. The 'new' bit after that initially provided for a good mixture of woods with streams (for example the Nymans Estate) and pastures with views and walkable paths, then the bits around Handcross and to the lunch pub were maybe a bit tarmac-heavy. The fishing lake was manned (it is always men, why?) by plenty of optimistic anglers, all seemingly taking positions just in front of the three wooden benches that the picnickers were aiming at for their lunch break.
The Wheatsheaf pub a bit further along may be quirky, but - more importantly - it is also efficiently run by dedicated and caring staff, so we had very satisfying meals and fine drinks on the shady veranda.
Afterwards we took the time for an All Ireland vs England & Germany table football game (with a rather predictable outcome) and on we went.
After lunch there were still a fair amount of interesting woods and pastures with views, but also increasingly knee-high grass pastures w/o clear paths, some HV pylons, overgrown fenced paths and feature-less farms with odd path diversions through overgrown areas. The ground was hard, the tarmac count kept rising and everyone was tiring.
A bit more (some, any!) background information in the write-up may have provided some interest, but - as said - they are on the sparse side of sparse. So, partially this was a bit of a slog.
But then we hit the outskirts of Horsham, and that was quite a nice finish to the walk: the Nature Reserve around the upper reaches of the Arun, the old part of town, and the remnants of a Spanish-themed street festival on the pretty market square (free sherry anyone?) plus a nice Italian Cafe there (and some interesting-looking pubs as well).
18.21 train for the lunchers, the 2 picnickers had moved on early from the pub and were long gone.
All in, a mixed bag of a walk, with grass, nettle and brambles growing season possibly not the best time of year for walking it (although the paths in the woods will be a nightmare in mud-season as well).

fi said...

there is a typo on the shortcut instructions number 11 is says turn right onto Hampers Lane when it should be turn LEFT. Please can this be fixed.

Many thanks

Thomas G said...

...turns out that the two Horsham Circular walkers reverse walked the shortcut route into town to where it splits off from the main route and then the main route ending, about 10 miles if they are to be believed...