Tag Archives: worth way

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.

Wandering into the New Year

31 Dec

This blog focuses on the two hobbies which give me great pleasure (most of the time), walking and family history. As described yesterday I had plenty of family history resolutions/goals in 2010, but I don’t think there were actually any walking resolutions.

I did end up walking the South Downs Way in 2010, which I had hoped to do for some time, but it wasn’t really a new year’s resolution. I also walked parts of the North Downs Way and the Capital Ring around London in 2010, but again I wouldn’t consider either of them to have been brought about by a new year’s resolution.

For 2011 however I have a pretty clear idea of the walking I want to do. I haven’t really considered whether it is actually going to be possible to fit it all in, and of course a lot will depend on what the weather is like.

The walks I would like to complete in 2011 can be divided into three categories:

Long Distance Walks

South Downs Way – I want to do the South Downs Way again, this time it will probably be from west to east, and all in one go. In 2010 I walked it on one or two days a week, but in 2011 I want to take a week off in the Summer and do it all in one go.

North Downs Way – In 2011 my friend Chris and I need to get the North Downs Way finished and out of the way. We have about five days worth of walking to go, but it is a bit of a headache getting out into Kent to actually do it.

High Weald Landscape Trail – This is another walk Chris and I hope to complete in 2011, and one I am really looking forward to because the first half is through true ancestral landscape with opportunities to many churches along the way.

Shorter Named Walks

There are several shorter routes dotted around the south east that I would like to walk:

Worth Way – A fairly short walk (about seven miles) along a disused railway between Three Bridges and East Grinstead (both in Sussex). It shouldn’t be particularly challenging but will serve as a nice little warm up for some of the longer/steeper walks.

Chalk Stones Trail – Another shorter walk, taking in part of the South Downs and the village of West Dean, Sussex. What is there not to like?

There are also several shorter walks in London that I wouldn’t mind doing, and I would like to revisit the site of the 2012 Olympics and see how the building works have progressed over the intervening months.

Genealogy Walks

There are lots of places that I want to visit, just to go and visit the areas where my ancestors came from and explore a few churches and cemeteries. In fact there is hardly a village in Sussex that isn’t on my list (admittedly it is as yet an unwritten list) of places to visit and photograph.

The list isn’t just limited to Sussex, there are plenty of places in Kent, Surrey, Hampshire and London that I want to visit. I definitely want to spend more time in the town of Alton and the village of Exton, both in Hampshire.

Unlike most of the other walks, these walks will be more about the destination rather than the actual walking itself. All I need to work out is how I am going to fit it all into 12 months.

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