Tag Archives: east grinstead

Wandering: East Grinstead to Groombridge

2 Apr

Today’s weather was almost perfect for walking, spring is well and truly here, in fact it almost felt like summer. At home the temperature reached 20°c, the highest of the year so far, but I wasn’t at home, I was out walking the Forest Way Country Park with my friend Chris.

The name country park is a little misleading, painting pictures of large open spaces, instead this country park is actually a long thin strip of land, another disused railway line, and an extension of the Worth Way which we walked just over a couple of months ago.

The route runs from East Grinstead, West Sussex to Groombridge, East Sussex and is about 10 miles in length. Apart from the distance it is not a particularly challenging walk, the path is mostly level and well surfaced with only a few wet patches which were easily negotiated.

East Grinstead was a little awkward to negotiate, the actual railway line is now a busy road with no pavements so the path makes its way unsignposted through the streets of the town. This was the only part of the route that required a map because once on the railway line proper it was just a case of keeping on heading the same direction. There is a section of the path between Forest Row and Hartfield with is almost as straight an arrow for over two miles.

The route can be quite easily (and almost equally) divided into three sections by the villages along the route the first being Forest Row, which the route just clips on the northern side of the village. Next along the line is Hartfield, which at first glance doesn’t seem to be very large, but it does have two pubs which are almost neighbours. We stopped here briefly for refreshments before heading off at a rapid rate to catch the bus from Groombridge.

The first half of the route was largely devoid of anything of railway interest, besides a few bridges, but further on Hartfield and Withyham still have station buildings and remains of platforms in evidence. At Groombridge the disused railway line meets the present railway line, but it wasn’t trains we were looking for but a bus. A rather quick walk up the hill got us into Groombridge with literally minutes to spare before the bus was due. As it happened we needn’t have rushed because the bus was 10 minutes late.

What really pleased me was to see so many Millennium Mileposts along this route. I think there were seven in all, in varying conditions. The one below is at Forest Row and has been carefully painted and looks stunning. In the absence of trig points I am finding “collecting” these mileposts to be equally rewarding!

 

Unplugged: Walking The Worth Way

29 Jan

This was my first proper walk of the year, well actually our first proper walk of the year because I walked it with my friend Chris. The Worth Way is only seven miles in length and is mainly level, providing a gentle start to the year and an ideal warm-up for something more challenging.

The Worth Way follows the route of disused railway line from Three Bridges to East Grinstead (both in West Sussex). The railway was closed in 1967, along with so much of Britain’s rail network, a little over a 110 years after it was opened. This is the reason the path is mainly level and because it is also a cycle path the surface of the path is pretty good as well.

The route is pretty typical of a disused railway line, a fairly solid, mostly well drained surface and tree and bushes crowding in from the banks either side. One disadvantage of this type of path is that it largely obscures the views either side of the path, but it is not quite so bad this time of year when the trees and bushes have no leaves on them.

To be honest there wasn’t much in the way of views and only few points of interest along the route. The first place that stood out was Worth Church, which is just off the actual route. I was particularly intrigued by the height of the church walls, which look to be double the height of the normal church walls. I wonder what the story is behind those? I believe there are family connections with the parish of Worth which I need to get around to investigating eventually.

One of the most interesting things for me about walking disused railways is finding signs of its former use. On the Worth Way the most obvious example of this is Rowfant station, where the station buildings are still standing. Rowfant station was one of only two stations between Three Bridges and East Grinstead, the other was Grange Road station at Crawley Down, but no trace of that remains. Another railway feature still standing is the bridge below, which is quite an interesting design, which I would not really associate with a railway bridge.

All in all it was quite a good walk, not particularly taxing and probably better tackled in the spring or summer when there is more growth and colour and warmer, although the path was quite sheltered from the cold wind. The disused railway line continues another 9.5 miles from East Grinstead to Groombridge and is known as the Forest Way, which it would make sense for us to follow next time we go for a walk.

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